This article relates to the Senior/Top Level management of an organization, and how a huge vision of directional change translates into the day-to-day operation of the company. AlphaMeasure defines senior management as the team of individuals at the highest level who have the day-to-day responsibilities of operating the organization. For many employees, this competency will target the managers occupying positions above their immediate supervisors. This competency covers topics such as strategic leadership, corporate vision, and corporate direction. Evaluating this competency can be especially useful in understanding how much your workforce favors the present direction of the organization.
This short story, Senior Management and Directional Change, is part of AlphaMeasure's compilation, Tales from the Corporate Frontlines. It illustrates how undertaking a drastic directional change within a company requires planning, engagement, and honest evaluation by the top levels of management, those who are ultimately responsible for the implementation of the changes.
When a company decides to change direction in a major way to increase profits and change with the prevailing business climate, change often begins at the top. Our company decided to change its marketing strategy significantly, nearly two years ago. Our main product was extremely service oriented, so it made sense to focus marketing efforts on the Internet, rather than the time-honored methods of TV ads and heavy direct mail.
This meant strategic restructuring- nothing drastic at the worker level, or even at middle management. But at the top level, there was a definite lack of expertise in the area of Internet marketing. Some on the executive team who were most responsible for day- to -day marketing operations not only disagreed with the decision to change strategy; they were also extremely vocal about their reservations.
We waited patiently to see how the parent company executive team would handle the situation. It was no surprise when the objectors were asked to leave. After their departure, responsibilities were restructured to give those in charge of the change maximum resources with which to accomplish the task. As the work proceeded, streamlining eliminated various positions, and certain workers were given responsibility for projects quite unlike anything they'd worked on before. Some training was offered, but apparently not enough. After a few years, it became obvious that the vision for change in marketing strategy was unsuccessful.
A team was assembled to investigate why the effort had failed. It was determined that top level management simply did not have the in depth knowledge and expertise in Internet marketing that was required. The company had removed the workers that were deemed non-essential to the plan, but this was not enough. Top management had not pressed hard enough to properly train those left to handle the transition. Expecting middle management and below to know and handle what the top level did not had deeply wounded the entire transition effort. Our investigation team determined that there was a genuine lack of experience and recommended intense training and education efforts as well as the hiring of highly experienced personnel in key areas. These recommendations were followed, but not before our company learned a tough lesson about top management's role in turning a broad vision for change into day to day reality.
© 2005 AlphaMeasure, Inc. - All Rights Reserved
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Josh Greenberg is President of AlphaMeasure, Inc.
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