Pity the bull

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Pity the bull.

It has earned a reputation for aggression when it is merely seeking to protect its turf and herd.

It has been used as a term to define irresponsible, vertigo-less markets.

And somehow, it’s defecation has risen above all others as the definition of the worst smelling of the most smelly stuff on this earth.

[we wonder how the humble skunk missed out on such an honour]

A bull eats the same as a cow. A bull digests the same as a cow. A bull defecates the same as a cow.

Yet, while cow-pats are often a source of humour, bull-pats

[pucky, shit, scat, doings, leavings, crap]

describe derision, judgement and frustration.

How did this happen? How did global cultures assign such reputation to this one act of defecation?

To illustrate, let’s talk about bureaucracy… widely agreed to be the most commonplace BS on earth. Rules, processes, overseers, forms, stamps, logins, authorizations… All of it keeping the artificiality of the modern organization from splintering into a million random pieces.

But here’s the rub… whoever owns the madness doesn’t believe it’s madness. One man’s smooth running process is another’s bureaucratic bungling. One woman’s simple rule for expediency is another’s constraint of freedom. That’s how bureaucracies work – it’s the push-pull of best intent.

However, as both parties are working in an anomaly, neither can be satisfied at the same time and, being blind to the anomaly, they… guess what? Invent a new rule to deal with the previous rule.

And in that way the feeding cycle goes on:

perceived unnecessary constraint – frustration – new counter constraint

If that sounds like a recipe for indigestion and constipation, well

[it’s no wonder executives are so bloated with hot air]

that’s the experience of most workers in most corporations.

But none of that explains why we blame the bull. After all, generally bulls are pretty constipation-less creatures

[if you don’t believe me, take a walk down Wall Street and listen to the justifications for excessive bonuses]

and freely spread the joy.

BadConsultant contends that this is an act of avoidance and denial because no-one wants to admit the reality. The feeding cycle of bureaucracy only has glorious, individually diverse humans to blame – most of whom live in a delusion that their own s*** doesn’t stink. And so… We blame the bull.

Avoidance and denial, rarely pretty to see in action.

All that said, so far we haven’t heard


a bull complain about this, so we can only assume that, while we pity the poor bull for this misrepresentation, they don’t have a problem with it. In fact, they may even enjoy the notoriety.

For this reason, this morning, we officially introduced a new spelling of the word BureaucraSy.

[BureaucraSy: Now with Baked in BS!!!]

Until it smells like roses,


ps: we are very surprised that cows haven’t raised an equal treatment claim about the use of BS…

pps: thanks ConsultingGrad for the jump off point!

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2 thoughts on “Pity the bull

  1. Thank you for the feedback, ConsultingGrad!

    a) there is a lot of fat to trim

    [most of it stuck on my belly]

    b) there are examples of the organization you describe (WL Gore, Cisco, Best Buy)

    I wouldn’t describe it as much as ‘aligned’ as I would ‘harmonic’ (not in 60’s hippy-dippy sense, but in the more accurate sense of resonance) – when culture serves strategy serves customer, then the organization is harmonic – and efficiency naturally emerges, because the right thing to do is always clear. It’s only when people are, with best intent, pursuing selfish or surrogate end-points that BureaucraSy emerges.

    I believe a new approach to OD/OE is emerging, as the world of work reshapes itself, which is less about adding ‘solutions’ on top of existing problems (a new process to fix the old process), but instead finding solutions that dismantle/deconstruct the problem itself, leaving open space for performance.

    Watch soon for a post on change, where I’ll get into that more.

    Thanks once again,



  2. Excellently succinct analysis of corporate BS. You really know hot to trim the fat.

    But i wonder, is it ever possible for both parties to be satisfied simultaneously? If not, then organisation design specialists and the like are really fighting a futile and ultimately losing battle; lest at great cost they tear it all down, build it up, and tear it down in a desire for some kind of divine alignment which demands elusive uncompromisingly perfect principles and rules. (Like a theory for all the universe)

    I’d like to think that there is in some absolute refined way an organisation that can potentially be totally, efficiently and therefore beautifully aligned. Something to aspire to at least.

    But maybe i get a bit to ponderous. Maybe it’s all just BS.


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