Mark McDonald

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Mark P. McDonald
GVP EXP
8 years at Gartner
24 years IT industry

Mark McDonald, Ph.D., is a former group vice president and head of research in Gartner Executive Programs. He is the co-author of The Social Organization with Anthony Bradley. Read Full Bio

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The signs of weak management

by Mark P. McDonald  |  July 18, 2012  |  3 Comments

Here is a prior post that generated significant comments to enjoy during the summer hiatus.

I may get in trouble for this but here are some personal observations about management going on in companies.  This is all personal observation.

Stress brings out the best and worst of people and organizations enabling you to see either the cracks beneath the veneer or a core strength.  The strength of your management team is one of the things that show up best in this stress.

How do you know that you have a weak management team?

Here are some observations presented a little tongue – n – cheek:

  • Blame storming – as meetings admire the problem groups as the sit around describing how things got this way and who should be responsible.  (Note: borrowing from a Comcast TV ad)
  • Little Red Hen - “not I said the executive” exists where there are high levels of responsibility with little to no accountability
  • Strategic constipation – where everyone knows what has to be done, they feel the pressure but no one is willing to go first
  • Working your way stupid – where the more the company does the less intelligence and knowledge they create either through an unwillingness to learn or a dogged determination to do the same thing and expect a different result.
  • Heard it on the grapevine — the rumor mill is most accurate source of information as either official communications read like a G8 resolution (don’t say much) or they are so late in coming out that they are irrelevant.
  • Management by McCarthyism – the pursuit and branding of people based on their past relationships or involvements in projects.
  • Sophie’s list metrics – “the truth what is the truth” the definition of what is good changes to the point that it loses connection with reality.

I am sure that there are others and I will try update the post as more come to mind. I have been advised to think about writing shorter blog entries, which is a good idea so I will try to take at least one of these on in detail in future posts.

Remember that these these posts are personal observation and are a bit acerbic in their tone, so they do not reflect the views of Gartner or the Gartner Blog Network.

What are the signs you see of weak management?  How would you describe them?  And what can you do about them?

Thanks

3 Comments »

Category: Leadership Management Signs of weak management     Tags: ,

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rocio Ramos   July 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I feel like strategic constipation is one that has come up with my team. Sometimes there is just so much to do, but simply sitting down and making a task list and assigning tasks with due dates will do the job. Loved this post!

  • 2 Enterprise architects, creationism and absolutism   November 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    [...] person, one team or group can place itself above all others in the modern corporation.  It is also a sign of weak management to endorse such a view that leads to strategic constipation when we need strategic participation. [...]

  • 3 Tofa IT » Enterprise architects, creationism and absolutism   November 19, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    [...] person, one team or group can place itself above all others in the modern corporation.  It is also a sign of weak management to endorse such a view that leads to strategic constipation when we need strategic participation. [...]