Zut! A better day so far. Enough heat in the atmosphere for me to sally forth to park for morning constitutional. And a different environment to cogitate in. Somehow what gets thought is different over in dark park than in illuminated study.
I have been musing on how oblivious managers can be. An example in case in Yahoo. I was reminded of this yesterday when I came across this cartoon: [Link]
although it is more about the rhetoric in the article than this particular graphic. Simply put Yahoo is now firmly embarked on the slippery slope to failure and dissolution. And management there is patently accelerating the process.
There are several components to this. I will probably only list some of them because I get tired of this type of listing. The first one is that almost all managers refuse to come to grips with thinking, even by themselves. That means that managers not only feel guilty about their own thinking but they refuse to defend it to superiors and they forbid it – all too often – among subordinates.
Even when the organization has to think to survive and prosper.
The problem is due to something inherent to humans and fostered by a long line of denialists from the Puritans through Taylor. Thinking is a form of “work” in the management sense of the word, which is different from its actual meaning, although thinking does involve the expenditure of energy, but all managers see it as “goofing off” and most react without consideration or good sense.
Another component is the rot that efficiency is important. In my experience if you see a manager talking about efficiency you know with 0.95 certainty that that manger is incompetent. Only if they are working in a formalized manufacturing environment does efficiency make sense. And in a creative, cognitive environment, efficiency is the shortest path to failure and collapse. What is important is effectiveness which is very hard to manage, which is why almost all managers don’t want to mention it.
Efficiency is catastrophe theory. One small change and your shining edifice becomes a pile of moldering rubble. And it’s irreversible. Which is a concept that management schules and pundits create a studied ignorance of out of abject terror.
And the third is that everything is measurable. This is a thing started by Taylor and solidified by all the people who studied Japanese manufacturing. It has some bearing in a manufacturing environment. Incidentally the combination of these latter two is why it makes eminent sense to get humans out of manufacturing and just have robots. But neither work well in an truly human environment.
Sadly, we know this but management schules and pundits decline to admit it because that would show how slovenly and inept they are. We can’t, for example, measure morale. We can observe it, but there is no buzzing electronic device to measure it. And as a result of being told by management pundits that everything needs to be managed, and hang the cost, and knowing that everything can’t, the average manager settles for measuring what can be and hang the cost. So overhead goes up, and effort and time are wasted measuring irrelevancies, and decisions are made without any foundation.
An example of this is Yahoo under the new management. How much time is spent “goofing off” (including thinking?) This quantity needs to be minimized since it is wasteful and inefficient. So no more thinking. And morale plummets. And productivity and creativity go to zero.
And the executive gets a nice bonus and the workers get sacked.
And I won’t even get into the nonsense of employee performance appraisals.