Archive for February, 2010

The Case of the Fat Controller and the poisoning of Performance?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

The Fat Controller, (Sir Topham Hatt), is a ‘hands on’ manager.  He delivers feedback to his team in person (usually escorted by two uniformed ‘associates’).  His highest praise – ‘really useful’; his greatest criticism – ‘You have caused confusion and delay’.  Performance failure and an inappropriate attitude are met by being shut in sheds for days or consigned hard physical labour (shunting) duties. The team’s reality is that failure to be useful leads to the scrap heap and the smelter. Truly the world of small children has few shades of grey.   

Like some Asian cultures, the British are masters in the art of ‘face’ and not saying clearly what they mean (the use of euphemism).  There are good historical reasons for this – not least the need to not offend on a crowded island.

 The downside is that our messages are not always understood, particularly by recipients from different cultures – including the current educational culture.  A worthy national agenda and aspiration of inclusion is easily misunderstood and manipulated without the supporting vocabulary of duties and deliverables/obligations.  Jane Jacobs (1) makes clear the difference between the private and the public sectors – the latter which is able to legislate, regulate, commandeer resources and insist on ‘fairness’.  The private sector where we must co-operate and influence to gain resources, and the market defines ‘fairness’. 

How strange then the transition to work for many of today’s Generation Y, burdened by high expectations – including of ‘fairness’.  How strange the entry into a world of hierarchy, where experience counts, and we are not all equal (2).  And how strange for Generation X managers to be confronted by these beings from another planet at a time when performance really matters.   Much easier then to try to hide behind the ‘not the XYZ company way’ statement to close down arguments, than use appropriate communication skills.  Now more than ever the ‘soft skills’ needed for the delivery of performance management messages matters.

Next Steps? :

Talk to us, in confidence and without obligation about reducing fear and increasing  competence in your performance management

(1) Systems of Survival; ISBN-10: 0679748164 & ISBN-13: 978-0679748168

(2) Our generation: inculcated with dreams, hampered by the economy, scuppered by our own ineffectiveness.

  • Archives

  • Tags