Will Sr. Managers Change? LO7248

Martin Charles Raff (martin@vistaraff.win-uk.net)
Tue, 07 May 1996 07:37:31

Replying to LO7218 --

>I see we are on the same wave length regarding the leadership of many
>organizations and the systemic causes which lead to "impaired vision".
>I have seen this scenario played out in countless organizations here in
>Canada. I agree that it is a cultural phenomonenon. We use the same
>approach for promotion and development in all sectors: public, private,
>not-for-profit, and voluntary. The problem is most in evidence in smaller
>and medium-sized organizations, but I have seen it in very large
>organizations as well.
>I suspect, though I have no proof, that this leadership issue is so
>widepread that it may be the most significant factor behind Canada's poor
>productivity record. If this is true, then we must intervene systemically
>to alter the course. I compare this problem to a computer virus which is
>designed to do three things: damage files and data in the system, hide the
>damage, and hide itself from anti-virus software. The "user" in this case
>will not seek a solution without intervention from outside, just as the
>companies are not likely to work at solving their own version of this
>problem, because they have not realized that the problem exists.
>Who can intervene?
>What is the best point of intervention?
>How do we change the culture - not just of an organization - but of a


I think there are some encouraging signs of a growth in awareness of some
of the systemic issues around leadership in industry.

An article in 'International Business Week' this week (May 13) records
'self-doubt' among many leading businessmen in USA about downsizing and
the balance of their responsibilities as between shareholders and
employees. Thomas J. Moran, CEO of Mutual of America talked to a business
conference of 100 executives about trust, humanity and business obligation
"to make it's society better".

In Britain at present the best selling non-fiction paperback is 'The State
We Are In' by Will Hutton, which argues for public policies which
recognise the need of all stakeholders in society. And the Labour Party
(who have a big lead in the opinion polls) has announced 'Stakeholder
Capitalism' as its policy.

I suppose one thing that will make industry leaders change is the public's
expectations of them. Traditionally these seem to expect them to be
ruthless, decisive and single minded. So not only do they act in this way
themselves but they appoint people in this mould.

Hopefully as public expectations of leadership change so, after a time,
will the behaviour of leaders.

If this is so then a useful intervention of people on Learning Org and
others who want leaders to change would be to keep promoting and
publicising the new model of system leadership.



Martin Raff VISTA Consulting - for a better future martin@vistaraff.win-uk.net phone and fax: +44-1789 840418

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>