Big Corporation Sickness
by Rob James
I realise I could never be trusted to run a big corporation, ok. I want to clear that up right now. Iâ€™m irresponsible, lazy, frequently rude and always late for meetings. I donâ€™t often pay attention when Iâ€™m in meetings and I say stupid things if I think theyâ€™ll be funny. For example, I was sat in a project meeting a couple of weeks back with a new team full of people Iâ€™ve never met before. I got sent to this project meeting by my boss to represent our team. But itâ€™s a four hour meeting and two hours into it I couldnâ€™t see any relevance to me or my team at all. So I zoned out a bit. Well, I say a bit, I mean totally. And so there I was in my happy place when all of a sudden the guy leading the meeting â€“ I canâ€™t even remember his name â€“ says â€śRob, what are you thinking?â€ť But I have been listening for a good half an hour; I have no idea what theyâ€™ve all been talking about. So I said, because I thought it might be funny, â€śI was just thinking how cool it would be if I was a superheroâ€ť. The project team now think Iâ€™m an idiot, my manager is unimpressed but Iâ€™m pleased with myself because I still think it was funny. Maybe thatâ€™s just me.
My point is that Iâ€™m not fit to be the guy in charge. I realise that and I embrace it. What I do wonder though is whether the guys in charge are any fitter to be the guys in charge than me. The reason I wonder this is that I work for a big corporation and several of my friends work for other big corporations and as weâ€™ve talked to each other about work weâ€™ve noticed some similar trends. These things feel like several kinds of sickness that creeps through big corps and leave the staff feeling bewildered, annoyed and fed up. So weâ€™ve set about diagnosing a few of the most common to see if maybe a cure can be found:
Organisational Attention Deficit Disorder (OADD)
All of our big corps announce strategies, visions, plans, aims, objective and goals. All the staff have to sit down and listen to our leaders talk about how excited they are about said strategies, visions, plans, aims, objective and goals that will drive the business forward. Except that within a month or two OADD has struck and we have some new strategies, visions, plans, aims, objective and goals creeping in. And some of the old ones disappear. And over a course of a year all of the strategies, visions, plans, aims, objective and goals are completely different to the ones we started with. Only a cynic would believe that the strategies, visions, plans, aims, objective and goals change to reflect what weâ€™re going to deliver so that at year end we can say we were successful. No, this is OADD at work and no known cure has yet been found.
Our big corps just canâ€™t keep a secret! By the time any announcement at all reaches the shareholders, the markets or the media everyone in the company knows everything there is to know about it. This appears to be because too many of our senior leaders seem to suffer from premature announc-iations; the inability to stop themselves spouting off early to several trusted confidents who then tell everyone else.
Constant Re-Adjustment Disorder
Sufferers of Constant Re-Adjustment Disorder cannot stand to leave any structure in place for more than a few months. The need to create a new organisational plan, a new structure or some new roles will drive out any desire to maintain the status quo long enough to tell if any of their constant re-adjustments have worked and enable their staff to settle into new working patterns. Where they are unable to do this sufferers will instead create new layers of governance or process instead to stave off their cravings.
Ever worked for a big corp and heard an edict from on high that, for example, â€śwe are committed to developing our staff?â€ť We have. Weâ€™ve then seen the Learning & Development department slashes from 200 staff members to 20 and the budget reduced by 66%. Now look, I donâ€™t care if my organisation donâ€™t want to spend any money developing me or notÂ in the same way that I donâ€™t care if my girlfriend really loves me or not. Just donâ€™t tell me as Iâ€™ll only feel let down when I find out the truth.
These, my friends, are just the tip of the iceberg; there are many, many more Big Corporation Sicknesses out there that have yet to be diagnosed. Tell you what â€“ why donâ€™t you have a go at diagnosing a few of them yourself and send them to me here at Endeavour Magazine. Once weâ€™ve done that we can pass them onto to someone bigger, better and wiser than us who can go about fixing them. Someone senior would seem right wouldnâ€™t it? Maybe we should pass them to the guys in charge of the big corporations. Oh no, hang on, this is where I came in isnâ€™t it! That sort of poor idea just shows why Iâ€™m not fit to be the man in charge!
Category: Light Relief