We've never met a CEO who's a friend of bureaucracy. Walmart CEO Doug McMillon calls it “a villain.” Berkshire Hathaway vice chair Charlie Munger says its tentacles should be treated like “the cancers they so much resemble.” Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase, agrees that bureaucracy is “a disease.” These leaders understand that bureaucracy, with its authoritarian power structures and rule-chocked processes, saps initiative, inhibits risk taking, and crushes creativity. It’s a tax on human achievement.
Yet most executives seem content to keeping bureaucracy at bay, or trimming it around the edges. Few have committed themselves to rolling bureaucracy back, for good. One such leader is Bill Anderson, CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals. Over the last five years, Bill has been leading a crusade to create a more empowering and entrepreneurial organization. We recently sat down with Bill to learn about Roche's journey to vanquish bureaucracy.
Here are some of the topics we covered:
- Can large companies avoid becoming dinosaurs?
- Diagnosing the costs of bureaucratic drag
- Avoiding "fake empowerment"
- How to building a deep sense of ownership deep inside the organization
- Hacking the resource allocation process
- How to think radically about management innovation
- Learning to persevere through deep change
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