Even in the best of companies…

It is maddening to be part of a successful company and not be able to make progress toward vital goals.

Too many companies, on achieving a few years of profitable growth, exhibit ossified management strategies. Their success gives top management such confidence in their infallibility that they begin operating on autopilot. They devalue emergencies and ignore vital suggestions because maintaining the current state of affairs is all they know how to do. 

The incredible frustration of being a concerned and enlightened executive in this kind of company came back to me yesterday while visiting BigPictureSmallOffice.com. This blog, authored by an anonymous Senior Vice-President  of a very large company, gave me serious flashbacks to events I thought were safely forgotten.

BPG, which probably stands for Big Picture Guy, began blogging with this post:

Welcome to my world. It is the world of big business and small minds. It is the world of paradigms and paranoids that populate the corridors and boardrooms of a certain very large company that, like the disarmed forces, is not all that it could be.

I barely mentioned his kind of company in my book, Danger Quicksand – Have A Nice Day, because there were so many easier targets to analyze. His company might be considered a good company on its way down, because it already has some of the people I describe in my book.

The executive blogger BPG characterizes a few of his co-workers thusly:

The V.P. of Human Resources has a nickname around the company as "The Black Widow Spider", while the CEO is the well-heeled and impeccably dressed "Man from Glad".

His portraits of his coworkers may sound outrageous, but they are right on target. If you have or ever had executive responsibility, you should read his blog.

As BPG says, this company is not all that it could be. In some ways, that makes it even more frustrating, because the potential for greatness exists in this company and the mindset of top management makes it very unlikely that greatness will be achieved.

I have been in four companies like this. They paid great salaries and seemed at first to offer fantastic opportunities to achieve meaningful results. However, making changes to achieve results was a herculean task. Fear and paranoia in the executive ranks was one of the major barriers to change.

Have any of you been in a company like the one described in BigPictureSmallOffice.com? What was your experience?

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