28 Apr The Ivory Tower Syndrome
“His cardinal error is that he isolates himself, and enables nobody to see him and by which he does not know what is heading on in the quite issue he is working with. – Abraham Lincoln on his purpose for relieving Gen. John C Fremont of his Missouri command. (September 1861)
How many moments have you been given direction from your boss or the “head place of work” exactly where you obtain your self just shaking your head, questioning how the government staff could perhaps have produced this sort of an uninformed determination? Probably they have implemented a new expense command program that eats at the heart of your implementation course of action, putting you into a situation exactly where you are not able to perhaps satisfy your shipping commitments. Or they roll out a new product sales promotion that is not supported by your systems and practically assuredly will end result in unhappy prospects.
In my young decades I worked as an accountant at the head place of work of a shoe retail chain. We have been struggling some important losses in some outlets and implemented some new command systems. Later on I was searching in a single of our outlets exactly where the product sales clerks did not know me. They have been bemoaning the most current directive from “The Ivory Tower” and how foolish it was and how difficult it produced their occupation.
“These men just do not get it”, they have been expressing. “They have totally shed contact with what goes on in the serious earth.” I was youthful, and quite confident that we in the head place of work experienced a more substantial, more finish check out of the condition than these product sales clerks did. I was confident that they have been the types who experienced shed contact. They just failed to see the major photograph.
I know that I read a related refrain at the very least one hundred moments in my occupation. The men and women in the subject have been persuaded that the men and women in “The Ivory Tower” have been out of contact. The executives in the dwelling place of work have been persuaded that they experienced taken the proper ways based mostly on “the major photograph”.
Who was right? It really is challenging to notify. There is no pat solution. Absolutely not every determination the executives make is right, nor is every determination they make completely wrong. But as Lincoln intimated when he replaced Common Freemont, it really is not a very good issue to reduce contact with what is occurring on the entrance traces.
Leaders that isolate them selves way too considerably from the working day-to-working day action of their company take the threat of dropping contact with their employees, their prospects, and even the companies’ mission. In actuality, there is an outdated joke about how decisions are produced with enter from the entrance traces that receives so badly distorted by the time it reaches the executives that it bears no semblance to the original message. Some men and women would notify you that this represents a communications difficulty. And to an extent, it does. But it also represents an government staff that is out of contact due to the fact it relies entirely on the chain of command to get info about significant problems as an alternative of becoming right plugged into the working day-to-working day routines.
But below is an significant imagined that every reader requires to hold in thoughts. My practical experience is that the to start with line professionals are just as likely to be out of contact with the working day-to-working day routines as the government staff is. If you are failing to wander the flooring to converse with your employees If you are failing to open up the traces of communications on what transpires on a each day basis If you are so absorbed in meetings that you do not invest direct time with your to start with line team then you way too take the threat of not really being familiar with your company. And that is considerably more dangerous then what transpires in “The Ivory Tower”.
By David Meyer