Monthly Archives: May 2010

Have you ever heard of anything quite so pathetic?

I was having a meal with an old friend recently when he told me how frustrated he was with his employer. Not that unusual in itself, you might think, except that he was on the point of resigning because his bosses had just approved his plans for transforming his business division! 

Obviously we are not talking junior level here, my friend is a VP.  He told me that was sick and tired of trying to persuade his other VP colleagues to implement their part of the changes and cost cuts that they had all agreed to, more than a year ago.  It is not as if his company no longer needs cost reduction and efficiency improvements, it does badly.  Until very recently it was at the point of going out of business completely. 

My friend is the kind of guy that does not like to sit around and do nothing while Rome burns.  Recently he came up with a new proposal for trimming down another division and the board agreed, not because they thought it important but, because they could sense that he was becoming so frustrated by doing nothing that if they didn’t let him do something then they thought (quite rightly) he might resign!

So there you have it, A board of directors agreeing to changes, in order to try and retain an important employee.  Now my friend is not stupid; he’s proud for sure but he genuinely wants to turn the business around and bring it to another level of success.  But his motivation is understandably lacking when he knows full well that his board is not committed, or able, to get it’s VP’s to work together to deliver the changes that the business so badly needs.

Have you ever heard of such a thing and how far would you go to keep a valued employee?

Have a good week,

Harley 

1 Comment

Extracten van het boek

Inhoudsopgave
Deel I
De negenstappenbenadering voor probleemoplossing -p21-

Stap 1 · Wat is het probleem? -p25-
Begrijpen en in kaart brengen van de huidige situatie -p25-

Stap 2 · Hoe kon het zover komen? -p35-
Kijken naar het verleden om te begrijpen -p35-
Omgaan met nieuwe problemen -p38-

Stap 3 · Geld, cultuur en competenties -p43-

0 Comments

Grey is the colour of proportional representation

I once knew a painter who at the end of each day emptied his leftover paint into a big tub he had in the back of his van.  No matter the colour of paint he was using, in it went into the tub:  Post box red, canary yellow, blushing pink, emerald green, even Prussian blue.  No matter the combination, with a stir of a paddle it always turned a light battleship grey.  The painter used this leftover paint for undercoat and even top coat; when he could persuade his customer into believing that grey was the colour of sophistication and compromise.

And yet, this seems to be true of everything:  Write an article for an in-house magazine and let a few managers review it and before long you have a grey text that says nothing and bores even the most optimistic employee into a deep sleep.

In politics too, if you live in a country where everything is just perfect and you do not want anyone coming along and changing things, then be sure to have proportional representation: give everyone a say, ensure there are lots and lots of political parties and make sure everyone’s voice is heard.  In no time at all everything will turn grey.  You don’t need to worry about any ideas that people may have (especially if they are important) because they will never find a sufficient majority to come to anything.  Every idea will have to be traded in compromise; ‘if I support you on this what will you give me in return?’.  And even if the idea did eventually make it to the statute books, it will be so watered down with grey compromise that it will most likely be completely ineffective.

In the same way, please God spare us from collaborative board rooms; the debating business units, the open HR departments and the logic of the consensus of the workers councils.  When everyone’s voice is heard you end up in white noise, or dare I incorrectly say, grey noise?   However I do need a caveat here:   I am not advocating dictatorships or anarchy, far from it, but in business I do like to see distributed responsibility;  leaders that have a vision; that take decisions, that report back progress to the shareholders while delegating  action to those best placed to take it on.
So be careful of anything grey, it may look calm and hassle free and it may even replace purple in becoming the new fashionable colour in neck ties and shirts for men.  But watch out: if you start to live it; unless you live in paradise, you’ll end up bored and despondent and having to debate with everyone, just to keep things exactly how they are right now.
So be prepared to upset someone, be bold enough to execute ‘your plan’.  Be prepared to stand up and be counted for taking a decision.  The enemy of enterprise is not regulatory control, its inaction (disguised in the form of grey compromise).

Have a good week,

Harley

2 Comments

Interim Manager

Harley is the Chairman and one of the founding Partners of The Bayard Partnership; a multi-disciplinary group practice specialized in solving complex business problems, either via hands on project and change management or via coaching and consulting.

Harley has a proven track record working for a wide variety of companies in all kinds of sectors. From small and medium sized businesses to global multi-nationals. Over the last thirty years he has built a reputation for routing out and tackling the core problems facing his clients. With the pragmatic tools that he has developed he is able to help them bring about long term solutions....

0 Comments