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The (Delicate) Art of Bureaucracy

By Mark Schwartz

Digital Transformation with the Monkey, the Razor, and the Sumo Wrestler

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Mark Schwartz, author of leadership classics A Seat at the Table and The Art of Business Value, reveals a new (empowering) model for the often soul-shattering, frustrating, Kafkaesque nightmare we call bureaucracy. Through humor, a healthy dose of history and philosophy, and real-life examples from his days as a government bureaucrat, Schwartz shows IT leaders (and the whole of business) how to master the ways of the Monkey, the Razor, and the Sumo Wrestler to create a lean, learning, and enabling bureaucracy.

  • Publication Date October 13, 2020
  • Pages 288
  • Paperback Dimensions 6 x 9 inches, black and white
  • Paperback ISBN 9781950508150
  • eBook ISBN 9781942788928
  • Kindle ISBN 9781942788935
  • Audiobook ISBN 9781942788959

Features

  • Topic Appeal

    Bureaucracy is everywhere, learn how to navigate the #1 foe of Agility.

  • Expert Author

    As a former public servant and CIO of US Citizenship and Immigration Services and Intrax Cultural Exchange, Mark Schwartz is the perfect guide to overcoming bad bureaucracy.

  • Compelling Guide

    Follow along with the playbook provided in the book to become a master bureaucrat.

  • For Everyone

    If you have ever encountered bureaucracy then grab this book and win the day!

About the Book

Mark Schwartz, author of leadership classics A Seat at the Table and The Art of Business Value, reveals a new (empowering) model for the often soul-shattering, frustrating, Kafkaesque nightmare we call bureaucracy. Through humor, a healthy dose of history and philosophy, and real-life examples from his days as a government bureaucrat, Schwartz shows IT leaders (and the whole of business) how to master the ways of the Monkey, the Razor, and the Sumo Wrestler to create a lean, learning, and enabling bureaucracy.

For anyone frustrated by roadblocks, irritated the business can’t move fast enough, or suffering under the weight of crushing procedures, this book is for you. No matter your role, you need a playbook for bureaucracy. This is it. With this playbook, you can wield bureaucracy as a superpower and bust through it at the same time

Mark Schwartz
Mark Schwartz

Mark Schwartz

Mark Schwartz is an iconoclastic CIO and a playful crafter of ideas, an inveterate purveyor of lucubratory prose. He has been an IT leader in organizations small and large, public, private, and nonprofit. As the CIO of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, he provokes the federal government into adopting Agile and DevOps practices. He is pretty sure that when he was the CIO of Intrax Cultural Exchange he was the first person ever to use business intelligence and supply chain analytics to place au pairs with the right host families. Mark speaks frequently on innovation, bureaucratic implications of DevOps, and Agile processes in low-trust environments. With a computer science degree from Yale and an MBA from Wharton, Mark is either an expert on the business value of IT or just confused and much poorer.

To Author Archive

"Bureaucracy has never been discussed in such an entertaining and educational way before. Learn how to clean out the organizational ‘scar tissue’ that is slowing you down."

Adrian Cockcroft

former VP Cloud Architecture Strategy, Amazon Web Services

"Mark Schwartz turns the tables on bureaucracy, offering a practical guide to stripping out a labyrinth of rules and replacing them with simplicity, ease, and automation. His version of a benevolent bureaucracy paves the path for digital transformation and facilitates creativity and innovation."

Kimberly Johnson

COO, Fannie Mae

"Mark has done it again: with his usual wit and verve, he has cut past normal lazy blather about ‘bloated bureaucracies’ to get to the truth about their place in the world. In doing so, he outlines not only why bureaucracies are necessary, but how they are best fought through a deep understanding of their internal logic and weak points. [The (Delicate) Art of Bureaucracy] serves as a handbook on how to fight the good fight not just for IT, but for the world too."

Ian Miell

Cloud Native Consultant, Container Solutions

"My brain continues to turn around quantum bureaucracy. How to get the right amount of it at the right time and in the right place, but no more and not there unless you look. Maybe Schrodinger’s Bureaucracy is something I need to work on and think about…Great read, and I’m so thankful to Mark for writing this book to reform bureaucracy. With his insight into razor-bearing sumo monkeys, we can progress toward a more modern way of managing. Like Jonah, I felt trapped with no way to determine my own direction. Mark provides great tools for guiding the whale."

Josh Seckel

Specialist Leader, Deloitte Digital

"Reading Marks' book is like meeting that old friend you never hanged out with and who ends to be your best friend. Bureaucracy is one of those friends that we are often focused on fighting....The reality is it can become one of our best allies."

Michele Allessandrini

Global Head of Cloud Adoption and Governance at Yoox Net0-a-Porter Group

"Whether you have fallen in love with bureaucracy or hate it, you should read this book....Once again, Mark manages to combine exciting storytelling with tangible analogies form history and daily life."

Chris Russ

Program Director and Senior Lecturer, SHAW School of Management and Law

"With his insight into razor-bearing sumo monkeys, we can progress toward a more modern way of managing."

Josh Seckel

Specialist Leader, Deloitte Digital

"A must read for leaders trying to break the vicious circle of 'it can't be done' in complex organizations."

Renato Garcia Pedigoni

CDO, Grupo Boticario

"[The (Delicate) Art of Bureaucracy is] a must read for government and business leaders as they embark on digital transformation. It will make you a better digital leader by giving you the knowledge to use bureaucracy as a digital accelerator."

Chris Radich

VP Digital Strategy, Salesforce

"It take great curiosity to deeply understand organizational bureaucracy, great courage to challenge it, and pure genius to know how to bend it to your will. In this book, Mark delivers a razor-sharp analysis on all of the above."

John Walsh

Business Relationship Manager, PepsiCo

"Mark uses three levers as themes, each with usable playbooks, that will give you the confidence and early wins to maintain momentum as you break through the barriers most organizations face."

Chris Richardson

Deputy CIO, IT Development, Mobility, Smart Cities, Arizona State University

"This fascinating book will make you rethink bureaucracy and give you actionable tools to manage in increasingly complex environments."

Rich Seltz

CIO, CDO, Cabot Microelectronics

"Informative, interesting, and thought provoking piece that raises the veil on bureaucracy."

Ikoabasi Akpan

Sales Manager, Air France-KLM

"Mark provides an engaging, insightful, and balanced view on a topic that could easily make one's eyes bleed!"

Keith Madsen

SVP, Cloud and Advanced Technology, Bank of America

"Mark is to bureaucracy as Sun-Tzu is to the art of war. Read this book to capitalize on the good intended from bureaucracy and have the scissors you always hoped for to reshape it to be enabling, learning, and lean."

Jamie Scott Berniker

Executive Director, Corporate Development, Global Bank

"Whether you have fallen in love with bureaucracy or hate it, you should read this book.... Once again, Mark manages to combine exciting storytelling with tangible analogies form history and daily life."

Chris Russ

Program Director and Senior Lecturer, SHAW School of Management and Law

"[The (Delicate) Art of Bureaucracy] serves as a handbook on how to fight the good fight, not just for IT but for the world too."

Ian Miell

Cloud Nativ Consultant, Container Solutions

"Reading this book made me realize the obvious: One does not simply kill bureaucracy... he has to simply transform."

George Chr. Georgiou

Enterprise Architect, Bank of Cyprus

"... it's greatest value is in the sharing of strategies and tactics for knowledge workers trammeled by bureaucracy to—like Sumo wrestlers—turn the weight of the red tape to their advantage and become innovator-makers."

Renata Brogan

Solutions Architect, Women in Tech, Women in IT

"Mark Schwartz has written a classic bureaucracy that will always be relevant. A very readable, insightful, playful, useful, and enjoyable book that will help readers who are bureaucrats of any flavor."

Tom Michelli

Former Acting Department of Defense Principal Deputy DIO, CIO US Coast Guard, and CIO US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

"Mark Schwartz turns the tables on bureaucracy, offering a practical guide to stripping out a labyrinth of rules and replacing them with simplicity, ease, and automation."

Kimberly Johnson

COO, Fannie Mae

"Although we tend to think that bureaucracy is a disease and there are no magic recipes to change our way of thinking, we can always think of leaving it on the light side of the force."

Laura Caceres

Operations Director, DevOps LATAM

"A remarkable and eye-opening journey on bureaucracy written with spark and wit."

Eveline Oehrlich

Chief Research Director, DevOps Institute

"You may not come to love bureaucracy, but you will appreciate the wisdom in Mark's sage advice."

Mark Birch

Founder, Enterprise Sales Forum and Dev.Biz.Ops

"Mark has done it again, giving us IT professionals insights into how we, with our software and our creative development processes, can change heavy, unproductive bureaucratic corporations into adaptable, human-friendly, value-driven bureaucratic corporations that we all love to work for."

Allan Nyland Christensen

Senior Transformation Manager, LEGO

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