In evidenza

Mismanagement 2: some further antidote

 

 

torre d'avorio

 

Due to the interest on the previous article (Mismanagement) here some further clarification and (hopefully) useful “mismanagement predictors

  1. Communication: many ISO standards and reporting guidelines too are concerned with concepts like “stakeholder engagement”/ “communicating with stakeholder”. Make sure that managers into your organization do not operate in vacuum: management is certainly made of a personal vision and some important beliefs, but is mainly about keeping a constant contact with reality, and performing as many “reality checks” as possible. Therefore, in this field, the sooner the better; introducing and using such standard as ISO 9001:2015; ISO/IEC 20000 and guidance or reporting guidelines such as ISO 26001 or GRI (https://www.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx) forces even the most reluctant manager to have an (official) dialogue with representatives of the “real “ world. To hear their voice, to answer their questions, makes more difficult mismanagement and unrealistic or just selfish behaviour to take place. Keep also in mind that the above mentioned standards are based on a widespread concept of sustainability: it means getting used to evaluate managers not just for their immediate results, but also based on how sustainable those results are;
  2. Training: training means empowering people; it means also knowledge sharing: being most of the companies nowadays based on knowledge, having in place an advanced training program is certainly a powerful message. It means that your company is creating the preconditions for reducing information asymmetry between different organizational levels, and, most important, the preconditions for supporting change through the creation of a new (internal) generation of managers. Generally speaking, organizations that support individual change show aòso a much better overall organizational readiness to change at all levels;
  3. Permeability: sometimes, an organization loses the capacity of timely transmitting the right signals through all the different organizational levels, like it happens in a body when nerves get damaged. That equals to slowly insulating managers in an ivory tower. Mismanagement can therefore occur as a result of a not intentional behaviour, but instead of an organizational pathology that drastically reduces firm’s sensitivity for changing environmental conditions;
  4. Customers: in many innovative business models, customer is CEO, being able to determine product/service changes, influence company’s marketing and communication, etc. A possible antidote to mismanagement is to renovate from time to time the extensive survey on “customer’s needs/voice” that surely every founder performed at the very beginning of its entrepreneurial journey. Just because you were once able to listen carefully to your customers, it doesn’t necessarily mean that now it has to be always the other way around (customers passively adopting your smart product/services);
  5. Suppliers: yes, suppliers are very important partners. Sometimes even irreplaceable. But suppliers are firm too, and exactly like clusters and networks of firms can suffer the effects of mismanagement resulting in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome that discourages critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints. So from time to time, experiencing and testing new approaches, experimenting new partners starting from non-critical processes can provide to the management an healthy internal benchmark. In fact, not always relying on the usual solutions is a good antidote to mismanagement too.
  6. Organizational climate: Yes, is very important to enjoy a positive organizational climate. Everybody knows that. But a two things should be stressed more than others:

a)The importance of a mistake. The ability of management to address and communicate with examples, because it seems that especially managers are afraid to set the right example by openly admitting they did something wrong (not understanding that there is much more to learn from a mistake than from a success), but if they do, they develop antibodies to mismanagement and so does the organizations they lead, because they are permitting a person to do things incorrectly or make errors of judgment without consequences, empowering themselves and learning how to take and handle risks. Mismanagement occurs where and when an organization is not taking risks anymore;

b) Organizational Forgiveness: it’s an important antidote, because it means being able to accept conflict, accept different point of views, leading the organization objectively and without taking revenge on those standing on the other side of an issue and opposing a change.

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In evidenza

Mismanagement

virus

Mismanagement is a virus affecting all kind of organizations, in every state of their growth. Mismanagement is a real plague of entrepreneurship,

Mismanagement can be seen as a degeneration of leadership, when leaders stop producing added value for their firms and literally feed on their own organizations, sometimes causing its death.

Why is that?  There isn’t probably a specific reason, but a combination of many causes.

Bringing competition inside the organization instead that concentrating outside is one of them; excess of self-confidence is another: just because once you were  successful, that doesn’t make you all of a sudden a world’s expert on everything. (Know one’s limit is the key for success: as a manager and leader you should know that is exactly there, reaching the limits of your abilities, where you should find partners and teammates ready to help you integrating your skills)

Mismanagement is often connected with the trend of over-simplifying problems; not considering possible alternatives and assuming that compromise in necessarily negative.

As a matter of fact, a good manager, a leader, is one able to recognize a mistake, and transform it into an opportunity of improvement: sometimes instead is easier to blame someone else for your problems, bring into play “external factors” for misfortune (Yes, Napoleon used to ask, before promoting someone at his service “I know he’s a good general, but is he lucky?”, but I think that a manager should mainly be architects of their company’s fortune).  This is very often associated with ambiguous internal communication/talking company’s jargon: then communication within the company is meant only for initiated members, excluding the rest of the world.

Finding/inventing an (imaginary) enemy” is a common strategy adopted when motivation or enthusiasm is on the wane, but this is good only if we are discussing about healthy competition. Healthy competition provides motivation but this is not the case if a leader is constantly managing the firm against something or someone looking for destruction rather than construction.

Somehow this is about self-deception; mismanagement uses information asymmetry inside the organization to focus the attention of middle management and human resources towards fake targets; it’s always easier to deceive ourselves than someone else.

But the “find an enemy” syndrome attacks the organization too: mismanagement brings into the organization the culture of suspicion, an overall and contagious lack of confidence in each other’s skills, and this is sometimes able to jeopardise company’s ability to take decisions; Due to this general feeling of mistrust is easier:

  • Taking too quick decision, trusting only your own faction opinion;
  • Deciding not to decide, when in doubt that a certain decision might be favourable to “internal enemies” (the other faction);
  • Looping the decision process

When an organization breaks up into factions, you are missing the big picture: instead always act (professionaly) local but feel global: give the best highly specialized contribute to your company, but never miss the big picture. Just because you’ve got done properly your piece of the puzzle it doesn’t mean your job is over. Final success depends also on how conscious and respectful you are of the colleague who’s in charge of putting the last piece.

Let’s put this way: “Don’t ask what your company can do for you, ask what you can do for your company”!!!

Mismanagement has sometimes huge consequences:

  1. Improper use of resources;
  2. Bad (or even impossible) strategic planning;
  3. improper use of datas;
  4. Loss of company’s identity .

Here a test to perform in order to avoid mismanagement practice and discover its early symptoms:

  1. Is internal training efficient? There are enough investments on this process? And in measuring effectiveness of delivered training?
  2. Management invest and improves internal communication? How long it takes for bottom-up communication? Hoe many “filters” there are? (f.i. is possible that a message/suggestion form the base reaches the attention of CEO?)
  3. Is company investing in R& D as it happened before? What happens next to projects? Is the time to market of relevant ones in line with the past?
  4. Is management conducting routine company’s organizational climate surveys?
  5. Is company measuring (when possible in many active and alternative ways) customer satisfaction and listening to the “voice of the customer”?
  6. How you will define overall company’s transparency?
  7. Is turnover trend under control in your company?
  8. From time to time, is company performing surveys on suppliers/evaluating possible new ones?
  9. Concerning communication and decisional processes: is possible to define and to keep under control an overall “crossing time”, expressed as time needed for an information to be delivered crossing all company’s organizational and decisional levels or for an authorization to be given to someone into the company? Is this time proportional to the importance of a certain decision?
  10. Is your organization feeling comfortable with the concept of recognizing a mistake? F.i. is taking care of internal and external claims? There is space for submitting complaints or simple suggestions? Is internal communication using only words like “success”/“challenge”/ or also words like the concepts of “issue”; “difficulties”, “experience”; “challenge”? Sometimes apologize is an act of courage and true leadership.