Managers and directors...

Member for

9 years 8 months

Posts: 2,163

You cannot manage if you cannot do what you are managing. You cannot direct if you don't understand what you are directing. Two adages I am becoming increasingly convinced are absolutes. Once someone advances beyond "team lead", i.e. stops actually doing end work, their knowledge and understanding of current processes (alarmingly quickly) erodes to a level where they are incapable of making informed decisions (for example about what needs to be done, how long it will take to do it and who is best placed to do it). If a director does not understand at a fairly deep level the product(s) a company is producing, then they are inevitably going to make incorrect decisions in guiding that company.
Original post
Profile picture for user charliehunt

Member for

7 years

Posts: 11,141

Is that necessarily true? I think it depends on the size of the company. A director has to understand and be experienced in his field - production, operations, logistics, finance etc - which apply to any business. He also has to be able to appoint a high quality management team who report to him. In large companies senior managers do not require hands on expertise either although they should have knowledge and experience of the products. In small companies I agree that senior managers and directors are likely to be and need to be more specifically knowledgable.

Member for

10 years 6 months

Posts: 894

"Everyone rises to the level of their own incompetence." The Peter Principle still applies.

Member for

9 years 8 months

Posts: 2,163

In large companies senior managers do not require hands on expertise either although they should have knowledge and experience of the products.
Which is why large companies typically bumble around in the dark like idiots. There are reasons why the A380, B787, A350 and CSeries are late. Starting at the top.
Profile picture for user charliehunt

Member for

7 years

Posts: 11,141

That's a very sweeping statement for which I presume you have evidence. But if all large companies did as you say they would all have collapsed long ago. For every poorly run company there are a dozen well managed successful ones so I don't think your arguments really stack up.

Member for

9 years 8 months

Posts: 2,163

That's a very sweeping statement for which I presume you have evidence. But if all large companies did as you say they would all have collapsed long ago.
It depends what the company is doing. If it is say, making coca-cola, then its not rocket science. There is no deep understanding needed. But, when it comes to things much more complex, say for example, Microsoft. Disastrous.

Member for

9 years 8 months

Posts: 2,163

That's a very sweeping statement for which I presume you have evidence.
Oh yes. I've done a full thorough investigation into every company in the world and have a complete dossier to present. :very_drunk:
Profile picture for user charliehunt

Member for

7 years

Posts: 11,141

Good man! That's what we need here - thorough research!!:eagerness:
Profile picture for user Meddle

Member for

5 years 1 month

Posts: 1,613

There are reasons why the A380, B787, A350 and CSeries are late. Starting at the top.
Add the F111 to that list, because this isn't a new phenomenon. Perhaps this is a cultural thing? Britain lost out in the race for renewable technology because it adopted a bloated top-heavy approach to wind turbine research and design. The Danish had started making wind turbines in the late '60s and '70s (though the idea of generating electricity from the wind is older, adopted in the US during WW2). What they did was to build small turbines out of readily available materials, wait for them to blow down, then build them back up having learned a couple of lessons. In the UK we started out by trying to make the biggest turbine possible, with Taylor Wimpy providing the concrete body and various other stakeholders involved in various aspects of the design. A couple of these turbines were built on Orkney, laden down with sensors to monitor every single variable, a few of which I wager the Danish already understood very well. In the end one of the turbines developed structural cracks within a couple of years and all was forgotten. I remember seeing these things on Orkney when I was a child, but I understand they are long since demolished. Meanwhile the Danish were exporting turbines all over the world including the US whose own designs, such as those carpetting Altamont and the Tehachapi Pass, were inefficient and noisy. I often hear that Germany exceeds in technology manufacturing because the managers and directors all could work a shop floor job. In my own line of work, IT (to put it vaguely), I had the pleasure of watching a director struggle to stick a MS Powerpoint presentation in 'full screen' mode. This is also the person we have to go to to get a port opened as part of our Firewall system, as if the director knows anything about ports.... The issue is that the director here is purely a director, and has been moved around businesses and our own business as a director rather than grow up through the company. On a tengential note, some of my more anarchist-leaning buddies will suggest that this problem will get worse as more non-jobs are created leading to more top-heavy and bloated companies over time. They would argue that low unemployment is a negative thing and that in a post-scarcity society it is time to look beyond the concept that everybody has to work a non-job as part of a rigid working week, be it a sub-deputy-temporary-liason-management-coordinator for a company that sells printer paper or whatever. Food for thought.

Member for

5 years 4 months

Posts: 22

One major problem we have in the UK which started in the late seventies and still prevails to this day is the culture of not valuing careers in the engineering field,many young good hardworking people have been steered into the so called promised world of IT,Finance and the arts. Don't get me wrong they all have a place but for far to long we have neglected the engineering fields and look where that has got us. We had some excellent companies in the UK but were run into the ground by bad decisions from board level to higher management,many who never understood what the shop floor was about. We need to value and promote all types of engineering in the schools and then we might have a chance of producing decent managers for the future which in turn will give us a chance at competing against the Germans who seem to be ever more present within UK industry.
Profile picture for user Bob

Member for

19 years 9 months

Posts: 3,564

"Hard to soar with Eagles when you work with turkeys"...
Profile picture for user charliehunt

Member for

7 years

Posts: 11,141

Cap10 - " We had some excellent companies in the UK but were run into the ground by bad decisions from board level to higher management,many who never understood what the shop floor was about." The there's the other side of the coin which lays the fault at the doors of the trade union practices which bled industry dry. For my money both sides share the burden of guilt but I have no regrets that the unions were emasculated and beer and sandwiches at No 10 became a part of history.

Member for

5 years 4 months

Posts: 22

Charliehunt British Leyland and BAC were in the back of my mind when posting my last reply,hopefully the practices from both sides are now in the past. My point being we need to invest in the future of our industrial base via training and R&D so we have good quality apprenticeships and a sound base for the future which will eventually flow through to good management practices and employee relationships.
Profile picture for user charliehunt

Member for

7 years

Posts: 11,141

You are so right - I could not agree more. What happened to apprenticeships? In my teens they were widely available and highly desired by those not choosing higher education. A large contributory factor is, I am sure, the obsession with the need for every youngster to go to "uni" however irrelevant the course and the conversion of polytechnics into universities.
Profile picture for user Meddle

Member for

5 years 1 month

Posts: 1,613

You are so right - I could not agree more. What happened to apprenticeships? In my teens they were widely available and highly desired by those not choosing higher education. A large contributory factor is, I am sure, the obsession with the need for every youngster to go to "uni" however irrelevant the course and the conversion of polytechnics into universities.
I think we can thank a certain philanthropic gay icon for that one.

Member for

9 years 7 months

Posts: 4,993

We have friends who both work for a company, who among other things manufacture items for satellites. Doing a lot for NASA, ESA etc He was telling me that some of the new bods brought into the company, want to increase production of certain items. They have been told that when manufactured, these items have a certain failure rate, and if they try to make more, it will lead to more failures. This possibly leading to the loss of contracts, in a highly competitive market. Contracts which they won through having a superior product. They won't listen to him though, and he feels like he's banging his head against a brick wall.
Profile picture for user charliehunt

Member for

7 years

Posts: 11,141

I think we can thank a certain philanthropic gay icon for that one.
That's only partially true. It was his predecessor John Major who scrapped the polys and turned them into "unis" !