Why don't managers change?

    A key problem for any organization is change.

    Somewhere there are too many changes, or vice versa - too few, or maybe there are no ideas, or there are, but no one implements them, or the incarnation begins, but never ends, and often in general, some changes are planned, but others are obtained, In many places, the need for change is simply not noticed.

    If all these problems are combined under one word, then the word will be “changes”. It is with them and problems. It’s not necessary to prove anything here, everything lies on the surface, but just in case I’ll give a couple of theses.

    If you have a sales problem, you need a change. Obviously? It seems yes. Either the products you sell are not the ones that are needed by the market, or there are too few of them, or too many, or deadlines, or the quality is unacceptably low, or the sellers are rude to customers - no matter, these are the reasons. In order for these reasons to stop influencing the sales system, changes are needed.

    If you have supply problems, you need a change. Obviously? It seems yes. Or it is necessary to find suppliers of others, or to form orders more often, or perhaps less often, or to reduce lots, or to improve logistics, or to stop using hired transport, or to start using hired transport. It is not so important what exactly needs to be changed, but something needs to be changed.

    If you have problems with automation, you need changes. Obviously? It seems yes. Or change the platform, or take another software product, or hire programmers, or disperse programmers, or find a decent outsourcer (haha), or stop using a collective farm integrator and hire a federal one, or send feds and find an enthusiastic fan in your village, or reconsider IT management, or change the motivation of programmers. It doesn't matter what, but something needs to be changed.

    Here I write the obvious? Thanks, Cap? After all, the phrase, or the thought “it is necessary to change something” is so obvious, so often arises in the head or at meetings, that there is no reason to repeat it? Alas, there is a sense, because further the phrase "it is necessary to change something" usually does not work. Why?

    Because it is not clear what exactly needs to be changed, what to change, why it is necessary to change, and why not change it, and why we change it, and not theirs, and whether it becomes worse, but we have no experience, and crap it's all, but it can not be that it helped, etc.

    Common script

    The situation above is often repeated after the next “crackdown” of a manager or owner. He angrily asserts “it is necessary to change something”, issues orders, requires a list of activities, a new strategy, change projects, cost reduction (as a first project), staff reduction (as a second project), consultants (and what to do , if your - mediocrity).

    Further, the bureaucratic machine dampens the director's impulse. The easiest way is to wait until the boss calms down and takes care of the operative, and forgets about the changes.

    The second way is to come up with activities for which he will not go for objective reasons, such as buying expensive equipment, or an information system, or attracting qualified specialists.

    The third way is to come up with activities for which he will not go for subjective reasons, such as “changing the system at the root”, “solving painful problems”, “starting a new life on Monday,” etc.

    The fourth way is to “heal” with a surrogate, such as introducing CRM in response to poor sales, introducing 5S in response to poor production, buying ERP in response to poor planning, developing a bonus system in response to poor discipline, etc.

    It is easy to put out the fuse for change by such methods. And if it is easy, then why not - because quenching methods are so popular. But the problem remains in place - no change. And all, I beg your pardon, Shobla lives calmly until the next crisis, when the leader again "gets the reins under the tail."

    Often, after such perturbations, a paradoxical conclusion appears: we are fine, we don’t need to change anything, we just have to work better . Although even banal logic says that “it is better to work” is a change. Anyway.

    Why it happens? The answer, it seems, is obvious - banal, boring, elementary incompetence.

    And again managers

    The leader, after all, with whom is he talking about the changes, from whom does he demand, who sets the task of “coming up with an event”? Managers . And most of them, alas, do not know how to make changes . Well, that is, they do not know how. Not that they prefer not to do them, or do not like to do them, or reluctance to bother. They just can't do it , that's all.

    They do not know what needs to be changed, what needs to be changed, how to change. Why, they do not even realize that something needs to be changed at all (as long as they are not stumbled by the nose). They simply do not have such competence.. To force such a manager to change something is the same as forcing an accountant to program. Of course, rummaging through the Internet, shedding a bucket of tears on your fate, and having terrorized all the familiar programmers, an accountant will do something, if he does not quit before, but who needs it, such programming?

    Many managers, by the way, act in a similar way (in the sense of leaving), if the pressure from the upstream on the topic of changes increases, and the damping does not work, i.e. unable to absorb the perturbation or take him away from himself. You must have come across this. They crush him, the poor, crush him, he somehow slips away, he creates visibility, he runs for a while, he spins, he speaks beautiful words. And then, when you no longer have to endure urine, they kick it out.

    After all, why are managers fired? If we ignore the few cases of drunkenness, corruption, retirement and outright failures in current activities, then what remains? No change .

    The head of the sales department does not fulfill the plan, and was he fired for it? For what? For failure to plan? No, because he did not change the work of the sales department so that he could carry out the plan.

    OTK chief constantly misses the marriage, and customer complaints forced him to dismiss? Why was he fired? For the marriage pass? For customer complaints? No, for not changing the work of the Quality Control Department so that the marriage does not go through.

    The head of the IT department has not been able to complete the transition to the new system for two years, and he was fired for it? For not completing the transition? No for thatdid not change the work of the IT department so that the transition is complete.

    The answer is obvious, if you look a little deeper, right? Moreover, only one level deeper.

    Business as a system

    Any department, team, division, department, business unit, business as a whole is a system. The system produces a product - no matter what. In order not to bother with the structure of the product, we define it this way: this is a system that produces a certain amount of a quality product per unit of time .

    The sales department makes sales for a certain amount per month. Or it generates income for a certain amount per month, as you like. Or it generates a certain amount of receipts to the organization’s account per month, it’s up to you to decide what to consider as a product of the system.

    This system has bandwidth - it can not generate a product greater than its limit. Variability is different everywhere, depending on the system and product. For example, the sales department can sometimes come across a gold mine, in the form of a loyal customer, or sell a high-priced product once a year. We will not consider such impulse results, in the average figure they will be smeared.

    Normal, i.e. bad manager, puts himself in charge of this system. It pretends that the system cannot function without it, ties up key information flows, becomes the most important link in this system. If you remove all unnecessary words, he gets inside the system , becomes its element.

    And here we have a system, of which the manager is a part, and it produces a product.

    There is the same uproar - the head of a higher level makes a complaint, says: “something must be changed”. What is the essence of the claim at the system level? The manager is not satisfied with the performance of the system. Here, of course, the “system efficiency” will be more accurate, which also takes into account the cost of productivity, but this does not change the essence: the system, the system itself, is bad. The system needs to be changed to change its performance.

    How can this worst manager change the system? Not in the sense of “well, now we will understand what and how he should change,” but in the sense of “how is it even possible?”. He does not know how, in general. He does not see any system. He sees people, tables, computers, looms, walls, toilet, etc. Elements sees, systems - no.

    He does not understand the relationship, he has never heard parts of the system either, he has never heard about the laws of the systems, he has no idea about leverage, he hasn’t watched the video even about vulgar “low-hanging fruit of efficiency”.

    He is a pure user of the system. He uses the business system in the same way that he uses the refrigerator, microwave, car, telephone, social networks, email, etc. As it is now fashionable to say, he is a child of the era of consumption, and he consumes the business system in the same way as a dishwasher.

    Position manager for him - just a lucky coincidence. In most cases, he is simply a former employee of the department, which he now heads. He came across the director a little more often, laughed a little more loudly at his jokes at the corporate party, behaved a little more actively on a clean-up day, well, or simply worked better than anyone - a salesman, a supplier, a programmer, a designer.

    He was and, probably, will again become the best element of this system, but he will not even notice the system itself, as well as its presence in general.

    What will he do if he doesn't run away right away? Here, too, everything seems to be obvious.

    Meaningless changes

    What does the user, for example, the information system, when he can not achieve the desired result and no one to ask? That's right, he starts to "poke" and "try . " Change the available settings, refill documents, reconnect, distribute, change the values ​​of the details and tables of the document, etc.

    The computer user behaves similarly - pokes at everything. Just try, for the sake of interest, to a person who does not have much knowledge in the computer, set the task to increase productivity so that the computer does not slow down. What will he do? Games will remove. Movies will remove. Generally remove everything that he put there for their non-working purposes. Hard disk cleaning will start (if found). It may even reinstall the operating system. Download and distribution of torrents off. Well, etc.

    Exactly the same behavior of the manager. First of all, ryknet on their subordinates - "work, fu *, e * che." Will take everything personally in control. Get everyone to report daily on the work done. Organizes revision of projects. He will arrange a meeting where he will squeeze out motivational speeches with great effort. Or try to portray the bad guy. He will begin the usual managerial tantrum, the essence of which is to poke all the available levers of the system, in the hope that one of them will lead to changes. Do you understand? “In hope,” not “with purpose.”

    If it is a little more adequate, it will get into the Internet (as well as an adequate computer user, for example). Looks for: “how to increase sales”, “acceleration of software development”, “methods of reducing procurement costs”, “optimization of business processes”. What will he find?

    Unlike the “performance improvement of windows 10” query, it will not find clear instructions, or even a clear description of the reasons for the poor performance of its business system. He will find books, courses, software products, consultants and consulting companies, as well as a success story about how someone used such a method and everything went well for him.

    What will the manager do next? I would like, of course, that he read books, rethink and analyze his system, and ask more correct questions, but this will not happen. He will simply choose what is simpler and will do it.

    For example, enrolled in courses and seminars. Sometimes this is enough for the boss to fall behind, you just need to correctly present. “I realized that the sales department needs major changes, at the system level, which cannot be done without serious preparation, and decided to start with myself - from September I start studying at the MBA.” If you can get an MBA at the expense of the company, then the thrill is double. But the main thing - there will be a postponement of changes in 2 years.

    The path of the introduction of any new software product is also often found. At a minimum - a new round of internal automation, with the statement of the task to the IT department like “make me a serious balanced scorecard”. Director, I beg your pardon, slogans from the advertisements of this product, like “costs will decrease”, “real control over projects” will appear, etc.

    If the system is too expensive, and the director refuses - even better. Then, for a long time, in response to the next meeting, you can answer: “Well, you didn’t let me implement the program, it would solve our problems”. And if the director agrees, then, again, there is a time lag- while the implementation is underway, no one has the moral right to demand the results of changes. As a result, there is another surrogate product.

    Sometimes the manager turns to consultants. Here the situation is even worse, at least in Russia. Universal consultants who understand the entire business system, or not, or very little, and for very big money (for example, a budget of 20 million rubles from well-known consultants all over Russia for “identifying problems and ways to solve them” is quite normal). Ordinary consultants do not have the main competence - to understand what the problem is .

    For example, a consultant specializes in the theory of constraints (TOC). Beautiful, wonderful and very powerful technique. But it is not universal (like any other). But the consultant does not know anything else and does not know how. He does a lot of preliminary work, which always looks about the same - gathering employees, talking to everyone, brainstorming, writing down problems, drawing a map / thunderclouds / qualification / swimming lanes, etc. - no matter how it is called in a specific method. Well, to give a result - you need to implement TOC.

    If the consultant specializes in the development of motivation systems, he will say that you need to change the motivation system. If his bread is an ISO implementation, then an ISO implementation will be the solution. If it works with ITIL, then get ready to implement ITIL. Etc.

    If the consultant owns a group of similar techniques, then there will be at least some choice. For example, more or less sensible quality management consultants can advise both ISO, Lean, and 5S, and 6 sigma, because all these techniques belong to the same field of knowledge, and are based on one source (from which all have grown).

    As a result, the company will implement a methodology that the consultant knows . It will help, it will not help - no one knows, and this is not important (especially the consultant). Because, as a result of implementation, the consultant has a standard excuse - you are fools yourself.

    Just end, for example, almost all the implementation of 1C by the franchisee. You do not think that at the first meetings with the managers, and during the subsequent survey of the company (for your money), the French employees are looking for answers to the questions “What are the problems of the company? How can they be solved? Do they really decide the implementation of 1C? Or is there another problem? Or maybe it's not 1C more suitable? ". All that interests them is to write more functional requirements, so that the technical task for revision is more weight-bearing and the budget is larger.

    Well, the easiest, least costly in terms of money and consequences is “to do like that guy.” Having read a success story, the manager decides to use the same method.. This approach is a bit like self-healing folk remedies. Without an understanding of the causes, interrelations, consequences, harm - simply “attach the left heel to the right ear at the winter solstice, lying on the balcony of the neighboring apartment in a necklace of poop gibbon”. And what will help?

    So there are daily RAM, rearrangement of tables, purchase of monoblocks, dress code for employees, white and cork boards on the wall, flowers on window sills, plans and checklists for the day, spontaneous groups in vatsap and vibers, etc.


    You probably do not agree with what I wrote. Or why I wrote it. Or with the person to whom I wrote it, or as I wrote it, or why I wrote it.

    You probably think that I am wrong, and the managers are great professionals who can solve any system problem in the company, eliminate conflicts, enter new markets, speed up product development, reduce stocks, get rid of deficiencies, increase customer loyalty, improve product quality, etc.

    I will not argue and persuade, these are your managers, your business, your responsibility. I will only ask a test question: if they are able to do all this, why not?

    You can check whether or not I’m right about your managers with some simple questions:

    1. Where the manager is in charge, are there any problems that bother you?
    2. Do these problems bother you for a long time?
    3. Did the manager do something to solve them?
    4. What did he do to solve the problem?

    When answering, it is not the speculation that is important, but the facts - you answer not to me, but to yourself.

    I just want you to think about whether you trust people to change

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