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So this isn't a regular "my boss is an idiot/douchebag" sort of post, far from it, this is a man I respect, whom I've brainstormed with, and who has invested at least as much effort fighting the system for my own benefit as I have in improving our workflow, creating new tools to automate as much as possible and in the filtering and training of new staff. I've being his right hand man for 3 years, and I think we did a good job at making the department into a well-oiled machine. Probably too well…
This was all great when it felt like we have the same goals in mind, until the last month or two, when he started making a series of bad decisions from a workflow point of view. I don't think they are entirely without justification, but he is letting internal politics (sort of like the department PR) dictate things to a level that he wouldn't normally do. The sort of thing I mean is, remove an automation that was a precious time savior 95% of the time because someone made a mistake in the remaining 5%, even though those mistakes are way too rare to justify it. Those mistakes might be a bit embarrassing to him, but that does not justify the cost of time which can lead to even more mistake in high pressure moments. Another example is not doing something which helps us a great deal because it slightly inconveniences IT.
It's the sort of thing that makes sense from a relations point of view but not from a work flow point of view. These are general descriptions, and alone wouldn’t mean much, but I am talking of dozens of these changes over less than two months, and I don't like the direction this is heading.

This is also a bit my fault, Because I brought us to a point where he isn't taking part of the workflow himself, he only runs the department, and that means he is more preoccupied with how things look in meetings but lost touch with the work on the ground.
Now I need a way to change things so that the direction of changes becomes positive again, or at least undo the recent chain of bad choices, but I also want to keep my position and not show disrespect while I am doing so.
 

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Sounds like personality/value conflict. I experience that with my ISTJ wife. She values perfection more than productivity, even though productivity is the actual objective in most instances.

Typical manifestation (actual example) is washing dishes. I put them in the dishwasher dirty as hell. I get about 98% of them clean, those 2% need hand washing or some other extra attention. Of that 2%, about 1/4 gets put away like that unknowingly and discovered later.

To my wife, this "failure" requires that the whole process be changed, all the dishes need to be hand washed prior to entry into the dishwasher. this has a huge impact on the time and effort of the task. It makes it suck far more, and take twice as long, but the dishes come out 100% clean.

I do the dishes, but it is her idea that things should be done her way "because they are better". My resolution: "fine, you can do it from now on". For a short while that is what she did. It didn't last and I had to do them if I wanted to eat. I did it my way, and when she piped up about a "reject" I reminded her that it can be rewashed, pick another, at least you didn't have to wash all the rest. She slowly accepted that while my process was objectively inferior, it still met the goal of being able to eat. We don't work for NASA, I value my time, and "some" failure is tolerable.

How this might apply to you in a fixable way? Not sure. Perhaps you can come up with a plan to address that 5% failure and emphasize the end objective is what the focus is, not about "control". Make it clear that this is about the objective, and his plan has impacted it more than that 5% failure was with the old way. Also understand this may be driven by another motive (personality) which seems you already kind of understand.
 
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