When management fears their own decision-making prowess and being identified with former slow-moving projects or relative failures their readiness and adaptability to change are increasingly compromised.
From this mindset, management often insulates itself from its direct, authoritative power through organizational barriers and bureaucratic processes that further reduce the organization's versatility.
This lack of understanding and visibility to core business functions not only allows, but also perpetuates, repeated mistakes and decreases management's effectiveness that breed multi-layer information-sharing and project approval processes.
For example, when the VP of Strategy brings on an outside team of strategy consultants this offsetting of responsibility not only provides an opportunity to transfer future blame but also undermines the leader's value-proposition and decreases their department's reputation while increasing the organization's process and resource burden.
Potential Organizational Challenges and Root Causes include:
- Consensus-Minded Culture
- No Galvanizing Properties: Decentralized Business Units with Competing Goals and Priorities
- Imbalance between Controls and Oversight
- Lack of Business Crisis or Credible Competition in the Business Landscape
- Incentive Structure at the Business Unit, Not Organizational Level, Promoting Local Budget Reviews
- No Motivation to Admit Mistakes or Embrace Program-Wide Project Opportunities
Address the might of political hierarchy and unexpected roadblocks by catering to the needs of individual customers along the way; and avoid second-guessing past performance at all times to improve your team’s reputation while empowering local management to embrace decisions for the good of the organization-at-large.
Keep the following tenets in mind:
- Be Aware of Past Project Foibles within your Area and those of all Relevant Stakeholder Business Units
- Do Not Question Outside Departments about Prior Decisions or Put them On-Guard in Any Way
- Set Your Line of Sight from the Top-Down with a Focus on Customer-Based Advantages
- Repackage Any Content that Hints at Improvement Opportunities Due to Management Inefficiencies to Ensure Neutral, Blame-Free Approach while Focusing On Future Success
- Praise Individuals for the Good Work Being Accomplished by All Departments and Business Units in Open Forums to Offset the ‘Not Invented Here’ Stigma
- Start Small and Grow Bigger by Sharing Past Success Stories and Asking Partner-Clients to Celebrate and Advocate on Your Behalf