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Thursday, September 27, 2012

How Top Management Can Confuse and Hence Harm the Organization?

Top management can make or break an organization. The control exercised by top management on the following two things has substantial and significant impact on the future and very existence of the organization - organization's direction and resource provisioning.

Organization's Direction
  • Others need to go in the direction that is in line with the business strategy conceptualized and articulated by the top management
  • Direction could be in various forms:
    • Revenue model and gross margin target
    • Products and service offerings
    • Company policies
    • Organization-wide initiatives
Resource Provisioning
  • Others are granted resources to perform the assigned activities to achieve the organization's objectives that are linked to the stated business strategy
  • Resource could be in various forms:
    • Budget allocation
    • Expense approvals
    • Organization structure and staffing
    • Hardware and software resources
Top Management Can Confuse and Harm

At times the top management can cause substantial and significant harm to the organization by confusing others in respect of direction and resource. Here are some examples of this:
  • The CEO keeps on telling that an initiative needs to be started urgently but will find one reason and then another to keep on delaying it.
  • The CEO announces in a public meeting that "we want the value and will do something in the right way regardless of the time it takes" and then tell the key stakeholders in a private discussion that "come what may the time set needs to be met at any cost"
  •  The CEO talks about open culture in every meeting but doesn't encourage direct and tough questions from the employees
  • The CEO talks about importance of complying to governance mechanisms and company processes in each and every case, always but is fine with selective exemptions at his level
  • The CEO talks about empowerment and meritocracy but defines an organization structure where those reporting into him are his trusted lieutenants
  • The CEO talks about engagement and involvement but has a hands-off approach to managing the company affairs with the help of the trusted lieutenants
  • The CEO talks about progressive culture and HR practices but allows growth in the organization at a level strictly below the trusted lieutenants
How Can Top Management Avoid Confusing Others

The ways to ensure these are simple and have their basis in what makes a human being a "good human being" and an "effective leader". Here are some such ways:
  • Possessing business acumen and strategic clarity
  • Being ethical and genuine
  • Being competent and well-informed
  • Having compassion and care for others
How Top Management and Others Can Work Together Effectively

It must be remembered that the top management and the others are human beings at the end of the day. And hence they have their strengths to play with and weaknesses to guard. The interaction between top management and others should not be in competing mode but collaborative mode.

Working in an organization should not be seen as a cat and mouse game but the coming together of many minds to create something useful for themselves and for the society. 

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