No Concern, No Timeline, No Passion

NoConcernI recently had a conversation with an associate of mine in the US across ‘no concern on timeline in the business environment’. As you can imagine the conversation turned into a heated debate and we lead the discussion to ‘where is the driver of Passion’ in the business environment.

Knowing where your professional passions lie puts “you in a good position,” says Dorie Clark, the author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future. Lots of people don’t know what they want to do. “They’re struggling because they know they’re not happy doing what they’re doing, but they don’t know what else is out there.” An idea is certainly a promising start, but executing it while holding down a busy full-time job is undoubtedly a challenge. “You’ve nailed the one percent inspiration, now it’s time for the 99% perspiration,” says Daniel Gulati, the coauthor of Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders.

So exactly why are people so unhappy in the workplace, why is there so much no concern’, well, lets start with business decisions.

If everyone in a company made ordinary business decisions in a commonsense way, a company could be unstoppable. It turns out that very few people, in companies or anywhere else, make ordinary business decisions in a commonsense way. Most companies don’t fail for lack of talent or strategic vision. They fail for lack of execution—the mundane blocking and tackling that the great companies consistently do well and strive to do better.

So what happened to daily, tiny miracles and emotional intelligence driven by leadership.
Senior management cannot manage without a thorough mastery of the details of its business. To my knowledge, no CEO can claim to be in charge of the organisation unless within nano-seconds and I mean this literally, can a CEO answer the following questions:

  • What are the company’s revenues per employee?
  • How do the figures compare with the competition’s?
  • What are the revenue-per-employee figures for each of the company’s leading product lines?
  • What explains recent trends in each line?
  • What is the average outgoing quality level in each product line? How many orders are delinquent?
  • Which of the company’s top 20 executives are standouts, which are low performers, and why?
  • Which departments could recover from a major competitive shock, and which are vulnerable to change?
  • What are the yields, costs, and cycle times at every manufacturing operation?
  • What explains the company’s stock market valuation relative to its competitors’?

Could this be a formula for “micromanagement” by the CEO…..? Will top executives get lost in the details and lose sight of broader strategic imperatives? Being in command of detail does not mean interfering where you don’t belong. Collecting information, reviewing it regularly, and sharing it widely allows you to practice management by exception in the truest sense. So long as you stick to  strategy and process.

Great people alone do not guarantee corporate success but no company can succeed without them. Sounds like a truism, right? Yet how many companies are as scientific about hiring as they are about designing new products or perfecting the latest market-research techniques? Hiring is one of the most bureaucratic, passive, and arbitrary parts of corporate life.

Most companies, and certainly most big companies, do just the opposite. Managers sit behind their desks and wait for personnel to parade candidates through their office. Of course, personnel is never as motivated as the hiring manager is to fill an open slot. As the hiring schedule falls behind, the manager grows increasingly desperate and makes an offer to the first warm body that meets rudimentary requirements. This approach guarantees that the quality of the company’s work force will nicely (and disastrously) mirror the quality of the available talent market. The organisation drifts toward average.

Middle managers can be an organisation’s most enduring strength. They are more aware of the company’s day-to-day business realities than any other group, and they are earnest, committed, and creative. Middle managers can also cause companies to grow fat and being non-competitive, not because they can not do their jobs, but because they think their jobs are the most important in the world and thus lose sight of the broader corporate imperative. In organisations that suffer from this disease (and it afflicts the majority of large companies), middle managers clamor for resources while top managers are chartered to hold the line. Usually, top managers are forced to cave in because middle managers can call on so much more information and functional expertise. How can a senior executive turn down a request for resources (people, equipment, expenses) when a well-respected middle manager makes a plausible argument that the department will unravel without them, probably taking the company with it?

The moment senior executives buy into the tunnel vision of their middle managers, they really have lost control of the company. If that happens, it’s not the middle managers’ fault; they’re simply delivering their tasks as they understand them.

There are many issues to tackle in the organisation to reignite Passion’ and effect Organisational Behaviour’ some of these issues can be addressed at a local level of operation, but experience stated that it is better to effect transformation and change from the top down and bottom to maximise true effectiveness, especially when you are effecting; attitude, personal sensitivities, and culture.

Culture is one of the most important factors that affects how executives organise themselves internally and to the external world. Some cultures emphasise the individual while others stress the group.
Finally, the real question is to know if the the anticipated change will impact culture or if the result is the culture.
Changing corporate culture is changing people, make them adopt new individual and collective values.
Changing the system is making some behaviors logical, accepted, coherent in the workplace.

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