Old Red Tape & New Red Tape

There are two types of red tape in this world: external (or “old”) and internal (or “new”).  Understanding these definitions is essential to the success of any organization, whether public or private.

1) External Red Tape: rules and regulations that slow things down, often governmental or bureaucratic in nature.  For example: When a business must coordinate with a city, state, or federal entity, it often finds that it must navigate through the cluttered bowels of a bureaucratic hierarchy.  This business has thus encountered External Red Tape. This is the red tape we’re used to hearing (and complaining) about.

2) Internal Red Tape: organizational norms that do not match the values of employees.  For example, a company insists that employees “be at work” for a certain number of hours per week, and puts a limit on the number of vacation days employees may take per year.  In short, this business has encountered Internal Red Tape, because its employees value their time, but the organizational norms clearly do not. Any business that continues to lead its employees based on quantity of time spent at work rather than quality of work completed will lose the top talent of future generations.  After all, thanks to the strides and sacrifices of previous generations, today’s employees have the luxury of valuing their time as much as their money.  Internal Red Tape also comprises thick middle management, accountability charts, and offices without windows, to name just a few norms that will not withstand the Future of Work.

The Future of Work

Thanks to our emerging technological revolution, today’s most promising employees are finding themselves in the driver’s seat when it comes to employment in 2019.  With new terms like Corporate Culture, Employee Experience, and Work-Life Pendulum, the balance of power at work is starting to see a shift from leadership to employees.

While previous generations considered themselves fortunate to retain a job at the same company for their entire lives, whether they loved the job or not, this will not be the case for future generations.  Career development will be the new job security in the next decade.

For instance, corporations will rely on blockchain technology for Human Resources and Customer Service, so corporate leaders will need to have the smartest, most technologically savvy employees in their ranks if they wish to remain relevant.  As such, these (younger) employees will want to diversify their resumes continually if they are to remain relevant.  They’ll want to work for businesses with good cultures, free of Internal Red Tape.    

Any recruiter who tells potential employees in the 2020s, “You’ll perform your duties at this desk from 9-to-5, Monday through Thursday, with a wonderful half-day on Friday!” will not succeed in acquiring top talent.  Instead, top talent will seek out organizations whose culture is more in-line with the Future of Work. As technology makes its advances into the 2020s, top talent will want to work for leaders who have agreed to eliminate the Internal Red Tape that stifles Corporate Culture, Employee Experience, and the Work-Life Pendulum.

Please leave a comment below if you feel the message, or even if you don’t.  We remain grateful for discussion as well as criticism.

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