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Old 11-14-2012, 08:02   #1
DanaT
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Poor Management

I see a common theme in many threads. There are a boat load of people on GT that work for companies with beyond poor, let's say completely incompetent, management and/or managers. What I wonder is since the GTers can so easily recognize this, why aren't they in management or showing management proper management techniques? It seems the best way to work for a well run company, if you recognize poor management, is to step up to the plate and run it correctly.

Can someone help me understand why people see these issues and don't become a positive influence in their company?


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Old 11-14-2012, 08:16   #2
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In my position I just go on to the next..

Recently I spent 3 weeks trying to work with an automation engineering company on a project to provide production equipment to Chrysler.
This company is a U.S. subsidiary of a French company that claims a 200-year history, starting out building farm equipment and locomotives.

They had constructed and programmed the equipment in their facility in Michigan and had delivered it to a Chrysler plant in Indiana.

Nothing worked as it should.

They had people there in the plant trying to make it work when the basic engineering was all just poop. The point is, after hemorrhaging cash for months and loosing credibility with their client (Chrysler), they continued to apply the exact same ideas, methods, and attitudes that got them into trouble in the first place..
It's a bit like that old definition of insanity.... doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results.

Their management was so vested in the money and resources they expended building the stuff in the first place that they weren't willing to stop, take a deep breath, and ask "OK, what are we doing wrong?".

I packed and went home.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:20   #3
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Atlas, it seems you have found a typical French trait (and American) trait. Arrogance.

Couple that with French engineering and you get a Citroën.


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Old 11-14-2012, 08:26   #4
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Atlas, it seems you have found a typical French trait (and American) trait. Arrogance.

Couple that with French engineering and you get a Citroën.


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Yeah I know, but the guys in this U.S. office of that firm are all Americans, at least those I met.

And the French do have that nifty high-speed train you know.

Where're ya off to today, anyway?
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:26   #5
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Atlas, it seems you have found a typical French trait (and American) trait. Arrogance.

Couple that with French engineering and you get a Citroën.


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Old 11-14-2012, 08:29   #6
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Yeah I know, but the guys in this U.S. office of that firm are all Americans, at least those I met.

And the French do have that nifty high-speed train you know.

Where're ya off to today, anyway?
Duesselsorf. 5 hours on train.

The TGV (French high speed train) is damn fast. I think around 190mph.


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Old 11-14-2012, 08:36   #7
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I'm no Frankophile, but always remember we would not have won the Revolution without French help, suppling guns and material.


Looks like I'll be starting a project for the U.S. office of a German company next month, doing control of high-voltage power distribution systems.

Did that for the same company about 12 years ago, it worked well for both the company and I.

In this case, the personnel are all Americans.
I always enjoy working with Germans, though it always concludes with me saying "I'll never work with Germans again!".
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:43   #8
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In this case, the personnel are all Americans.
I always enjoy working with Germans, though it always concludes with me saying "I'll never work with Germans again!".
As to french. Try some Compte cheese. There are some things they do well.

Germans. Just remember they are inflexible perfectionists. But there is a way around that. Ein prosit!


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Old 11-14-2012, 08:50   #9
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Can someone help me understand why people see these issues and don't become a positive influence in their company?

I told my manager that I was taking over for him because he was screwing it all up, and I could do better.



Did NOT go as I expected...




I've worked for big companies and small ones... from peon to poobah. A lot of them, especially the larger ones, don't have the corporate culture that encourages what you're suggesting. Some even actively suppress it. Your best workers end up doing what they can in spite of idiotic policies and shortsighted management. The not so good workers don't, and ***** and moan every step of the way.


Really though, I just made up some stuff that sounded halfway good. What do I know.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:50   #10
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the problem is the eggheads and number crunchers in leadership positions are essentially lapdogs to their bosses higher up the chain (VPs, CFOs, CEOs, etc.).

most have never made the kind of money they are making and aren't willing to jeopardize their job to make the necessary changes.

they just don't want to make waves.

all they see are the numbers on spreadsheets, but the numbers and the spreadsheets don't tell the whole story, such as the interpersonal relationships with clients.

ironically, it's the ones out there with their boots on the ground making all the money so the eggheads and number crunchers can have a job.

the result?.....more status quo, rewarding mediocrity, high turnover at the lower levels, poor morale at the lower levels, etc.

don't doubt me on this.
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:51   #11
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Originally Posted by DanaT View Post
I see a common theme in many threads. There are a boat load of people on GT that work for companies with beyond poor, let's say completely incompetent, management and/or managers. What I wonder is since the GTers can so easily recognize this, why aren't they in management or showing management proper management techniques?
When you see a rotten egg, do you call it bad or do you lay one yourself to show how it's done?

Last edited by CitizenOfDreams; 11-14-2012 at 10:55.. Reason: typo
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:56   #12
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Originally Posted by DanaT View Post
I see a common theme in many threads. There are a boat load of people on GT that work for companies with beyond poor, let's say completely incompetent, management and/or managers. What I wonder is since the GTers can so easily recognize this, why aren't they in management or showing management proper management techniques? It seems the best way to work for a well run company, if you recognize poor management, is to step up to the plate and run it correctly.
Can someone help me understand why people see these issues and don't become a positive influence in their company?


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When one of my former stupervisors retired, I was offered the position.
(I had been doing my work and his, for more than 10 years, when he retired.)

I turned down the promotion for several reasons:

I was already making more $$$ than he was.
I refused to report directly to his general stupervisor. (He was and still is a complete sphincter muscle!!)
I would have to travel to Delaware and New Jersey, with no notice, other than a phone call. (And the general stupervisor loved to call meetings, and demand attendance. He's called at 3:00 a.m., historically!)
My contract gives better benefits than the stupervisor's, with the exception of the 401k Match. (Management's matching is $ for $, up to 6% of their base salary. BU's matching is 50¢ on the $ - up to 6% of their base salary.)


I am a stockholder/stakeholder.
I basically have what I want. My job is similar to a sergeant's.
I get the grunts to work, and let the officers put up with the bovine scatology. (And I like it that way!)
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:57   #13
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When do you see a rotten egg, do you call it bad or do you lay one yourself to show how it's done?
Since I am not a chicken and physically unable to lay an egg, I don't. But if I need a good egg and all I have is rotten eggs, I will discard the rotten ones and go remedy the situation and buy news ones.

Are you implying physical inability to make a change with the egg comment?


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Old 11-14-2012, 09:06   #14
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Originally Posted by DanaT View Post
I see a common theme in many threads. There are a boat load of people on GT that work for companies with beyond poor, let's say completely incompetent, management and/or managers. What I wonder is since the GTers can so easily recognize this, why aren't they in management or showing management proper management techniques? It seems the best way to work for a well run company, if you recognize poor management, is to step up to the plate and run it correctly.

Can someone help me understand why people see these issues and don't become a positive influence in their company?


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I don't know that it's as easy as just saying "I'm going to be the manager now". You have to earn the position. You have to build a knowledge base, and network, and prove that you can step up to the next level. Or, you need to know someone with clout. That always helps.

I agree that some people in certain positions are just "set" in their ways. Case in point: a company needs to order a certain product, which their "normal" supplier has at a cost of $50. An alternate supplier has this same product for $26. Said company needs 100 of this product, at a cost of $5000. They could order from the alternate supplier, and save, in this case, roughly $2400. Enough to purchase almost 50% more of said product. Seems to make sense to do that, doesn't it? Even the person at the bottom of the totem pole can see that makes good business sense. However, said person, even going through the chain of command, has little to no say in what the company does. Company goes ahead with order from normal supplier....

@ Dana: You seem like a pretty level headed guy, especially when it comes to business. I'd suspect that if the guy at the totem pole came to you with this info, you expect your procurement dept to act on it, and question why they aren't looking for a better price. I may be wrong.

@Atlas: I'm guessing said company is D____t?

I am personally adding a business minor to my IT degree, which I think will help me get into management later on in my career. I hope that pans out. I'd like to help affect a positive change in my company.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:06   #15
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A couple of thoughts..

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanaT View Post
I see a common theme in many threads. There are a boat load of people on GT that work for companies with beyond poor, let's say completely incompetent, management and/or managers. What I wonder is since the GTers can so easily recognize this, why aren't they in management or showing management proper management techniques? It seems the best way to work for a well run company, if you recognize poor management, is to step up to the plate and run it correctly.

Can someone help me understand why people see these issues and don't become a positive influence in their company?


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There is an assumption in your post that senior management will reward/recognize or even appreciate comments from underlings that improve the performance of the business.

Without any of the above, you are essentially pointing out senior management failings or inadequacies which they typically--in my experience--don't appreciate or want to here about. If you aren't careful, you are setting yourself up to be on a list of those that will go when RIFs are needed.

If the company has an anonymous suggestion box, use it. If it doesn't, that might indicate they know it all and don't they don't think they need any help. If you are more adventurous, try working it through you immediate superior to test your ideas and get input of how to proceed.

Along these lines, I am continually amazed how some young people just blurt stuff out regarding changing things at work without regard to who it is directed to or how it will be taken.
Sort of the "never an unspoken thought" way of living your life I guess..

Last edited by Mr981; 11-14-2012 at 09:08..
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:11   #16
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When one of my former stupervisors retired, I was offered the position.
(I had been doing my work and his, for more than 10 years, when he retired.)

I turned down the promotion for several reasons:

I was already making more $$$ than he was.
I refused to report directly to his general stupervisor. (He was and still is a complete sphincter muscle!!)
I would have to travel to Delaware and New Jersey, with no notice, other than a phone call. (And the general stupervisor loved to call meetings, and demand attendance. He's called at 3:00 a.m., historically!)
My contract gives better benefits than the stupervisor's, with the exception of the 401k Match. (Management's matching is $ for $, up to 6% of their base salary. BU's matching is 50¢ on the $ - up to 6% of their base salary.)


I am a stockholder/stakeholder.
I basically have what I want. My job is similar to a sergeant's.
I get the grunts to work, and let the officers put up with the bovine scatology. (And I like it that way!)
Byf43, do you happen to work for a company that is foreign-owned, and has 3 letter initials? What you laid out in your above post sounds strikingly similar to the company I work for.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:12   #17
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I realize that I'm an underachiever, but having worked for several failing outfits, one thing is sure.............they have been at it a long time, and resist change at all costs.

I was just layed off from my last job, I was one of the more capable ones there (one of the managers said: they are getting rid of people that cannot be replaced)
It appears as though they are intent on self destruction.

One interview later, I have another job.......wasn't out of work a week. (making more money to start)
Just not sure what mess I'll be getting into this time.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:12   #18
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I have seen it several times -

You have a person that has a history of being critical of management - then they get promoted into a management position -

They quickly figure out that the grass is not always greener - and that managing a group of people is not as easy they thought.

I couple times after a short time in the management position they came in and said - I want my old job back.

BTW - BIG difference between being a supervisor / manager - and having P&L responsibility. It is what keeping score is to sports.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:16   #19
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Byf43, do you happen to work for a company that is foreign-owned, and has 3 letter initials? What you laid out in your above post sounds strikingly similar to the company I work for.
No, I don't.

I work for a company that is here, in the U.S., and since a merger took place (2003), the company has gone downhill.

A former CEO described the merger this way.
I quote, "We are buying _______ because they don't know how to run their own, damn company."


The problem is. . . . . "they" are now running OUR damn company!!!!


Seems "they" bought us, with our own money!!!!!
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:17   #20
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I agree that some people in certain positions are just "set" in their ways. Case in point: a company needs to order a certain product, which their "normal" supplier has at a cost of $50. An alternate supplier has this same product for $26. Said company needs 100 of this product, at a cost of $5000. They could order from the alternate supplier, and save, in this case, roughly $2400. Enough to purchase almost 50% more of said product. Seems to make sense to do that, doesn't it? Even the person at the bottom of the totem pole can see that makes good business sense. However, said person, even going through the chain of command, has little to no say in what the company does. Company goes ahead with order from normal supplier....
company.
Maybe.

You cannot just look at piece part price. For example how much time will be spent on a new contract? Lawyers are bot cheap. Maybe the company gives an end of the year rebate. Maybe the cheaper company has a history of not on time delivery or quality issues. Maybe part of the supplier agreement with the more expensive company is they need to always have a minimum quantity available and what is included in the higher price is inventory on their shelves. It is not always as easy as saving $2400. What is the cost of saving that?


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Old 11-14-2012, 09:25   #21
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There is an assumption in your post that senior management will reward/recognize or even appreciate comments from underlings that improve the performance of the business.

guess..
Actually not my assumption. Exactly the opposite. *****ing about management gets you no where except to stay at the bottom. Becoming management is the way to affect change.

Typically if you are noticed helping the management affect positive change, they notice and you become management.


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Old 11-14-2012, 09:26   #22
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don't doubt me on this.
Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and doubt you.

I'm quoting your post in order I'd like to respond, not in order written, hope you don't mind.

Quote:
ironically, it's the ones out there with their boots on the ground making all the money so the eggheads and number crunchers can have a job.
Absolutely false.

A commercial organization needs both workers and management in order to survive. The "eggheads and number crunchers" make it possible for the people with their "boots on the ground" to go make money, and vice versa. Trying to pretend that one is more important than the other is ridiculous.

If organizations could function without management, someone would go build one and it would take over the world. It hasn't happened, because it can't. You can't do without managers until you're down to the last 3-4 guys.

Quote:
most have never made the kind of money they are making and aren't willing to jeopardize their job to make the necessary changes.
Again--if organizations could get competent management and pay less, they would.

They can't. Management is an incredibly difficult skill to do well. It's more "valuable" and there's a higher level of responsibility (typically P&L responsibility), and that's why managers get paid more.

Quote:
all they see are the numbers on spreadsheets, but the numbers and the spreadsheets don't tell the whole story, such as the interpersonal relationships with clients.
I agree with you--the numbers never tell you the whole story. But in the end, the "story" doesn't matter. Money in the bank matters, and the numbers on the spreadsheet have that information.

Shareholders don't care about interpersonal relationships. They care about P&L. They care about EPS. That's all they're supposed to care about. A business should only care about "interpersonal relationships" if they positively affect the bottom line.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:27   #23
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The Peter Principal is a very real phenomenon.

Also I have observed that many senior people who are capable and know the business become too conservative later in their career.
Partly perhaps due to age and just becoming tired, etc. but partly because they are facing retirement in 8 or 10 years.

If they take a risk on some endeavor for the company and succeed then they will be rewarded, but if they fail then it will negatively impact their annual performance review, which will impact their retirement.
It becomes easier to avoid risk and coast. This when they are at the top of their game, with the most to contribute to the organization.

As a contracted "temp" sort, I've had some of my best opportunities because of this..
Sometimes it happens that the company senior engineers are afraid to try a new approach, and so progress isn't happening and they need additional help.
I have very little to loose there and do whatever I believe will bring a successful outcome, risk be damed.

Of course, sometimes I fall flat on my face, but...
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:28   #24
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Originally Posted by Z71bill View Post
I have seen it several times -

You have a person that has a history of being critical of management - then they get promoted into a management position -

They quickly figure out that the grass is not always greener - and that managing a group of people is not as easy they thought.

I couple times after a short time in the management position they came in and said - I want my old job back.

BTW - BIG difference between being a supervisor / manager - and having P&L responsibility. It is what keeping score is to sports.
The P&L is much more difficult than it appears. It is balancing many competing agendas.


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Old 11-14-2012, 09:29   #25
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Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and doubt you.

I'm quoting your post in order I'd like to respond, not in order written, hope you don't mind.



Absolutely false.

A commercial organization needs both workers and management in order to survive. The "eggheads and number crunchers" make it possible for the people with their "boots on the ground" to go make money, and vice versa. Trying to pretend that one is more important than the other is ridiculous.

If organizations could function without management, someone would go build one and it would take over the world. It hasn't happened, because it can't. You can't do without managers until you're down to the last 3-4 guys.



Again--if organizations could get competent management and pay less, they would.

They can't. Management is an incredibly difficult skill to do well. It's more "valuable" and there's a higher level of responsibility (typically P&L responsibility), and that's why managers get paid more.



I agree with you--the numbers never tell you the whole story. But in the end, the "story" doesn't matter. Money in the bank matters, and the numbers on the spreadsheet have that information.

Shareholders don't care about interpersonal relationships. They care about P&L. They care about EPS. That's all they're supposed to care about. A business should only care about "interpersonal relationships" if they positively affect the bottom line.

Exactly so. Brilliant post.
(and I am not in management)
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Nov 11, 2013 at 11:42