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The Greater The Organization, The Greater The Information Gap


I like conversations that seem to focus on weak management. Sometimes these conversations lead to conclusions that certain leaders are weak, delusional, poor decision-makers, inept and more. Bring on the consultants, coaches and advisors who immediately talk about changing the organizational culture, coaching and training while Boards of Directors, behind closed doors, secretly discuss terminating the CEO. The heat builds.

Consultants introduce remedies like crystallizing the business strategy as the organization lacks direction. They talk about 360 surveys measuring manager's leadership competencies, senior leader's leadership strengths, and introduce six sigmas and other special interventions. Let's face it, even consultants are guessing as to the causes and remedies.

I suggest a different, inexpensive start. A college professor told his MBA class, "If leaders are informed of the actions to take, leaders will take that action." This story I am personally aware. A CEO of a large retail distribution company had no idea that a poorly defined return policy from defects uncovered in the delivery process from the warehouse to customer resulted in a huge loss from a huge customer.

Of course, no one blamed the truck driver who was aware of this problem; some pointed to the manager of Distribution, who claimed he didn't know of the defect (yet he was the manager of the truck driver), but everyone did point to senior leadership. Senior management had no clue there was even a delivery issue, let alone a packaging issue. The buck always stops at the top.

So, in the real world, highly educated leaders make the wrong call, or no call, as they simply didn't know there was an issue; it was a lack of information. If a simple open ended survey question asked the truck driver about any issue he was experiencing, everyone would have known of the return problem and the packing issue. The larger the organization, the less senior leadership knows. Don't you find it to be true that the greater the organization, the greater the information gap?

Reliable information systems can help transform uninformed leaders into confident, powerful decision-makers. I am not talking about financial information. I am meaning CEOs getting regular, better decision-making information about the alignment of the organization to its customer, and ways to close the information gaps. Actionable "people" information has a direct correlation to the CEO's gaining a great reputation, with great leadership skills.

So, Leaders, either walk around the hallways more often, speak to people at all levels, or better yet, get a reliable survey design company to capture that enterprise information on a regular basis.

1 Comment

Tod, Dec 29, 2012

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