What's a bigger disaster than all the combined corporate scandals of the last five years? Why, it's incompetent management, of course.
Bob Prosen, the executive director of the UTD Prosen Center for Business Advancement, cites an analysis by Booz Allen Hamilton -- Management ineptness, over the past five years, has cost shareholders seven times the lost equity value from corporate scandals.
In an interview (registration required) with Dallas Morning News columnist Cheryl Hall, Prosen talks of a survey that he created -- 64 top Dallas-Fort Worth executives responded to questions about leadership. Then he surveyed their employees. The results?
The two groups are on different pages, maybe on different books.
Among the most serious disconnects: 70 percent of the executives felt they clearly communicated their top business objectives. But more than half of the employees couldn't articulate them.Through Prosen's years of consulting, he's learned that executives are great at planning, however their execution is often lackluster. Until it's time for layoffs -- and then they're brilliant executioners.
"When you walk the cubicles and ask employees what are the company's top two or three objectives, many say, 'I don't know,' or possibly 'I don't care,' which is a bigger systemic issue of culture and morale," Mr. Prosen says.
Ignoring the simple yet sage advice of MBWA (management by walking around), many executives come into work and head straight to their offices where they produce proclamations from on high. This arrogance blocks creativity and turns the organization upside down.
Still, there's hope. Mr. Prosen provides 8 rules for improving your business:
1. Hire people smarter than you.
2. Challenge the status quo. It's never good enough.
3. Seek the truth. Don't blindly accept the first thing the first person tells you.
4. Treat commitments as promises.
5. Overwhelm and solve problems quickly.
6. Give the biggest reward to those who deliver the most, not those who try the hardest.
7. Face reality and avoid excuses.
8. Communicate, communicate, communicate.