A few months ago Coty dropped its $24/share bid to acquire Avon since the board of Avon continued to want yet more time to evaluate it. Today, as the Avon Stock sits at $16/share, coming down from its $47 high in 2005, it is clear that Avon continues having trouble with its bloated bureaucracy that can’t make decisions. In 2006 as Avon began its journey to mediocrity, the company admitted that it was overstaffed and operating with 15 layers of management. Can you imagine; 15 layers! Bosses everywhere!
What do you think most of those bosses did? In excessively-layered organizations, it is typical that most of the bosses are simply trying to make sure that no mistakes are being made; that is, they are protecting the status quo. They are just “checking” that things are being done as usual; they are actually “doing” nothing. In this case, they are protecting a business model that was not working.
Obviously when you are operating with 15 layers, the lack of clarity of who is really responsible for specific things falls by the wayside. A simple principle to remember is that each and every job in an organization should be a QUALITY job. Here is how you can tell if you have a quality job:
1.) You should be responsible for something, and you should have the opportunity to improve that thing while at the same time executing flawlessly.
2.) There should be very clear measurements in place that show the level of performance and register improvement when achieved.
3.) You should have a boss that leaves you alone and expects you to perform well and pursue improvements, but is always available to help if asked, and that boss has many other responsibilities.