Modern Middle Manager
Primarily my musings on the practical application of technology and management principles at a financial services company.
The Asshat School of Management

Friday, May 30, 2003  

We'll call this theory of management ASM for short. ASM is predicated on the following principles:

1. Information is shared on a "need to know" basis, and you don't need to know.
2. Risk is to be avoided at all costs. Risk brings humiliation and potential termination.
3. Most decisions are made by senior management; major decisions made by subordinates are routinely overridden.
4. Lack of cooperation between departments at high levels.

These four points guarantee slow decision making, fiefdoms and competition between lines of business. It also guarantees a loss of motivation, loss of initiative and loss of creativity. Employees are not motivated by keeping them in the dark and telling them they can't make good decisions. Only by opening up the decision making process can employees understand HOW to make better decisions. God forbid we create a learning type of organization!

What is amazing is that these practices are reflected in another milieu -- Arab military practices (see Walter Russell Mead's article, "Why Arabs Lose Wars" for reference). And we know how soundly those armies are defeated by those who use information strategically. We are sitting ducks, the Libya of financial services. Extending the metaphor, a couple of cruise missiles from an enemy and we're pretty much done.

posted by Henry Jenkins | 5/30/2003 12:32:00 PM

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