The unspeakable ‘M’ word. Who knew?!

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

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My friend, Mort, wrote me over the weekend describing, really decrying, a management seminar that he attended recently. He contends that his company is trying to persuade its own managers that drastic cut-backs in every expense imaginable are actually investments in the future. “the last time that we heard this – at this time last year – we suddenly came up with a $300,000 fourth quarter surplus that was spread around senior leadership as bonuses.”

Aside from the disappointments of a middle aged man, e.g. no mountains to climb nor maidens to rescued, but merely bobbing and weaving in the form of nodding and agreeing in order to keep the paychecks coming to fund the under-water mortgage debt. He has low hopes for the Tea Party and no hopes for the established scoundrels in office. “Everyone is doing the same things. Selling the same things the same way, ignoring the requirements and pleas of our customers. So, the customers are only investing if they are absolutely positive of the usefulness of their investments. Meanwhile, we make plans and Powerpoints and forecasts based upon our company’s needs and not the realities of our customers. Sort of like taking cocktails orders from a man surrounded by alligators,” he lamented.

“About the only thing that I really learned at the seminar was how much the younger people despise the phrase, implication and level of implied authority termed ‘Manager.’

“We separated into groups representing a variety of roles and ages across our company – a round table of about 7- with the purpose of brainstorming on how to improve our performance for our customers. After a several minutes of noting ways to improve the company in order to better support the current customers, someone mentioned, ‘can’t you talk to your manager about this?!’ Well, this got the younger members at the table laughing and smirking and sharing knowing eye contact. ‘Who needs a “manager?’ They are the last to know; only measure what we do; have no idea about the technology that we work with in our jobs; and basically get in the way’ were a sprinkling of their remarks. ‘Yeah, someone has to keep the higher ups informed, but not by pretending that they are in charge of our work.’ The punchline had two parts:
no one needs a manager and no wants to be a manager.

Seemed to Mort that the other generation, whatever its DNA identifier- X, Y, M or Them – are gypsies in their attitude towards employment and seek coaching or a form of leadership with which he is not familiar. This may explain the blank looks that he gets in his own meetings – or how he feels on conference calls – as they fiddle with their laptops and texting devices, giving him that blank stare of ‘are you finished yet?!’

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9/29 a related post on managers. ” He spreads stress around like it’s a communicable disease.”