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Alan Matcham (amatcham@london.edu) is the executive director of the Management Innovation Lab

Despite the best efforts of Scott Adams and Lucy Kellaway to raise our awareness of how much managementspeak we spout, the situation is ...

By Jules Goddard and Alan Matcham . 01 June 2007

Despite the best efforts of Scott Adams and Lucy Kellaway to raise our awareness of how much managementspeak we spout, the situation is getting worse, not better. Alan Matcham and Jules Goddard enter the fuzzy world of bafflegab and wonder whether it is one of the biggest barriers to management innovation.
SoundingsImagine you’re sitting on a train and trying not to listen in on a conversation between two colleagues. John is the head of strategy and Mary is the HR director. Does this conversation sound familiar?

John: In these turbulent times, Mary, where change is the only constant, and where the nature of change itself is changing, our 24/7 missioncritical goal must be to level the playing field, to move up the intellectual food chain, to get our ducks in a row, and to embed sustainability into our competitive advantages going forward. The train is leaving the station (literally) and the window of opportunity is closing.

Mary: Count me on board the burning platform, John. At the end of the day, this business is all about driving change. In the pursuit of greater bench strength, the name of the game is carrots and sticks. In business, you only get what you measure. If we’re to impact our markets, our metrics need to be more closely aligned with our CSFs and QBR targets. Dave was saying only yesterday how the year-on-year EBITDA parameters have softened in these hardening markets. Unless we can build on our strategic architecture, get buy-in to our visionary game plan, and align our blueprint with the route map, we won’t hit our CBU KPIs. It’s war out there.

John: You’re right, Mary, it’s dog eat dog. The elephant in the room is our defensive behaviour, particularly within the marzipan layer. Nothing should be un-discussable. This is hardball. By living the values, walking the talk, reaching out to interface with our people, we can capture the high ground, raise our game, push the envelope, sing from the same hymn sheet and take it to the next level.

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