Friday, July 1, 2011

Fud Buster Friday #57: Management Knows What They Are Doing

Every company, school, university, non-profit organization goes through this at one time or another. When management says trust me, you know you are in for it. Like an interview with a questionable job/company, if anyone says trust me or us, just run away. Or worse, acts like they know what they are doing, doesn't say trust me and proceeds to act like nothing is wrong.
Hubris! Wikipedia says it means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance.

If management knows what they are doing....how did they get you into this hole to start? Was it too little management? Too much micromanagement? Lack of training? Too much training and not enough selling? The list is endless.

Everyone goes through rough patches, some weather it better than others. Others fly blind in the face of ignorance that their world has changed.

Do people ever tell Steve Jobs he's off his rocker inside Apple? Not likely. So how does he retain that respect? Aside from being the CEO and founder and a micromanager who just happens to get almost everything right?

There is a plan, sometimes half baked, but any plan is always better than NO PLAN.
The company encourages feedback on the plan.
The plan is distributed to all parties of importance, vendors, customers, press or whatever it is intended, but it does get out to the masses.
The audience may gripe or moan but the reality is if the plan makes sense there will be buy in. Does it make management look smart? No, not yet, wait until the plan gets executed and then who get scredit 90% of the time?

So what seems to be the problem? It is the Easy Way vs. the Hard Way:
  1. Easy way: Price cutting? Not a bad idea, but (now the Hard Way)did you also reduce the size, quantity or package on offer with that reduction? Sales people are not always good at this part, they usually stop at the price cutting. An excellent interview question when hunting for a new VP/Director of Sales by the way.
  2. Easy way: Firing staff? Not going to win any fans this way. Instead (now the Hard Way) did you think that there was a way to retain some of the people, on flex time or some other mutually beneficial efforts? Also a great question to ask of C level executives. This will tell you which side they are on, their bonus or your staff.
  3. Easy Way: Denying the customers are going to the competition. Hard Way says it happens quite frequently but not always because of price. Many times it is because of poor customer service or bad attitudes. Do you (Hard Way)tell people or do you (Easy Way) keep inside the degradation in sales? What can I say, I like competitive discussions, but few can answer these questions well in interviews.

So here is the problem, you trained your staff, your hired great people, now those great people are making you look bad and losing customers for you. Yet these are the people you kept!? Makes you wonder doesn't it. Makes the rest of the staff wonder about you as management. As I watch more and more people be let go from companies, some they had been with for decades, it really makes me wonder just who you did keep since these are people that have battled for your company for years. Loyalty obviously has no place in this post-9/11 world.

The Easy Way out will cause unrest among the staff. Attitudes do not get better, they get worse. Yes, they are following orders but when enough points of reference say there is a problem, staff stops working until management recognizes there is an issue. Woe to you if you are in a company that does not see this, I feel for you. Some of you have also had the revolving doors of executives, one after another brought in to be the savior but each one failing as well. Your Board of Directors should get tossed, but that is REALLY hard to do.

What takes a little more effort, goes a long way, but in this era of me, me, me, no one wants to make the effort. Companies could benefit from listening to staff recommendations, schools should listen to parents and their own teachers, sports teams should really listen to their fans. The alternatives is a complete break down which no one wants to see happen nor experience in an already fragile economic time.

It isn't always easy to be creative and save jobs or your PR but if management could try to work with everyone when business gets better there will be more business. But until then, Management doesn't really know what they are doing because they do not know what tomorrow brings. So don't be like the bad management and take the easy way out, instead take the hard way and be humble, be open, be candid and honest and in turn make a better world for your staff who is already doing all of this behind your back on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and a million other ways.