Procedures and policies or bureaucracy?

Some time ago, I moved residences and had the misfortune of being too efficient or so I was told by an Australia Post employee – one who had a complete lack of common sense, not to mention customer service skills.

I had gone to the post office to obtain a mail redirection where this ridiculous drama started.  I was told it couldn’t be done.  Anyone who knows me knows that if you want to push my buttons, tell me something can’t be done and then top it off with a illogical reason why.

My crime was that I’d advised Vic Roads (transport authority) first and my drivers’ licence was already endorsed with my new address.  Australia Post required proof of identity – driver’s licence great, but it had to show the old address.  I had a secondary document with the old address on it but that was not good enough.

When you corner someone leaving them no option, they give up or they fight back.  Needless to say, I’m not the giving up type.

Dangerous bureaucracy

Photo credit – Armin Hanisch

I tried the logical approach first – asking if the name on my driver’s licence and the secondary document matched up.  She said yes.  Then I asked her to look at me and at the photo on my driver’s licence and asked if I was the person on the licence.  She said yes.  Probably knowing where I was going with my line of interrogation, she quickly added that it STILL couldn’t be done.

Through gritted teeth, I asked to see her supervisor.  She had the cheek to refuse saying that it wouldn’t make any difference.  At that point, I think I lost it.  It has been 1o years so my memory of the gory details is rather fuzzy.  Just as well.  Whatever actually happened, it got her moving.  After much deliberation, she came out of the supervisor’s office and with a “hrrrumph” saying…..”Well, we’ll do it just this time”.

Yes, I got my result in the end but what a waste of energy.  Sheer bureaucracy.  Stupidity that can only be topped by a similar incident – when, while applying for our son’s passport, my husband was told he was not our son’s father!  A story for another time perhaps.

So the point of the story is whether you have policies and procedures in your business or organisation that don’t make sense?  Or whether you have staff who are using certain policies and procedures as an excuse for bureaucracy?

Reviewing policies and procedures are usually the last thing on the agenda but if you have any that result in anything like the story above, what is it costing you?

www.coachmi.com.au

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  1. Pingback: Zemlog #2: On bureaucracy and other not-much-sense matters « Sparkica and (her) Brainmachine

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