There are problems with present day management structures; particularly, in the corporate world. There are Team Leaders, Managers, Heads of, Business Unit Managers, Divisional Directors, Executive Directors, Managing Directors and the Chief Executive Officers. There are way too many layers for information to filter through. The reality is that there are too many fingers in the pie and personal interests at play.
There is no direct connection between the people or area affected by the problem and the decision maker and in most cases, the decision makers cannot relate to the issues for which they are making decisions on, but they have the requisite authority to do so. There are too many free riders in the corporate world who add to the noise which distorts the message reaching the top.
There are conflicting interests between the parties requesting a decision to be made and the decision makers; particularly if it involves spending money or committing additional resources which are not directly linked to income generation activities. This has worsened in the last 4 years following the Global Financial Crisis.
Traditional companies have not brought their practices into this century as they still view management as the representatives of the shareholders and the workers as tools of trade. The workforce has become more sophisticated, skilled and educated. In most cases, staff knows more about the work than management. The decision making power and indeed the remuneration structures are disproportionate to the value which all staff bring to the organisation.
In contrast, Web-based and volunteer-based organisations have the right idea where each member is respected for the skills and knowledge they bring to the table. Interestingly, this is not a new concept; it has been around for more than 2500 years. The Athenians in Greece had a citizen city where all citizens were treated equal and had responsibility in the decision making process as well as being expected to hold a position of authority at some stage of their life. The democracy lasted for more than 200 years, which is longer than most companies survive.
It is time to go back in time and have work environments which promote and reward excellence. All workers are adults and most have families who they look after and make decisions on behalf of. It is mind boggling that someone who makes decisions about other people’s lives, runs a household and its financial requirements can still be considered to be incapable of making decisions affecting his or her work for which he/she is adequately qualified to perform. This is the 21st Century where literacy levels have never been higher, skill-sets are at historically high levels, yet decision-making power still rests with the top echelons of management, not because they are smarter that the rest, no sir, but because they have the authority to do so.
Do away with current executives and replace them with managers who have business specific skills and knowledge. Most employees don’t want to move jobs. Japan is a good example of lifetime employment. Indeed, it is the senior managers who keep moving before their short-sighted decisions come to the fore. It therefore makes sense for employees to have input into the qualities and skills they expect of their managers and to be involved in the selection process so they can ask questions which are relevant to their expectations of the manager.
The existing process is flawed as senior management do the interviewing and hiring, yet it is the employees who have to put up with their choice. This is the first major flaw with the traditional decision-making power within organisations. Involving staff in the hiring process ensures that the manager is accountable to them and that will automatically empower employees to be part of the decision-making process. Decisions will naturally be made on a bottom-up basis and on a collaborative basis. Mutual respect and trust based on capability and actions will prevail which will ensure that the right decisions are made at the right time, for the right reasons to ensure the right outcomes.
To keep the managers honest, their performance will be judged both by senior management (25%) and by employees (75%). The staff assessments carry more weight as the manager spends more time with the team and they are also best placed to properly judge his or her performance.
This model would ensure that there is total transparency as everyone’s performance is monitored. Decision-making will improve, employees will be empowered and valued and collaboration will become part of the natural business processes. The shareholders will benefit as decisions made would ensure long-term profitability and sustainability of the organisation as employees will have vested interests to protect.
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