I was somewhere with my wife where she had to sign a whole lot of papers. It was almost worse than buying a house. There were also tons of other paper and stickers and such that the person had to deal with. It was really weird, and I thought it was overkill.

I asked the person about it, and she said that they had complained about all the paperwork as well. There were a couple of redundancies they were able to get beyond, but not the majority of it. She said it wasn't just her; it was all the people who actually did the work that complained, but it seemed that upper management didn't want to listen.

I fully understand about regulatory issues; I still work in health care of sorts. There is a lot of information that's needed in some cases, and often it can be redundant. However, I also remember being part of a team back in the late 90's that decided to look at all of our forms and find a way to streamline as much of it as possible. What we also did was go to people in those departments that had to deal with a lot of the paperwork and solicit their opinions. Sure, we couldn't use it all, but we used a bunch of it.

What resulted was a reduction of half the forms we were using. We changed language and we combined some things so that patients still got all the information we legally had to give them, but in a much easier format for them to understand. The only patients who still had a lot more paperwork to deal with were Medicare patients; the federal government is going to get its pound of flesh one way or another.

Sometimes leaders think they know it all. But if they have never done the job, or still don't do the job, they might not have picked up on changes that their employees have come to. It never hurts to ask those doing the work what's going on, and how you can help them be more efficient at what they do.

You just might be surprised at the increase in productivity, and who doesn't want that to happen?