As I watch a company I once knew fall apart, losing manager after manager, I cannot help but wonder how the C – Suite occupants failed to see it coming. Gone are the days when district and regional management came up to the front lines to help out; it’s now a conference call, distribution of blame, and threats – with the inevitable comp plan changes designed to elicit more dedication from the managers.
This story is all too common.
So often the establishment of KPIs results in a false sense of security amongst lazy executives; they think they can manage performance from their easy chair. Countless conference calls to go over the numbers, the assignment of blame without any first-hand knowledge of what is going on in a market – this is so common it would be laughable, if not for the deleterious effect it has on managers.
KPIs are meant to raise awareness of particular problems; these problems cannot be solved by a phone call. When you are too lazy or inept to actually go teach, train and inspire, your people will simply manipulate the reporting until they get caught. The ensuing response from the C – Suite is usually to install more reporting, designed to catch people cheating on their numbers when the simple solution is staring at them the whole time.
Get out of your office and go help them. Travel to markets or locations where managers are underperforming; they will appreciate the fact that you care enough to try to help. If you cannot actually perform the task you are asking them to do, you’re in the wrong job to begin with and are probably terrified they’ll find out. This is common in companies who hire upper management from the outside. It’s the old philosophical problem of infinite regress – I need better people because mine aren’t ready, and mine aren’t ready because I need better people.
When we consult with companies, we embed ourselves with their people as well as their systems. If this sounds interesting to you, please contact us for a free 1-hour consultation.