Big Picture Guy has captured the gut-wrenching emotions that pervade a boardroom when quarterly results are down. His recent post, Anger Has No Eyes, brings back some painful memories, especially the sick certainty of approaching doom that hangs over the executive strata when the corporate ship is losing way.
It is times like these that test the mettle of an executive. Too often, this meeting becomes a blamefest where the preponderance of abuse is heaped upon those who tried most valiantly to prevent the situation from happening.
BPG has captured his CEO’s frustration and anger perfectly. The Man From Glad is a top executive who feels his troops have failed him and is excoriating them for their miserable performance under fire. From the nature of his complaints, it seems that he received no warning of things going awry on his watch.
Having been in too many of those meetings myself, it is cold comfort to know that the Man From Glad, like Custer, is reaping the rewards of his indifference to reports from those below him.
Big Picture Guy and his fellow executives seem to lead isolated lives where mutual cooperation is not encouraged or rewarded. Any success by one executive may be viewed as a threat to others. Each must stand or fail on his own efforts.
This is too often the case. The executives inhabiting Management Row may seem god-like in their splendid isolation, but they often lead lives of quiet desperation because of their inability to make meaningful changes to their company’s future.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Open communication between managers, employees and top executives provides a means to detect and handle problems before they rise like a tsunami and sink the corporate ship with all hands on board.
It takes a calm, cool dunderhead to ignore advice from lookouts and subordinates and proceed at maximum speed through foggy seas. Those that failed to stop the Titanic, ENRON, whatever, went down with those that caused the resulting debacles.
If things are going wrong and you don’t speak up, you become part of the problem. If you speak up and get canned as a result or even blamed for the problem, at least you know that you acted with integrity.
This will give you more certainty when you look for your next job. It will also encourage you to see how well your coworkers work together to solve problems.