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Warning! Be careful!

LIQUI MOLY Managing Director Ernst Prost on rampant bureaucracy

Dear co-entrepreneurs,

Every morning, an industrious ant came happily to work. She loved her work. Here she spent most of the day working hard, always humming a song. And so she worked diligently day after day. The director-general, a big fat beetle, found that there was no one to supervise the ant.

It could not go on like this!

He created a supervisor position and hired a dung beetle with a lot of experience. The first concern of the dung beetle was to standardize the working hours. He prepared various reports on this topic. Soon, the dung beetle needed a secretary to compile these reports. A spider was hired to set up an archive and take telephone calls. And the ant continued to work cheerfully all the time, because she liked her work and, from time to time, she hummed a little song.

The director-general was delighted with the work of the dung beetle and asked him for graphic presentations and future development analyses. So it became necessary to hire a fly to help the supervisor. They bought the fly a laptop, with which he could make the reports nice and colorful. Well … the industrious ant soon stopped humming a song, complaining that she had so much paperwork to fill out instead of actually working.

The director-general then decided that an administrator was needed for the department in which the ant worked. This responsible task was assigned to the grasshopper, who first demanded that a special office chair be bought for him. Of course, he also needed a car, a laptop and access to the intranet. And, of course, he also needed a personal assistant, the toad, who had already worked at her old workplace as a secretary for the grasshopper. The ant stopped singing. She became more and more restless and nervous.

“We need to commission a panel to gather data for a study on the working class and to write a report.” No sooner said than done. The selected specialists immediately set to work for months at considerable expense. In the meantime, the director-general noticed that the department in which the hard-working ant had previously worked so cheerfully no longer generated the same profit as before.

He turned to the owl, an expert in business management who was paid thousands of euro in consultation fees. She was asked to analyze and diagnose what needed to be done. The owl bustled around in all the offices of the company for three months. She then submitted a final report which said: “You have too many staff; there should be a reduction in headcount.”

Following the expert advice of the owl, the director-general dismissed the ant.

Justification: “Unfortunately, the ant has suffered a total loss of performance and does not work as diligently as in the beginning. Instead, she only whines about the annoying bureaucracy and the constant controls. The bottom line: The ant has to go, because we need efficient employees who go to work cheerfully and hum a song or two!”

I hope the truth that’s in this story will never apply to us!!!

Ernst Prost

Great Britain