One of my favorite management sites regularly post some thought-provoking little articles – The Job already mentioned that before. The entry linked below is about stupid management practices. It only gives three of them, which I will run through and give some advice about. The three practices mentioned are:
- Dangerous Complexity
- Dysfunctional Internal Competition
- Breaking-up Teams Constantly
All three certainly are stupid. The first one, accepting or communicating things hardly anyone understands, creates a sure-fire platform towards failure, since you can not expect persons to work towards a certain goal when the goal is not clear. You can not expect to control the product or service when nobody can think up the KPI’s. It sounds very counter-intuitive indeed, since, as I have always learned, you need to always break down complex tasks into manageable chunks. During that process you will have plenty of time to iron out the difficulties and re-address the shortcomings. You will also be able to create common understanding about whatever it is nobody understood before and it will allow you to think up different strategies and approaches to fine-tune a good, but complex idea.
Dysfunctional Internal Competition is created when persons are rewarded for their personal addition to the company’s bottom-line. I am not discussing the necessity of internal competition in some areas of work. Internal competition by itself is not necessarily bad, it only becomes so when this competition prevents persons from sharing work-related and necessary insights with each other. Companies should always remember that the global bottom-line is more important than the personal one, so managers should be trained to pick up on signals of dysfunctional internal competition and adjust their renumeration-scheme should that be the reason of it.
One of the most challenging tasks of a manager is to find out the real strengths his / her employees have in order to create a team where each is using their specific set of talents on a daily basis. Getting to know these strengths is not at all easy and may take weeks or even months. It will take more than that to make sure that weaknesses are plugged-in to by complementing certain persons strong in X, by another person strong in Y. Building up this network of talent using members of your team is time-intensive, difficult, but rewarding both for the manager as well as the company if done right. Breaking-up teams constantly makes the above approach nigh impossible. Instead of creating teams, you create a collection of individuals who will feel reluctant to spend a lot of time in getting to know and accept their colleagues’ mix of talents. Why would they? They might be broken up again soon…
One I would add to the list is a focus on “areas of improvement” instead of on each individual’s strength. By focussing on the weaknesses, you lose a lot of potential, since time and energy will be spent on things your personnel is not good at, instead of on things they are doing well.
Now, up to you, start breaking up that dangerously complex, yet dysfunctional focus on weaknesses!