Rules, tools, and fools

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When Subtraction Adds More

“… although more roles and processes are needed as organizations and projects expand, skilled leaders wield their power to eliminate needless friction and complexity—not burden employees with ‘rules, tools, and fools’ that make it tougher to do their jobs and waste money and talent. …

The best organizations perform constant subtraction, not just addition and multiplication. The story also reinforces a basic insight about scaling: ‘Many hands make light the work’ is a dangerous half-truth. We’ve shown how adding people to an organization, a project, or a team creates costly side effects. As more people come aboard, members do (and should) devote more time and effort to communicate, coordinate, and maintain warm and trusting bonds. Despite such efforts, coordination and relationships are still prone to degenerate as more members join.”


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