Monday, September 3, 2012

Are You Smart Enough Not to be Stupid?

Seriously, ponder this question, just don't think it may sound silly.

I spent enough hours with a company to equal a full day's work. They touted a company culture of promoting from within and being listed as one of the Best Companies to Work for. I don't know who comes up with these awards, what criteria is used or who even cares, but here's what I learned after meeting with seven mid-level managers.
  1. Two of the seven openly admitted to have been given responsibilities they have no background or skill sets to perform – at all.
  2. A different pair of managers conveyed through the conversation, they hated their jobs. Even for an outsider meeting with them, they made me uncomfortable.
  3. Five of the managers had the same job title and I can only presume the same responsibilities.
  4. The company has a horizontal structure, when most successful companies today have gone vertical. This causes job position redundancies.
  5. They shared how the company was reducing workforce and had a travel freeze to contain costs.
  6. None of these managers were empowered decision makers, compounding all the previous points.
  7. The managers were all women. Before you judge me as a sexist, I mention it only as a statistic. It seemed an odd ratio: 0 men to 7 women. Those who read my blog and/or know me, know I believe a successful structure/organization requires diversity of all types.
Are you smart enough not to be stupid? By these managers own revelation, the company is in trouble, despite being a "Best Company to work for". Their culture and structure doesn't work. I believe the company is clueless to the reality of their own workforce culture, an antiquated organizational structure and resting on their awards and derived maxims, i.e. we only promote from within the company. Pride in any part of human culture is fatal. Replace pride with stupidity and the result is the same.

Author's note: This is a very large national company, with offices in every major and medium-size U.S. city.

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