The boss is usually the decision maker — the patriarch — in many traditional business organisations. The boss in this management style makes every single decision. The employees soon get used to managerial style in this type of organization, which does not support a culture of accountability.
There are usually no problems at the early stages of business development in this kind of set-up. However, as the business expands, the organization evolves in such a way that the lower level managers don’t take bigger responsibilities. When problems do arise, oftentimes the attitude is to deny their existence. The truth of the matter is that many of these problems are usually rooted on the management style.
There was one instance where we assisted a company that was experiencing problems. The owner was in his early 50’s and he was the head of a business that followed the patriarchal model. It was he who realized the need for a re-structuring because the old way was restricting the growth of his business enterprise. He also realised that he was unable to lead a “normal” life. But now, he was ready to re-assign roles and responsibilities.
The business owner decided to engage in a series of activities in order to usher in some changes. The first activity was an open discussion of the problems of the company with a mentoring group composed of CEOs. This coaching session was led by a professional chairman. Upon analysis, the management team and the CEO group determined that the business is at an early stage of bureaucracy. Apparently, the management team was already well-versed with the pertinent issues. However, solutions were never sought because the problems weren’t recognised. The session was an eye-opener indeed.
It has been six months since the move to re-align responsibilities within the company was initiated and the team’s efforts have now led to significant success. Because of the new business strategy, the owner has new-found hope. He used to be in a state of despair and hopelessness. Now, he is in high spirits and optimistic about the future.
Decisions had to be made and most of them were tough, but as time went by, the changes became easier. For instance, it soon became evident that key employees were not really up to the managerial positions that they held. Instead, they were skilled artisans and technicians. Changing the roles they played in the company improved their motivation and work satisfaction. They became important contributors to the company’s success.
Changes were also implemented with regard to business targets, specifically financial and non-financial performance matters. Monitoring and measuring activities were applied, which revealed bothersome results. Nevertheless, problems were clearly identified and dealt with accordingly. One new strategy was implemented which aimed at reducing inventory and focusing only on the materials that were crucial for the business. This resulted in more profits and lowered material usage, which benefited the company.
There are many other improvements, not the least of which is the renewed hope of success for the business owner. All these came through because of a shift in management style. With a clearer and better business strategy, the whole team became re-energized. The whole company found a new lease on life and the business is now enjoying a level of success that has eluded it for many years.
The changes applied were huge, but they were successful at rejuvenating an already failing company. It was helpful that everyone was fully committed to implement the necessary modifications because all the gaps were filled and the transition happened without any kinks.