Top 14 Mistakes Senior
by Robert Dunham
Robert Dunham, a former Vice President of Motorola Computer Systems, and
founder of the nationwide Action In Management executive development
program, and the performance management company Enterprise Design (www.enterprise-design.com),
has identified the 14 top mistakes made by senior management, regardless of
- You’re Not Listening!
Your people are not listened to, only spoken at, resulting in a lack of
engagement, loyalty, and ownership, in addition to increasing staff resentment
and negative morale.
- Indulging in Overcommitment
Not producing a staff that can say "no" results in overwork, underachievement,
customer dissatisfaction, and "dead heroes" – never a winning strategy.
- Blinded by the Numbers
The numbers are only a by-product; taking actions to change the numbers
without managing what generates the numbers - valuable offers, excellent
execution, customer satisfaction, and employee passion - is ultimately destructive.
- Allowing Fuzzy Commitments and Avoidance of Commitment
Fuzzy agreements and lack of standards for generating and managing commitments
(the "C" word) produces waste and resignation.
- The Customer Comes Last
Working on "tasks" without remembering, being aware of, or caring, about
the reaction of customers to what is done and how it is done, killing customer
- Fear and Loathing of Performance Evaluation
Speaking honestly and directly is a skill, and requires some courage. Senior
managers must learn to provide direct and timely feedback on performance.
- Teams in Name Only
Teams are not just groups of people working together, and the skills of
building real teams that have trust and effective performance seems to be
rare - they must be learned.
- The Management Toolbox is Empty
Effective management requires a range of skills, and most managers do not
have the complete set: team building, ability to evoke commitment, ability
to listen, managing morale, coping with breakdowns, managing customer satisfaction,
effective planning and projects, clear shared standards, clear ethics, presence,
and not being reactive are key ones.
- "Giving Orders" instead of "Requesting and Establishing
Ownership and excellence do not come from order takers, and usually ordering
produces resentful avoidance, when what we really want is the ownership,
pride, and passion that comes when people commit to what they are doing.
- Inability to Build Trust /Cope with Distrust
Trust is not some vague background feeling, and trust building, repair,
and sustaining are skills, skills that too few have – it must be learned.
- No Clear Game Plan
A quantitative objective or vision statement are only pieces of a game plan,
which also requires a clear strategy, clear roles and responsibilities,
explicit value for customers, and a team able to execute.
- Because I Said So
Arrogance of office leads to just giving orders, not gaining the respect
and commitment of others, and erodes the strength and vitality of the organization,
leaving only the weak and beaten.
- Lack of Commitment to Learning
We must learn or be passed by -- learn from our mistakes, successes, and
experiences, and learn from others in the world, particularly from those
who have risked and have experience in success and failure.
- Allowing Cynicism about Management
Management is often viewed in a highly cynical and derisive manner by its
practitioners, by those they manage, and by the culture as a whole. Seen
as vague and idiosyncratic, a role that cannot be learned or taught, with
management education, like the MBA, seen as ineffective. There must be a
commitment to clear standards for management skills and effective programs
to produce them.
From his experience of over twenty years as a practicing executive and as
a developer of executives, Robert Dunham has created a new discipline of Vital
Management. This approach addresses these issues by clarifying the foundations
and skills of action, commitment, trust, value, and satisfaction that are
the foundation for effective management and corporate leadership.
Upcoming Action in Management Programs
Enterprise Design offers the Action in Management™ program, which
is designed to fill the gaps in the foundations of traditional management
understanding. New sessions are beginning in October on the East and West
coasts. For further information: http://www.enterprise-design.com
Action In Management – Not an MBA. Better.
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