Very recently, CNET published an article on Research in Motion (RIM), the Blackberry maker. Here is the key paragraph that pinpointed a core issue for that struggling company:
“With two Chief Executives and two Chief Operating Officers, RIM is the epitome of a top heavy company. You’ve seen the consequences over the past few years: frustratingly slow innovation, shrinking market share in its core North American market, the lack of a new smartphone in nearly a year, and a half-baked tablet panned by critics.”
Why do intelligent, experienced people do these kinds of things? Such arrangements where there are many bosses do two disastrous things:
1. Slow things down – many bosses create many meetings and many emails and drag out the whole process of finally making a decision.
2. Water down innovation – compromises get made that take away the distinctiveness of ideas and that’s disastrous for any company that’s battling aggressive, innovative competitors.
So how does an organization avoid these kinds of problems? Actually, it’s quite simple:
1. Keep headcount low – while everyone will ask for more people, the courageous leader knows to dig in his or her heels and focus on the really important things.
2. Minimum layers – the last thing you want is multiple layers of bosses that an idea must work through in order to get approved.
3. Single person accountability – never have two people sharing a job. It guarantees delay and compromise.
Ever wait weeks while many bosses react to your proposal? Very de-motivating!