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Management Positions

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
There's something in that, but a key requirement for the sort of inspirational leadership you describe is the ability to define and communicate a proper vision and way ahead and convince and inspire with it; all too typically, the thinking from the C-Suite reaches hoi polloi as just another set of meaningless slogans and buzz phrases and is generally treated with near total contempt as 'there'll be another on in a few months' time, anyway'.
True dit - I really upset a very senior manager, when he graced the MSc course we were doing with a visit and magnanimously asked "what could senior management do better?"

I pointed out that we had just done the fourth "business re-evaluation" exercise in five years, where we'd meant to be exploring all the problems and issues from boardroom to shop floor, nothing off the table, everyone's voice important, et cetera... and just as with the previous three cycles, the only thing that changed was the slogan at the launch, and one wag had even recycled the Post-It notes of the problems identified to highlight "same answers as when you asked the same questions last November"..

If the same questions kept being asked, and the same answers offered, and nothing changed... was he surprised that enthusiasm for the exercise disappeared and employees disengaged from the process and felt disregarded and unvalued? Why did we keep starting the process, letting it fizzle out, then trying to reignite it, without ever acknowledging "issues A, B, D and F are Too Difficult, because we've looked..."?

This was very clearly the Wrong Answer and he got quite annoyed at my "negative attitude" where I was merely pointing at problems, instead of finding solutions and implementing them.

Which led to the question that if it was my job to find the problems, my job to work out how to solve them, my job to implement those solutions, all to be fitted around actually generating profit for the company... what was his job and why did we need him?


Perhaps coincidentally, of the eight of us on that MSc course, only one was still with the company three years later... and five years on, I was sitting in at the launch of a "Systems Engineering Our Future" programme in my new job, and one of the leading lights behind the MSc I'd done opened with the warning that if you took your keener staff, helped them get a valuable and marketable qualification in order to "transform the business", then told them to get back to their old role, no change from before... they'd find someone who appreciated them more. And he was looking my way at the time...
 

Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
True dit - I really upset a very senior manager, when he graced the MSc course we were doing with a visit and magnanimously asked "what could senior management do better?"

I pointed out that we had just done the fourth "business re-evaluation" exercise in five years, where we'd meant to be exploring all the problems and issues from boardroom to shop floor, nothing off the table, everyone's voice important, et cetera... and just as with the previous three cycles, the only thing that changed was the slogan at the launch, and one wag had even recycled the Post-It notes of the problems identified to highlight "same answers as when you asked the same questions last November"..

If the same questions kept being asked, and the same answers offered, and nothing changed... was he surprised that enthusiasm for the exercise disappeared and employees disengaged from the process and felt disregarded and unvalued? Why did we keep starting the process, letting it fizzle out, then trying to reignite it, without ever acknowledging "issues A, B, D and F are Too Difficult, because we've looked..."?

This was very clearly the Wrong Answer and he got quite annoyed at my "negative attitude" where I was merely pointing at problems, instead of finding solutions and implementing them.

Which led to the question that if it was my job to find the problems, my job to work out how to solve them, my job to implement those solutions, all to be fitted around actually generating profit for the company... what was his job and why did we need him?


Perhaps coincidentally, of the eight of us on that MSc course, only one was still with the company three years later... and five years on, I was sitting in at the launch of a "Systems Engineering Our Future" programme in my new job, and one of the leading lights behind the MSc I'd done opened with the warning that if you took your keener staff, helped them get a valuable and marketable qualification in order to "transform the business", then told them to get back to their old role, no change from before... they'd find someone who appreciated them more. And he was looking my way at the time...
I had a profoundly uncomfortable chunk of quality time with our then CEO (in Service terms, "you, your hat, my office, NOW") when, at one of the launches of Yet Another Corporate Strategy, I asked the presenter - the Group Head of HR, as it happens - some similar questions, including, as a trained intelligence analyst should, the all important "sure, get all that - so what?"

My line management was sympathetic enough to bundle me off to Libya for a few months until the CEO found someone or something else to hate.
 

Hairy-boab

Clanker
Two observations from working in big organisations:

1- Some managers will see that you have military experience and expect that you will therefore blindly follow dumb orders. They have no understanding of the relationship between oppos and how that motivates people to work together.

2- When I worked in the USA, our senior human resources people were largely ex-CIA! Their interrogation, information gathering and deception skills were a perfect match to the role.
 

jbgaviation

Clanker
As long as we deliver what we sell most customers do not care.
If it's AOG it gets done fast, otherwise someone else will do it & you lose business.
 
There's something in that, but a key requirement for the sort of inspirational leadership you describe is the ability to define and communicate a proper vision and way ahead and convince and inspire with it; all too typically, the thinking from the C-Suite reaches hoi polloi as just another set of meaningless slogans and buzz phrases and is generally treated with near total contempt as 'there'll be another on in a few months' time, anyway'. Institutional and organisational inertia is a real issue and isn't just an artefact of big public sector outfits.

To an extent that's natural - a large organisation with a mature culture will largely set its own course and the most the C-Suite can hope to do before the CEO moves on to his next well-paid role is apply a little bit of pressure on the reins and move the organisation a little bit - not necessarily in the direction he or she wanted.
Perhaps the only true leadership role in the C-Suite is the CEO? The CFO, COO and CIO (or whatever they are called in your business) have functional leadership responsibilities for their teams and managerial responsibility for their individual areas.

I think many large and well established companies lack strategic leadership. Their CEOs execute their functional leadership role well enough, but lack the strategic vision to envisage the future market space and shape the business going forward. When it comes to shaping the company for the future, they resort to sloganism.

That is why agile, founder-led disruptors have been so potent these last few decades.
 

SmilingKnight

Old-Salt
At my place, a large financial firm, if you have sandurst etc on your CV you're almost guaranteed to be offered a tasty VP position on at least 60k a year after completing a paid internship.

As a non Rupert this doesn't grip my shit at all.

It doesn't grip my shit further that a former Troop OC of my acquaintance known for being an absolute space cadet and being infamous for making a total spectacle of herself on national television (One of those Sandhurst docs) is one of these people who waltzed straight into a VP role. No siree.

My place seems to make more money than god while being run by total idiots though, so what do I know.
 
At my place, a large financial firm, if you have sandurst etc on your CV you're almost guaranteed to be offered a tasty VP position on at least 60k a year after completing a paid internship.

As a non Rupert this doesn't grip my shit at all.

It doesn't grip my shit further that a former Troop OC of my acquaintance known for being an absolute space cadet and being infamous for making a total spectacle of herself on national television (One of those Sandhurst docs) is one of these people who waltzed straight into a VP role. No siree.

My place seems to make more money than god while being run by total idiots though, so what do I know.

Not the one who 'fessed up to the CSM that she had been asleep on stag when she hadn't been caught in the first place?
 
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