Incredulous but true. Here are several examples of the absurd-in-action from the executive suite.
- A colleague who works in sales shared that her employer is undergoing massive changes and consolidation. Besides reducing staff and increasing the remaining employees’ workload, management also lowered sales commissions while raising sales goals.
- At a staff meeting the head of a small organization announced the company was outsourcing its IT work — without having first told or consulted with the person responsible for the in-house IT function.
- A CEO invested in a senior management team retreat where everyone, including the CEO, committed to agreed-upon behaviors to improve team efficiency and effectiveness. Several months later, the team found that everyone except the CEO was living up to their commitments.
- The president of an well-respected ad agency called a staff meeting to announce a “merger of equals” with a firm that was much bigger and actually acquiring the smaller agency. It was news to the staff including several of the agency’s senior partners who had not been told their agency was being shopped. It was also news to the retired CEO and founder who kept an office and secretary in the agency but was out of town when the meeting was held. He learned of the deal when it hit the newspapers.
- A CEO, who complained about wasting time in a company-wide email, made everyone wait for him on an all-hands call before cancelling it 25 minutes later. While he never acknowledged his actions (contrary to his pet-peeve), he continued to complain about employees wasting time.
Call the executives/decision-makers in these situations by whatever words fit: clueless, unrealistic, inept, [fill-in-the-blank with your own description]. Whatever you choose to describe them, they are also major contributors to employee frustration, disengagement, and burnout.