How to deal with bureaucracy: what people say, and what you should actually do

i never want to hear “i know 5 other people who will have the answer you need” again

 

Trying to get information from one agency led me to 3 agents, who then directed me to 5 other offices, who then directed me to other good sources, who then.. etc. Great.

Sometimes, you can’t escape the red tape. You can only pray you have time and money to deal with all the paperwork.

But here are some things that DID work:

1. Know who to talk to

I got a lot of recommendations to talk to THE BIG BOSSES, but I’ve found that the most useful people were those who had the real information I needed on their desk – people whose job it was to compile the information or interpret the data.

But you usually can’t find these people by googling them or talking to the all-powerful one.

2. Show your face.

It’s probably a good idea to turn up in person, ask direct questions, and avoid miscommunication over phone or email.

3. Short & Sweet (AND IN WRITING)

You can turn up with a specific list of what you need, so someone can direct you to the relevant figure who has all that you need.

4. Let them know

about your timeframe! Make it clear that you’re not imposing your time constraints on them. You’re merely letting them know. Of course you’ll be flexible (we all have to be – it’s bureaucracy for goodness sake. But at least they know what pressures you’re operating under.

5. Don’t start until you’ve finished

Plan ahead and think through what you need. Nothing more annoying than knowing that your own incompetence added to the bureaucracy you now have to face.

 

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