Four for Thursday: Articles I’ve Read and You Should Too
Management’s Dirty Little Secrets, by Gary Hamel. Mr. Hamel makes some excellent points. Indeed, if you merge some of the data he presents, you see a key truth emerge: people do not leave companies, they leave bad managers. Employees pay attention to the actions of senior leadership, but even egregious behavior by that leadership motivates only a few people to leave the organization. Those actions, in general, do not impact the lives of most employees. But the attitudes, skills and behaviors of the manager do affect the day-to-day lives of employees. Bad managers are poison, for morale and performance.
Why are so many managers bad? In my experience, much of the answer comes from poor hiring decisions. In a lot of organizations, great performers are promoted into management positions, without regard for their management and coaching potential. Smart organizations carefully screen manager candidates for specific management skills, like coaching and strategic planning. Proper screening would not completely eliminate the bad manager problem, but would severely curtail it.
The Lost Cause of GE and Jeff Immelt, by Evan Newmark. Mr. Newmark argues that Mr. Immelt has failed as Chairman and CEO of the conglomerate. I tend to agree. If this evaluation is accurate, what does it say about the vaunted leadership assessment process at GE? That process, in existence for decades,
Main Street Was Bailed Out, by John Tamny. As always, Mr. Tamny offers a unique perspective on the current economic landscape. He makes a powerful point, that somehow has never been learned: when politicians try to pursue pet policies through the market, the law of unintended consequences always foils their aims.
Down With Big Business, by Rep. Paul Ryan. Rep. Ryan makes some complimentary points to Mr. Tamny’s. He cites the University of Chicago’s Luigi Zingales in distinguishing between pro-business and pro-market policies. Indeed, policymakers would be wise to keep this in mind, as they stumble over themselves to enact laws designed to drive small business hiring. Small businesses should hire additional employees when it makes economic sense for them to do so, not when a particular policy makes it momentarily attractive.