Roundup: On organizational change rhetoric, strategic planning, and consultants

Hello dear readers, over the life of this blog, I’ve sometimes taken aim at certain popular management practices. Here’s a roundup of some of my favorites:

Using the empty rhetoric of change to justify or impose change (2015) (link here) — “With apologies to Bob Dylan, the times are always a-changin’. But if you buy into the rhetoric of certain practitioners of management-speak, then you’d think that the impetus for change occurs at those magic moments when they happen to be in charge.”

“Strategic planning”: All too often, a time-sucking bridge to nowhere (2011) (link here) — “My friends in management consulting may toss me out of the visitor’s lounge for saying this, but two words uttered together send a chill up my spine: Strategic planning. . . . Organizations should engage in smart, inclusive planning and evaluation. But there’s something about mega-processes like strategic planning that often do neither.”

Time wasters from top management (2017) (link here) — “Consultant Eric Garton, writing for the Harvard Business Review, posits that various time killing practices imposed from on high undermine employee morale and productivity…. These ‘practices, procedures, and structures’ include ‘too much process, too many meetings, meaningless goals, and time wasted on work that no one will ever care about.’”

If you work in higher education, beware the C word (2015) (link here) — “If you work in higher education as a professor, staff member, or low-to-mid level administrator, pay attention if you hear some variation of the following coming from the top: We’re bringing in XYZ Consulting to help with strategic planning and to assess what changes we need to make in order to survive/thrive/rightsize/move up in the rankings.”

Consultants and the “outsourcing of leadership” (2014) (link here) — “Take a look around your workplace. Are there consultants buzzing around, addressing practically every major pending concern or decision your organization faces? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then it’s likely that your employer is engaging in what a friend of mine brilliantly calls the ‘outsourcing of leadership.’”

One-way feedback: In-house employee surveys and the illusion of open decision making (2012) (link here) — “But hold on. Frequently these surveys are done with an underlying agenda, usually one that seeks validation for an already favored course of action. (A telltale sign is when obvious choices or answers are not provided as response options, or when the survey is framed to exclude entire points of view.)”

3 responses

  1. All too familiar. Very popular healthcare tactics. Covid is bringing out the worst in the worst. Many stories of abusive managers and administrators bullying nurses and doctors for wearing protective masks. Also, did you notice the meeting with Trump of nurse “leaders” totally excluded nursing union leaders. Corporate nursing was well represented. CNO of AHA. I could name a few others. I do respect ACCN as they have tried to recommend leadership improvements. Another organization most members are management or academia. Lastly, if nursing workforce reaches devastating low levels, I wrote National Council of State Boards of Nursing to consider reviewing probations, suspensions and revocations to see who could safely be reinstated. We all are aware that many were not patient care related actions.

  2. thanks for the links you have provided on the different useful topics that management personnel could use today especially in dealing with exceptional situations like the one happening now.

    I strongly feel that your post provides useful tips for leaders and managers who want to extend their duties and the protection that they give the employees amidst the rising culture of outsourcing and finding freelancers to complete tasks for the said businesses.

    In my search for platforms that connect employers with freelancers, I found https://www.therisr.com/ and hopefully. this website will be able to serve to accomplish the tasks you have mentioned in your post successfully.

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