Why the world is broken
Part 1 – Miss Management
Who is Miss Management ?
She is the godess of incompetence, superfluity, and prodigality.
Originally, the idea of “management” was to oversee, plan, and ultimately take responsibility for something. It’s quite a good idea in many ways and good managers were often able to take something sick and weak, and turn it into something strong and useful.
Nowadays the meaning of “management” has changed. It now refers to a seemingly mandatory layer of staff in an organisation whose job it is to have meetings, discuss things that they don’t understand, draw pictures and find ways of disposing of company cash and assets.
Here’s a true story to illustrate:
A while ago I was doing some contract work for a very large media/technology company (TV, telecoms, networks etc etc etc). This company had an excellent set of IT staff, who all appeared to be keen and competent, and so I was curious about why they felt the need to hire me to do what was a very simple job.
Being a contractor I didn’t have a desk of my own, and so was shuffled around to desks of the ill, deceased or fired.
One day I was positioned near a bunch of right managers, one of whom had just come back from an outdoorsy management training weekend; lots of climbing, canoeing and team-building type activities by the sound of it. Group hugs. Emotions. Workshops. Role-playing…. that sort of thing. She was saying how much she was looking forward to getting back to work so that she could put her newly developed skills into action.
She, and her suited colleagues, then spent the entire morning on the phones to various people arranging meetings to discuss “compliance”. As if this wasn’t irritating enough, I overheard them saying that Cap Gemini were being brought in for a meeting. Why ? I thought. Why bring in vastly overpriced consultants when you have such a good team of *genuinely* skilled teccies ?
Later that day the entire IT department was taken into a meeting and told that the company was downsizing and 50% of them were being fired! Perhaps they needed to fund the hours-worth of consultancy with cap-gemini ?
Since then the company has announced even greater losses and is in even more trouble. I just love the idea of management sitting in their massivel expsnsive offices wringing their hands saying “But we’ve spent 100s of millions on consultants and strategy groups and we’re still loosing money! How ? Quick, hire more accountants!”