How Too Many Rules at Work Keep You from Getting Things Done | Yves Morieux | TED Talks

Modern work — from waiting tables to crunching numbers to dreaming up new products — is about solving brand-new problems every day, flexibly, in brand-new ways. But as Yves Morieux shows in this insightful talk, too often, an overload of processes and sign-offs and internal metrics keeps us from doing our best. He offers a new way to think of work — as a collaboration, not a competition.

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  • Someone should explain to Yves, what a "bullshit job" is.

    Nikolaij Brouiller June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • This is absolutely interesting and informative. Thank you

    yusuf taofeek June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Good one 👏👏

    Sumit Sethi June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • I was feeling a weirdo so far. Not able to explain why the way I work and think is more effective, not able no match it with the KPis of the organization, never able to demostrate it in a language that corporate will understand. Here it is, Yves helping me out, glad to watch. Enlightened. I will never forget years ago I asked a friend (fond of finances BTW) if is true that hundred of things that have zero value will together have actually value- As an artist I think I valued the concept I expressed- he said : "zero multiplied by hundred remains zero". And I wont be able to explain him that he is wrong.

    Isabel Rodríguez June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • NO, this is like a guy with a microscope telling you why your broken arm hurts… What's really been killing productivity in the those industrial countries was outsourcing and offshoring. There's a direct correlation between those factors and the loss of efficiency. Take Disney for example – they laid off their experienced American engineers and told them to train their Indian replacements.

    As jobs become more complex, salaries increase, and then replacements come in for the short-term profit making goals of the company stakeholders as soon as a slow season approaches. The same thing is happening now in China with their factories shutting down and opening up in Vietnam for the shoe industry for example. They send their experienced Chinese managers to train their Vietnamese counterparts who will eventually replace them. Meanwhile back in China they have to pack up and move to find work far across the country.

    Hey maybe they will tell the same line of BS that the jobs are sent abroad because they are too stupid and lazy back home and those foreigners are just much better at doing the jobs they were #1 at not long ago???? The issue is OWNERSHIP, period. Buy from companies that share profit with their customers or the community instead of, I dunno, Jeff Bezos's bank account. Where's the complicated math formula for not choosing to be raped by these neo-feudalists? We need people to get bold, get crazy, to stray off the beaten path of the rank and file corporations and the "socialist" deception.

    B Y June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Can someone summarise it for me. why does having too many rules lower productivity????

    lew hanyang June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Excellent speech! So much of this applies to healthcare today.

    Christine Dee June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • If you are not passionate at work, go home. That seems to be essence of this TED talk. Awesome

    navjitsbrar June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Very familiar with 12:00 – 12:33

    Alyuvar Akyuvar June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • “People don’t cooperate with the people they compete. they are not stupid”. What a wiseman. Amazing speech.

    Alyuvar Akyuvar June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • I love Frenglish.

    Mister Q June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Thank you for this great talk.

    Dante Sparda June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Very interesting talk, especially about how the work/business world is changing and how making more simple and 'minimalist' could help, instead of adding more and more structures and processes.
    As for GTD method itself (from David Allen), our team at Zenkit wrote and article about it, we'd love your feedbacks:

    Fresh Rod June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • word.

    Simon Rodko June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • I 100% Agree

    Murtaza Wahid June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Sooo true,I see this everyday,in soo many companies

    Deborah Barnes June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • GREAT talk! Yes, his accent can be difficult at times to understand, but this criticism of the modern work environment- almost akin to factory-farming- is not to be missed.

    Pel Qel June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • 2 of 2) Once MONEY becomes the main motivator, overpowering every other motivation in the job, things are getting toxic.

    Before (with low to medium pay) you had the whole person (their skills, loyalty, resourcefulness) to getting the job done, to make the customer happy, etc. Pay is of course important, but the joy of doing the work is important as well. That means you do not need to micromanage or constantly monitor the people. They will give their best voluntarily and seek for good solutions on their own.

    With too high pay. they direct their talents towards extracting as much money as they can, and towards playing the system.

    Real life example: In the 1970s a CEO of a major company earned 30 times the average wage in his company. Now it is more than 300 times the average wage (these are U.S. numbers).

    So are the CEOs of large companies NOW 100 times better on average than they are in the 1970s ( let alone in the 1950s and 60s) ?

    That reminds me of the Deutsche Bank Chef Joseph Ackermann (leading the company for many years, until it got caught up in the financial crisis, Deutsche Bank was saved by the fact that the US government rescued AIG – DB on the surface seemed to be O.K. in 2007 and 2008 but they were already set up for severe problems – the long term effects of the Ackermann reign). Of course any other manager in his position and under the neoliberal derulation would likely have produced the same dysfunction.

    Martin Winterkorn was the CEO of Volkswagen (one of the most successful car manufacturers worldwide). Under his leadership the VW diesel scandal developed. Both CEOs were known for their extremely high pay (especially outstanding for German standards). Both CEOs quietly left after the crisis (well the VW boss couldn't keep it so quiet – maybe he will get his day in court).
    So they cash in big time as long as the going is fine (or as long as thing appear to be fine), when things detoriate, they resign. They are not crushed by the weight of responsibilities for the losses they caused. That they both maneuvered a prime company into a dead end (or at least into a very difficult situation). So in hindsight – their excessive pay was by no means "justified".

    Compare that to former VW CEOs – some of them being ENGINEERS. But they could not "walk on water" like the CELEBRATED top managers these days (most of them are lawyers, and MBAs; especially in the financial "industry" – they are really money shufflers, not people who know how to BUILD or CREATE things) – so even though former more modestly paid CEOs lead the enterprises when the German economy was rebuilt from scratch after WW2 – they clearly deserved only a few % of the pay which Winterkorn, Ackermann and the like are getting.

    [Edit: Winterkorn has a Dr. rer nat in metallurgy from Max Planck institute – like a PhD in a STEM area, so his credentials are excellent]

    Xyz Same June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • 1 of 2) SURPRISING social experiment: people are paid to do tasks (like solving cross word puzzles, or sudokos, but also menial labor). The pay is varied. They want to find out how pay influences outcomes, performance or the willingness to accept the job at all. – Now with unattractive manual labor it goes as one would expect: more pay equals better performance and more people willing to do it. – With "white" collar work however, there was hardly any difference between low and medium pay. If the task needs the brainpower and personality of the worker, and if they can enjoy delivering the task (or if it is easy to experience it as fun or meaningful) – the satisfaction of doing the job becomes part of the pay.

    More pay does not equal better performance – another way to view it: people already are giving their best even though they are not well paid (you can apply that to social workers, artists, interns, childcare, ….).
    Meaning if people can find some enjoyment and sense or challenge (in a good way) in what they are doing for a living, you can exploit them. You will enjoy getting good performance from your employees for meagre pay.

    The last test was to pay very much for the "white" collar type tasks. This resulted in the the biggest surprise. If they PAID people TOO MUCH it completely RUINED their PERFORMANCE (and ruined it very reliably).

    I think the reason is that the financial gain (and the incentive from it) starts overpowering the joy and pride of getting the job done in a reasonable manner. It becomes only about the money and not to lose the money and the incentive to play the system to get even more money.

    Xyz Same June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • I read a story of U.S. interns (not working with clients or visible to clients) who were ordered to wear high heels to work (plus business attire of course). They noted one person that wore flat shoes (that was a veteran who had an injury and thus was granted that "privilege"). The interns (college graduates likely) made a "petition" to the superiors that they would like to get a pass as well – and they mentioned that one person for whom the rules were loosened. as well – They all got fired.

    The comments were quite gleeful – serves the spoilt brats right, some got caught up how they could dare to "demand" the same privilige as the veteran (never mind they didn't know that – well they could have asked before), most agreed "we had to suck it up and they will have to suck it up as well. That'll teach them a lesson".

    I live in Europe so here is my perspective: the rule to wear high heels was arbitrary. It had nothing to do with the quality of the product or the customer experience. Asking for presentable, maybe somewhat conservative attire ? Fine Ask them to have clean, more formal shoes, no flip-flops, no open toes, etc. ? Fine. But that rule was applied to folks who were expected to function as adults, to give their intelligence, dedication, curiosity, goodwill, cooperation, loyalty and resourcefulness to the company. And they were not modelling or acting.

    The company on the other hand was really dedicated to make them OBEY. They do not want people who QUESTION arbitrary rules. They most definitely do not want to come people together to ask their employer for something. What comes next ? unions, collective bargaining, people exchanging how much money they make ? Note how the favor they asked for had nothing to do with performance (well maybe better performance because wearing orderly but comfortable shoes on long workdays). And it would not have COST the employer money.

    Of course the old employees would have been upset, they HAD submitted to the arbitrary rules, so giving the spoilt brats privileges would not sit well with them.
    The next best thing would have been to decline the petition and explain to them, the the only exception was made for the veteran, and not to make too much ado about it.
    But no -THEY had to be fired – they had violated the law of OBEDIENCE.

    And with such a managment style you cannot have a resourceful, result-oriented, cooperative team and way of getting things done.

    Xyz Same June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • At 2 min mark I don't understand why 1% annual productivity growth would result in our kids having "smaller roofs" or "no roof at all"?

    Shouldn't core positive productivity growth translate to "roofs generally as big, if not bigger than the previous generation"?

    Christian Hunter June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Too many words for a simple idea. Imagine you're at the bottom of large public company. You may get your salary doubled on expense company market value drops 10% (nobody will know, you'll be simply better-off). Will you agree or not :)? In corp world almost everybody care on themselves only. Cooperation flourishes if people see they personally rewarded for that (but in real world people compete with each other in org). In one my previous job it was even formal regular process – every manager must have split his team 30/40/30% good/average/below – and salary raise to be distributed correspondingly. So, we always knew if one's succeeded means smb else got screwed. Wonna cooperate?

    Barmaley Barmaley June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • His accent is an incredible one. It's like to hear a French-English.

    Mr1Largo June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Very Good

    Mohamed Kamel June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Inspired by this speech, wrote a blog, give me your valuable feedback.

    Kapil Rajak June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • Collaboration should be an essential part of the work, but not the only one.

    César Aguilar June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • It sounds as though what he's saying is that we would benefit from having a more decentralized workplace where people have broader goals, fewer specific responsibilities, less hierarchy, and greater autonomy so that not only do they have greater freedom to figure out how to work together, but that they must do so in order to get the job done. As someone who spent years stifled by pointless managers who wanted everything endlessly quantified and measured so that they could go four hour meetings and talk about things they didn't directly know about, I can wholeheartedly agree. Those of us who actually did the ground level work were not only more knowledgeable but more than happy to talk to each other directly to achieve a desired result because it could have eliminated irritating busywork and tedious managerial oversight from our lives.

    Sarge June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • claps, that's what i always wanted to say to my bosses, KPIs, measurements, justifications, meetings, reports, when i told him i got too much work and need more staff, he asked me to measure my work, so he can show the numbers to his management, but i was already fully occupied, how can a CPU do more work, when it's already 100% utilised? it's impossible, it will crash! please don't mention overclocking

    Tom Sawyer June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • I think politics in work is worse…..?
    Second come ideas of meaningful work.
    Third maybe being too competitive
    then relationship etc etc

    Rob June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • I can't listen to this guy. It's just a terrible way of speaking.

    Wiseman June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • How can you double the standard of living every three generations with 1% productivity and still have more people worse off?  The increase in the standard of living does not relate to the quantity of people better off?He uses a simple race to demonstrate productivity among workers, but it is only one very simple example that was not analyzed in detail.  Wouldn't It be better if there was a more substantive example with better controls?

    tbeef June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • So you should design your corporation or business to succeed instead of to denote guilt and pass blame. Set it up so the people involved can only fail if they don't want to be a part of the team.

    Antonio Ferraina June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • I still don't know what he means when he says "monjerment"… is it 'management'?

    Petrov Theovsk June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • great speech

    Vxxx P. June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • It is common knowledge that many psychopaths rise to upper and team management positions. Thus it is hard to imagine that a shift towards a more humanistic approach towards individual employee satisfaction will become a concern.However, I do like the fact that this ethos is being made available to business and Corporate leaders.

    Surely for the businesses and corporations that succeed, survive and thrive in the future will inevitably progress into this new and smarter consciousness. I believe that Google for one encourage employee satisfaction instead of the festering micro-management KPI type assessment systems that are often unfair, semi-irrelevant & terribly soul destroying methods of overall improvement… and dare I say, real employee satisfaction.

    TheOmnipresent12 June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply
  • How many of you moaning about his accent can actually speak another language? His English was very good and I understood everything!

    LeanneLouiseMusic June 19, 2020 4:15 am Reply

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