Do People Leave Managers or Do They Leave Companies?
My last few posts have focused a bit more on culture and leadership (or lack thereof); in today's post, I'll continue the trend with a focus on management sins. I found three separate items that I wanted to share with you, all quite interesting, some with overlap.
The first is a whitepaper I recently came across titled 7 Deadly Sins of Management™. It comes from the Management and Leadership Network (MLN) and the Center for Competitiveness (CforC). They conducted research among executives in Northern Ireland to determine if there was a common understanding or thread as to why businesses in the region fail. Apparently, there is a "management and leadership deficit"in the UK. According to their research, the following leadership behaviors cause a business to under-perform or to fail.
- Lack of vision (No desired future state identified to be working towards)
- Lack of focus (Lack of focus on the areas of the business which add most value)
- Inappropriate role model (not leading by example - actions not matching words, not open to learning, not taking ownership)
- Not close enough to the business (lack of understanding of markets, customers, staff or product evolution)
- Lack of accountability or discipline (no action for non-performance, chaotic/fire-fighting environment, too fluid)
- Lack of constancy of purpose (Not staying the course because of the distractions or opportunities which causes the “eye to be taken off the ball”)
- Too much focus on the numbers (short-termism, lack of patience, mechanistic environment, blame culture)
Without a doubt, these behaviors are 110% detrimental to any business. When there's no clarity for employees, when they see leaders fumble around trying to figure out next steps, and when they feel like leaders don't understand the business itself and what they're supposed to be doing, employees begin to question whether they want to continue to work for these folks. And worse, employees decide to leave.
The next item I found was Dr. W. Edwards Deming seven deadly diseases of western management, which he notes are:
- Lack of constancy of purpose
- Emphasis on short-term profits
- Annual rating of performance: “it is purely a lottery”
- Mobility of management (i.e., job hopping)
- Use of visible figures only, with little or no consideration of figures that are unknown or unknowable
- Excessive medical costs
- Excessive legal damage awards swelled by lawyers working on contingency fees
For any business to be transformed, for businesses to survey, clearly these diseases need to be cured. The first five are his original "diseases," and he added the other two later.
And finally, the third item is a book by Dr. John Collis, The Seven Fatal Management Sins | Understanding and Avoiding Managerial Malpractice, in which he calls out and defines the following sins:
- The character flaw: erosion of trust and integrity
- Blind ambition: focus more on managing your career than managing the organization
- Short-term scare mentality: managing for survival
- Indecisiveness: unclear on when and who decides
- Blurred focus: the fuzzy vision
- Employees perceived as an expense, not as an investment
- Managing unchecked: lack of real accountability
Pundits actually ponder if people really leave managers, not companies. With traits like those listed, why would an employee want to stay. An interesting observation is that none of these three really put a heavy focus on employee development; each one stated only one sin that pertained to the employee, although, ultimately, they all impact employees,
From these lists, some of the deal-breaker behaviors for me - ones that I've witnessed fairly consistently over the years, unfortunately - include:
- Lack of vision
- Lack of focus/constancy of purpose
- No real accountability
- Too much focus on the numbers
- Not leading by example
- Lack of trust and integrity
- Managing for survival
Based on your experience, what else would you add to the sins outlined by the three sources I've noted? What sins have you seen your managers or leadership team commit? What are your deal breakers?
So much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work. -Peter Drucker
Retirement Planning Has Its Limits: How to Prepare
Retirement planning is one of the issues that commonly leads clients to consult financial advisers. One of its essential aspects is creating a plan to save and invest in order to provide a comfortable retirement income. Ideally, this starts many years ahead of retirement, even as early as your first paycheck.
As retirement comes closer, planning for it expands to take in a host of other considerations, such as deciding when to retire, where to live, and what kind of lifestyle you hope to have. When retirement becomes a reality, the focus shifts to carrying out the plan.
All of this planning is crucial. Yet, for both financial advisers and clients, it's good to keep in mind that planning has its limits. In the post-retirement years, it may be helpful to think in terms of preparing for old age rather than planning for it.
The older we get, the more important this distinction between planning and preparing becomes. Too many life-changing things can happen without regard to our best-laid plans. Often they occur unexpectedly, resulting in emergency situations where urgent decisions have to be made. A stroke or a fall, a diagnosis of terminal illness, a broken hip that leaves someone unable to go back to independent living—and suddenly, right now, the family needs to find an assisted living facility, arrange for live-in help, or sell a home.
What are some of the ways to prepare for these contingencies?
- Explore housing options well ahead of time. Find out what assisted living, home care, and nursing home services and facilities are available where you live and whether they have waiting lists. Have family conversations about possibilities like relocating or sharing households.
- Research the financial side of these options. Investigate the cost of hiring help at home, assisted living facilities, and nursing care centers. Find out what is and is not covered by Medicare and long-term care insurance. For example, people are sometimes surprised to learn that Medicare does not pay for nursing home care other than short-term medical stays.
- Designate someone to take over decision-making, and do the paperwork. Execute documents like a living will, medical power of attorney, and contingent power of attorney. Update them as necessary, and give copies to your doctors, your financial planner, and appropriate family members.
- Start relatively early to downsize. Well before you're ready to let go of possessions or move into smaller housing, start considering what to do with your "stuff." Focus on the decisions rather than the distribution. There's no need to get rid of possessions prematurely, but decide what you want to do with them—and put in writing. Do this while it's still your choice, rather than something your family members do while you're in the hospital or nursing home
- Do your best to practice flexibility and acceptance. No matter how strongly you want to live in your own home until the end of your life, for example, it may not be possible. The physical limitations of aging can limit our choices, and even the best options available may not be what we would like them to be. It is a profound gift to yourself and your family members to accept these realities with as much grace as you can muster.
Finally, please don't underestimate the importance of planning financially for retirement. Because the bottom line is that you can't plan for all the things that might happen as you age, but you can prepare to deal with them. One of the most useful tools to cope with those contingencies is having enough money.
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