Had A FAB Day: Fighting Archaic Bureaucracy

I am sure that every country has its bureaucratic nightmares and most residents are never subjected to them. I am referring to the process of establishing yourself in another country – visa, social security, banking, home rental, driving licence….. The list goes on.

You only really see how frustrating, incosistent and wasteful their processes are when you hit them for the first time. And therein lies the problem. You only hit them once and once you are through you never think about them again.

There is no incentive or even mechanism to improve them. So the next people after you are subjected to the same incoherent instructions, maddening websites and endless waits in lines only to get to your turn to be told that form X or document Y or number Z is missing and come back later. Aaarh – why couldn’t you tell me before I joined th eline in the rain.

I am referring to the US where I am relocating to support the growth of my company, but I am sure every country is equally bad if not worse. Part of the problem is that there is no visible process. It is clear there is a sequence but it is only discovered “by accident”. The process crosses many departments and countries. But is that a fair reason for not writing it down? Certainly most large corporates, like our Nestle, Chevron or Novartis have processes that span countries and also companies where they have outsourced.

Maybe it is a test. If you cannot navigate your way through them you can’t enter the country. For some of us we can pay lawyers to navigate through some of the process but for other bits you have to show up to some grubby Government building and stand in line.

But the real issue is that those administering the process NEVER see it from the customers perspective. Hell – they don’t even think of you as a customer. You are an alien. In a word that sums it up.

So, having gone through the process once, I’ve decided to write it down in a book aimed at Brits called Thinking of.. Working in Corporate America? Ask the Smart Questions. The book isn’t complete yet as, for me at least, the process is not over. All, or most (now there’s another story) of our belongings are in a container in mid-Atlantic and we haven’t moved into our new home.

So it will cover the visa process, finding US offices, moving the family, getting an identity in US and growing a US business.

Let me know if you want to see a copy when it is finished. It will be a fascinating read whilst you sit in line for your visa becuase you will have plenty of time to read it.

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Ian Gotts is CEO and Chairman of Nimbus Partners, an established and rapidly growing global software company, headquartered in the UK. He is a very experienced senior executive and serial entrepreneur, with a career spanning 25 years. Ian has co-authored a number of books including “Common Approach, Uncommon Results”, published in English and Chinese and in its second edition, "Why Killer Products Don't Sell" and books covering Cloud computing from the perspective of both the prospective buyer, and the software vendor. Having begun his career in 1983 as an engineer for British Rail, Ian then spent 12 years at Accenture (nee Andersen Consulting) specialising in the project management of major business critical IT projects. During this time, he spent two years as an IT Director, seconded to the Department for Social Security (DSS), with a department of over 500 and a budget responsibility of 40 million pounds.