Getting a Return on Judgment

Getting a Return on Judgment

The financial meltdown showed the limits of bureaucracy. Recovery depends on how well companies adopt the practices of personalization instead.

by Julian Birkinshaw and Huw Jenkins

The article above took the words out of my mouth, where bureaucracy creates moral and emotional detachment to actual outcome, elimination of personal accountability and situations such as "communally approving" hanky panky covered under the guise of governance.

Indeed personalization of accountability is key.


Dark Managers achieve control through various means:-

• Information Clamp Down.
Where possible, limit the amount of information leaving the project or the department. The only news that gets reported should only transpire between him and the CEO. It’s a simple principle really; most people gripe, and the amount of lies you put out means that these lies will eventually reach the CEO. So keep your team and your peers in the dark, more importantly if the project is high risk, short in time and lacking in resources.

Secondly, it also allows you to deny things, because CEO’s have so many things in their minds these days, they’ll potentially forget.

• Remember Nothing
It’s easy to remember nothing; you sign nothing, and approve nothing - That way, nothing bad ever happens. This is contrary to the belief that by telling the truth you will not need to remember your lies, in some ways correct but in many ways not actionable. Once you've told the truth, you need to back it up in the future, the knife cuts both ways.

• Make your lie other people’s promise
In short, you’ve over committed on behalf of the organization that overall performance of the system will be fantastic. Now, everyone in the value chain is forced to own up to the promise. The network team is screaming at you that you know better that the bandwidth can’t support it, the infrastructure team is also screaming because the servers won’t handle the load. But guess what, they'll be too afraid to mention to the CEO that no upgrades have been done for the last 5 years cause they've been too lazy to do anything other than order the vendors around.

• Bureaucracy
There’s nothing like a manual time sheet in a book with a strung pen even though the company has already automated it online. It forces your team to go up to your desk, sign in and you get to smirk at them or smile at the prettier ones.