EVP Newsletter 12-6-16
Management Models Continued – Conflict
Last week, I introduced the concept of what Management Model your company fits into. I hope you found it useful. There is an underlying reason for my discussing this in my weekly ECA Soapbox. That reason goes to labor and the acute shortages that our industry is already feeling, and will be feeling more in the coming years. The ECA is planning to introduce some new and essential concepts to its membership that will be geared towards helping find and retain your skilled workforce. The resources available to me by virtue of the talent pool within our own ECA are enormous. And if we do not step up and gear up to help our membership find and retain employees, we will not be an essential organization to belong to. With that in mind, I will continue to bring some Management Model info to you because it goes hand in hand with how your firm will choose to find and retain your skilled labor force in the future.
From last week, we discussed the four common types of Management Models in our industry-Owner/Operator, Family, Team, and Bureaucracy. In this issue we will present some common conflicts that can occur with your employees due to not having clearly defined and recognized core values consistent with one type of Management Model or another. The problems can arise when a company exhibits several types of Management Models to its employees.
Conflict #1: Owner/Operator vs Family: Has anybody ever seen the “benevolent dictator (the owner/operator of a smaller company) hand off some responsibility to a family member for making decisions? Of course we have. Have we ever seen that handed off responsibility get “yanked back” when the Owner/Operator saw the family member make a mistake and publicly berate that person? You cannot have it both ways. The Owner/Operator either concedes some power and responsibility, or he/she doesn’t.
Conflict #2: Owner/Operator vs Team: Most Owner/Operator firms try to get to the Team Model. This requires a lot of training, much more “vetting” than the O/O is used to, and slower decisions being made than the O/O may like. How many of us have seen the O/O retain some of the Project Management for him/herself? They still want to work as a PM on the “more important projects”. This tends to undermine the Team concept as the head of the company is now working in the Company rather than working On the Company. It also tends to have employees do less unselfish acts for the “Team” because the “Team” only exists in some aspects. Employees tend to watch out for themselves more than watching out for the Team. We see this on some sports teams. When it comes down to making the last shot of the game, sometimes the “superstar” takes it upon him/herself to control the situation while the other “Team” players just try to stay out of the way. Ever see that in your own company?
Conflict #3: Owner/Operator vs Bureaucracy: Ever see a promising young employee leave because the “pecking order” of advancement within a firm was upset when the Owner decided to bring his/her son into the firm and into that coveted management role instead of the promising young engineer who followed the company rules and was next in line for that promotion? Of course we have. What happens is certainly not as healthy as when that Owner’s son/daughter learns the ropes and follows the career ladder like the other employees and is allowed to be promoted by skill and training rather than by his/her surname. All employees benefit when the “pecking order” is maintained. Some very good employees have jumped ship because of this. It is very important in larger firms to avoid this and “follow the rules” of the bureaucracy.
That’s enough for today. I appreciate your feedback. If you would like to see more of this let me know.
Thanks for all you do!
That’s All Folks
Election Aftermath-Stop Growth and Change for Change’s Sake-
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting with Jake MacKenzie, the four time Mayor of Rohnert Park. Part of our discussion had to do with election results and what we were seeing around our own Bay Area. It is quite obvious when one looks at Healdsburg to see what a microcosm of other areas is. The voters have apparently decided that “pro-business” and “smart growth” candidates are out, and those candidates that want to stop growth are in. Why is this occurring? Because of the decade’s long habit of ignoring the need to put infrastructure in before growth takes place. We are seeing gridlock in traffic everywhere in the Bay Area. People are sick of it. People do not care to see businesses expand or be attracted to their area that has a housing shortage, a lack of traffic capacity, and crowded everything. So the voters are saying no to incumbents like Jim Hartisan in Fremont, Gary Plass in Healdsburg, Mark Luce in Napa, and many others. Gabe Kearney in Petaluma barely survived. Bruce Okrepkie in Windsor barely survived. It is a phenomenon that will greatly affect all of our businesses. More to follow on this topic.