Getting Through Red Tape Like Dalton

I hate red tape. I’ve been on both sides of it and it isn’t fun on either side.

A lesson I learned early on to deal with the agony of time and energy related to red tape comes from Roadhouse, one of my favorite B movies.

Patrick Swayze plays a cooler in the movie. A cooler manages all bar operations, including the bouncers – what he says, goes.

He’s hired by the owner of the Double Deuce at the beginning of the movie. When he arrives at his new gig, he scopes out the place before he introduces himself to his new employees.

The owner introduces him and turns the floor over to him for his first motivational speech. In it, he reminds the bouncers in the room of his 3 simple rules of engagement.

1) Never underestimate your opponent
2) Always take it outside
3) Be nice

In terms of navigating through red tape, I’ve never had to apply the first two rules…although the second one would have been enjoyable once or twice.

The third one is the key to success for persevering through red tape in your business. Be nice.

If there are delays, extra paperwork to fill out, or meetings to have remember, 99.9% of the time it’s not personal, so don’t take it personally.

As annoying as it is, the process exists for a number of reasons. Risk reduction being the biggest one.

Losing your cool does no good. Yelling at the admin person on the other end of the phone may end up making it personal…and you thought there were delays before…

There’s nothing wrong with being firm.

There’s nothing wrong with escalating the issue after all attempts have been made to push through at the level you’ve been working.

But, as the saying goes, you catch more bears with honey.

Be nice…until its time to not be nice.


I am a husband, father, grandfather, business owner, farmer, and deep thinker. I love helping people, having deep conversations, and being around great people.

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