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The Management Problem

Permit me to be the gazllionth person to ask what you would call the ouster at the top of General Motors, and answer, “It’s a start.”

It's a tired but true line to describe what is desperately needed in the failed oligarchial world of finance.

Let's face it: What we have on this corporate planet is a management problem. We certainly do in those companies that call themselves "private enterprise" even while they're begging for massive public handouts to correct their disastrous stupid mistakes.

That must be why we pay the top guys the big bucks and appoint their fellow club members to set policy and be their government hand maidens.

Finally people (translate "voters") are catching on. So here we have these first steps in the right direction by an Obama Administration that realizes that an appearance of "same old same old" won't sell anymore.

What has become particularly tiresome is the refrain that only those in power have the skill and experience to undo the mess they've created.

What a crock! This country of ours is bulging with highly qualified people who would have not only fresh ideas but who also lack the stain of a career tainted by connections to the current executives and their sycophants.

What we have largely in place now is a class of managers who achieved their power mainly because of their ability to network – which is another word for sucking up. They have created a modus operandi that has less to do with properly running an organization than it does with self-perpetuation. In fact, misguided principles enforced by bloated ranks of executives more often than not get in the way of productivity and quality. In the process, those who benefited from this setup have created the myth that they're indispensable.

Many times they are not, to put it mildly. Usually, a company's problems start at the top. Then when they consume an organization, the responsible ones save their overpaid jobs by firing the ones who actually do work. They call responses like that "efficiencies”.


There's a term you hear in the military. The word is "Pogue". It has evolved from the letters "P-O-G" and it stands for "People Other than Grunts". What it describes are the ones who sit in their air-conditioned offices and make life impossible for those who are really doing something.

Unfortunately, our armed forces have nothing over the civilian force. All too often, we are being managed to death by an ever-growing cadre of Peter-principled non-essentials whose main function seems to be to procreate.

We need a few of them. We can't have corporate anarchy. We need someone to maintain order and set a direction. Unfortunately that direction is all-too-often down.

We need to rethink the relationship between employer and employee. Right now, it's an adversarial one, devoid of any sense of teamwork, any loyalty. Each layer, in fact, each individual, is pitted against every other. That's how most organizations have evolved where the best you can hope for is paralysis. It's up to the people who have wormed their ways into positions to run things to take the lead and re-define their roles while they take advantage of the bottled up creativity in the people "under" them.

Hopefully, the actions taken by the White House with GM will give them reason to do that, by forcing accountability on them. In that case, the steps taken against auto makers' higher-ups could be the first to address one of our major concerns – a management class that often has too little class.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 2, 2009 10:48 AM.

The previous post in this blog was The Best Anger Management is Change.

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