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Evaluate Your Company – Shake Out Irresponsibility

people at night

Photo by citron bleu

If you’ve been in the workforce for any length of time, you’ve dealt with corporate responsibility. “Whose job is that?” “Who has to approve this?” “How many signatures do I need?”

There’s a horrible trend in companies (and law firms) to pass the buck AND usurp power. Everyone wants the power, but nobody wants to take responsibility … until the project succeeds, of course!

I’m not an expert in corporate efficiency or making people happy, but I’d like to offer some thoughts on the subject anyway. If you’re feeling like there’s lots of irresponsibility at your workplace, consider these things:

Who’s the head cheese?

The simplest organization is just one person. A solo or sole proprietor is in charge of all decisions and must accept all responsibility. But he also gets all the credit for success.

When employees or partners come on board, it gets hard to tell who’s in charge. The top boss must make it clear that he’s the commander, and everyone else listens to him (or her). The underlings then know where the orders come from and who will hold them responsible for proper execution. If you’re the top boss, it’s up to you!

What’s in the middle?

When companies grow larger, middle management is the name of the game. In my opinion, this is where 95% of the confusion happens.

The head cheese can’t handle everything, especially the day-to-day matters. It’s great to hire managers or vice presidents to oversee routine functions and ensure that the grunts are working.

But what EXACTLY does middle management do?

Can they approve inventory acquisitions? Can they sign off on work orders or purchase orders? Who approves vacation requests?

You must clearly answer questions like this. Why shouldn’t they have a good portion of this authority? Otherwise, what’s the point of middle management? Do they just get cool titles?

Does anyone micro-manage?

Projects always work better when people do their jobs. The grunts do leg work, while the managers oversee it. But if the managers try to do leg work, confusion ensues!

Evaluate your company and think about people who might be micro-managing. Is the CEO signing fairly routine purchase orders? Or are mangers cranking widgets on the assembly line?

What about you?

Where does your company fit in all this? Do you know where your position fits within the company? Let’s talk!

Andrew works for a non-profit of almost 50 employees. On some days, a solo law practice looks appealing.

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4 Responses to “Evaluate Your Company – Shake Out Irresponsibility”

  1. Matt
    December 20th, 2007

    The corporate world can be ridiculous…lots of things don’t get done thanks to gridlock via meetings, etc. My company is me and my older brother 😉 ; since we love what were doing we both do it without question and we don’t need to answer to anyone but ourselves…granted not every position offers this, but with more decision making comes more responsibility…which some just don’t want.

  2. C. Johnston
    December 20th, 2007

    I work for a company that requires the CEO to sign all printed checks. They require direct deposit for payroll but if there is a problem you’ve got to wait until the next pay period because no one can track down the CEO to get him to sign a special check. I think that this is something that could be delegated to an HR manager.

  3. Ashish
    December 20th, 2007

    Not every one micromanages, the experience of each individual is different. I think one should keep looking for the job where one is comfortable with …just like finding a mate.

  4. Andrew Flusche
    December 20th, 2007

    Thanks for all of your great comments! I figured this post would stir some good conversation. 🙂

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