Stephen Covey: The 7 Low-Trust Organizational Taxes – Redundancy & Bureaucracy

In regards to my last podcast, this somewhat relates. When you do redundant tasks and you’re often criticized about them, you would probably stop doing them any longer, right? When you’re supervised, overlooked, and then made the talk of town because “his grammar was bad” (although I intentionally did that because i hated writing those tasks), I no longer cared about management, garbage structures, bullshit control, or anything else. The tax and dividends had skyrocketed to a point it could no longer be reduced.

Redundancy is unnecessary duplication. Of course, redundant mission-critical systems and data management are necessary. But a redundancy tax is paid in excessive organizational hierarchy, layers of management, and overlapping structures all designed to ensure control. For the most part, it grows out of the paradigm that unless people are tighly supervised, they can’t be trusted. And it is very costly.

Stephen Covey

In some circumstances, rework and redesign might also be considered costs of redundancy that’s triggered by low-trust behavior. In software development, as much as 30-50 percent of expenditures can be on rework. In manufacturing, rework costs can often exceed the originally cost of producing the product.


Bureaucracy includes complex cumbersome rules, regulations, policies, procedures, and processes. It’s reflected in excessive paperwork, red tape, controls, multiple approval layers, and government regulations. Rather than focusing on continuous improvement and getting better, bureaucracy merely adds complexity and inefficiency — and costs — to the status quo.

Stephen Covey

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