Intro -- Archie Kregear LO7003

Archie Kregear (
Fri, 26 Apr 1996 19:20:20 -0700

To all who are reading this LO list I would first like to thank you for
some great interaction and thoughts. I have been picking up a lot of
snippets from the posts and then throwing in a few items now and then.

My interest in this list is in learning. Learning about how to be a
better manager and understand how to lead others in a business setting.
But a little background first, leading into the present.

Formal education includes a BS in Environmental Biology from the
University of Colorado and I worked on my Masters in Biblical Studies from
Denver Seminary. Then the Personal Computer was created. I fell in love
with how this one simple machine can do so much to make our lives
productive. So I also picked up a degree in Computer Science.

Over the last dozen years I have been supporting computers. Making sure
that they do what the sales person promised they would do. The last 4 and
a half years have been with Lockheed Martin where I am now manager of a
technical support group. It has been here where I progressed from the
position of problem solver to a manager of problem solvers. The difference
is that computers are 100% logical, they always do what the laws of
physics and programming instructions tell them to do, whereas people and
business has many other non-logical aspects to be taken into account. I
have mentioned a few things about my present situation in earlier posts,
let me draw some of these together.

In response to the message titled "Will Sr. Managers Change" I mentioned a
that I have had 9 different managers in the last 4.5 years. Then...

Gary Scherling wrote:

"I think it's significant that Archie's had NINE different manager in
4.5 years! Those managers are playing the old business games and
haven't recognized the new rules. Unless they rethink their positions
and start playing by the new rules, there'll be another new manager in
the position before too long."

Then Ginger Shafer asked,
"I would like to know from Archie, do you understand why the tremendous
turnover in your manager's position? Is it considered a training
position? Do people move up? Out? Over? Was their departure the result
of "failure," or by design (which are sometimes one and the same, aren't

I will answer by giving a brief synopsis of each and why I see they left.
(the time a manager leaves or I stop reporting to them during this 4.5
years, 54 months, is in parenthesis).

Mgr1 - She hired me as a senior technical engineer Dec of '91. She was
very effective in getting Sr. Management to buy off on her ideas for new
things. However, in the day to day management of the department, she did
not produce results. When she lost the ability to bring in a new tool,
person or position to resolve a need, she had nowhere to go but to leave.
(7 months)

Mgr2 - Had been a manager over a mainframe in a corporate computing
environment prior to working here. The fast pace of where we were at
dealing with PC's and networks left him out of control. It is a computing
environment that the IS manager cannot control. He could not get the
issues resolved, kept giving them to me to solve, so at a re-engineering
he was layed-off. This also placed us into a situation where the
department was understaffed. (13months)

Mgr3 - In the restructuring, I reported to the Director of Engineering.
His management style is, "If you need help, come see me." He resigned
over differences with the Program Manager, the next level up. He still
works for this business unit as a technical consultant. (19 months)

Mgr4 - I then reported to the Program Manager. A strong type A
personality who commands and demands. He wanted more of me, and every one
else for that manner, than I could accomplish. I thought of resigning,
but the pay is good and I was able to weather the pressure. (22 months)

Mgr5 - A new Director of engineering is hired. A person I consider to be
the best manager of those I have had. He realized that I could manage the
technical aspects of support and if there were two of me I could handle
the business side too. So a Business oriented manager was brought in for
the department to report to. (25 months)

Mgr6 - I a lot of ways I give this person along with Mgr5 a lot of credit
for rearranging the business aspects of the department. Something that I
did not have the time to do. However, what they did do, in hindsight, was
to eleminate most of the authority that I had built up. Thus a year
later, when they were now loosing the political battles with senior
management, when there is another re-oranization overall, I had little
authority in the company. (35 months)

Mgr7 - In the reorganization, I now report to the Director of Material
Operations. This person was a territorial manager. If you worked for his
group then you were treated well within the company. If you did not work
for him and he liked you, then he would assist you in your job. If he did
not like you then he would create all types of obstacles that would make
you look bad. I was on his bad side and he wanted to fire me as soon as I
reported to him but I don't think that he had any friends who would take
my position so he had to keep me. (38 months)

Mgr7 was great friends with the VP who was head of this business unit. The
reason that some of the other directors mentioned above could not
accomplish what they wanted to, is because this Mgr did not like them.
After a couple of months he hired Mgr8 to assist him with his duties and I
reported to him.

Mgr8 - A MBA manager on the fast track to Senior Management. Very
organized, and all I had to do was to make him and Mgr7 look good. They
learned to like me and I learned to play the perception game very well. I
realized that all I had to do was to make Senior Management perceive that
all is great and I could get anything I needed to run my department.
(Which actually did allow me to make some improvements changing reality
too). (50 months)

About a year ago, the VP of the business unit retires, which was, I
believe, his goal all along. Corporate hires a new VP. This VP does some
very good things. He is probably the person I respect the most of all
individuals in management here over the last 4.5 years. This VP, in order
to implement TQM and break down the walls of territorial management,
forces Mgr7 to retire in Feb. Mgr8 also leaves in Feb. for another
opportunity, leaving me reporting to the current Program Manager.

About 6 weeks ago, early March, the Program Manager and the VP of the
business unit resign when their efforts to have the government renew a
contract fails. The three remaining directors form the management team and

Mgr9 - I now report to the Director of engineering. Of course he is
different than Mgr5 above. He is the only person left in the company at
any level that I have reported to.

I hope I have answered your question Ginger. Probably raised many more.

The problem as I see it, with the management issues that I have described
above, is the reward/compensation structure combined with the "Good Ol'
Boy" network. Two rules at work here. 1. Bonuses based on profit; and 2.
Retirement income is based on last 5 years salary. The more individuals
reporting to you the more you make! If you have friends higher up, you can
get promoted.

What I have attempted to do over these 4.5 years is to make my department
perform its function, supporting our customers, the best it can. In a
highly "political" environment, I have attempted to lead (influence) from
the bottom and learn how to do it "correctly", if there is such a wat.
During the last year I stumbled on Senge's book and have read parts of it.
I then stumbled into this mail-list on the internet. My quest is to take
the next step from, and I'll use these formally popular book titles, "The
Pursuit of Excellence" and "Thriving on Chaos", to creating an environment
for productivity, creating value.

The problem as I see it, with the management issues that I have described
above, is the reward/compensation structure combined with the "Good Ol'
Boy" network. Two rules at work here. 1. Bonuses based on profit; and 2.
Retirement income is based on last 5 years salary. The more individuals
reporting to you the more you make! If you have friends higher up, you can
get promoted.

As far as leading goes. I've read a lot of books. I've talked to a lot of
people about it. I've examined it in managers, movies, etc... The bottom
line is be commited to a goal and persue it. When you figure out what it
is you want, understand the reason (the WHY) for it and have enough
reason, You will do whatever it takes to get there, and if that means
leading others to accomplish it, then that will occur. In business you
must give the individuals a reason to lead, and sometimes a reason to
follow, the issue that has been discussed here quite a bit, is who defines
the reason why?

Enough for now.

Archie Kregear

Everything above is my own opinion and does not represent anyone or any
organization, company, etc. but myself.

PS: Received a memo today announcing a new VP for the business unit.

-- (Archie Kregear)

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