Make your company flat or be left behind
Why some big companies are slow? It's not because they have lazy people or bad strategy or lousy products. They are most probably slow because they have too many managers at too many levels. Certainly, there must be some middle management structure in every company, but if you have, as a rule of thumb, more than five levels, you may be in trouble.
This is of course a rule of thumb but the point is very simple: the more steps from the floor up, the slower the company. Since today's markets - and your competitors - are moving very fast, you need an agile and adaptive organization capable of changing plans and adapt to new circumstances without unnecessary delays. The best way to achieve that is to keep the bottom up road short.
So, what are the most common mistakes companies may make?
The first is to promote an experienced employee to manager as a form of reward, not because the company needs a new manager. Subsequently, that new manager will get, more or less, a job that was created out of the blue, not something that the company really needs.
The result: A new worker that a) doesn't bring true value to the company, b) salary spent in vain, and c) a very possible interaction with other managers that slows down the production.
The other common mistake is to appoint controllers to control controllers. This is very popular in some companies: middle managers are taking cares of their teams, those above them control them, and yet another team up there is controlling the controllers.
This is absolutely unnecessary. If somebody is unable to do controlling - fire him. And if you don't trust them, you shouldn't be giving them that task in the first place.
The third reason for too many managers are controls that are too frequent. You don't have to write down every single worker's performance every day, and even every week, you can do that in larger periods. If your company needs such frequent checks that means that either your employees are not so good or their goals are not realistically set.
So, if that's the case, step back and think about the situation, don't enter new players in the game, that will make it more complicated.
And then there are goals... Be sure, be very sure, that your goals are set clearly and in a simple way. Let every member of your organization know exactly what to do, from the last worker to the president, and you won't need additional resources to waste your precious time and flexibility. Clear goals means less of middle management and faster communications inside the company and that's exactly what you need. ■
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