Assess Your Organization’s Bureaucracy Mass Index (BMI)

An excess of bureaucracy costs the U.S. economy more than $3 trillion in lost economic output per year. When you look at all 32 countries in the OECD, the cost of excess bureaucracy rises to nearly $9 trillion. To dismantle bureaucracy, the first step is to be honest about how much it’s costing your organization. These costs fall into seven categories:

  1. Bloat: too many managers, administrators, and management layers
  2. Friction: too much busywork that slows down decision making
  3. Insularity: too much time spent on internal issues
  4. Disempowerment: too many constraints on autonomy
  5. Risk Aversion: too many barriers to risk taking
  6. Inertia: too many impediments to proactive change
  7. Politics: too much energy devoted to gaining power and influence

Not all of these costs can be easily measured, but that shouldn’t deter you from working to calculate your organization’s bureaucratic burden. We call it BMI, or bureaucracy mass index.

How pervasive is bureaucracy in your organization? How much time and energy does it suck up? To what extent does it undermine resilience and innovation? Which processes are more trouble than they’re worth?

To find out, take the Bureaucracy Mass Index (BMI) assessment. At the end of it, you’ll see how your results compare to other readers’.

For a summary of results from those who have already taken the assessment, read What We Learned About Bureaucracy from 7,000 HBR Readers

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