Last Updated Apr 2, 2009 9:22 AM EDT
- Your responsibility exceeds your authority,
- You are subject to the whims (sorry, insightful and brilliant initiatives) of top bosses,
- You live in a world of ambiguity: shifting goals, resources and politics
- You do not have control over your destiny
- In a matrix, you have multiple bosses
In the world before re-engineering, middle managers tended to live in functional silos. They may have been dysfunctional functional silos, but they were comfortable: clear roles and clear responsibilities.
Re-engineering tipped the organisation on its side: processes became as important as functions. Suddenly, pressure increased dramatically on middle managers. For a start, there were fewer of them.
In many cases re-engineering turned out to be cost-cutting with a smile, where the smile was optional. Fewer managers found themselves having to work in a far more complicated world, balancing processes, functions, goals and an explosion of politics that went alongside the explosion of complexity which re-engineering causes. Re-engineering may streamline processes, but it hugely complicates the organisation's power structure.
We have been encouraged to build a world where the consumer can have anything, anytime, anywhere and anyhow. Consumer utopia has become a producer dystopia: managers have to respond by doing everything, all the time and anywhere. Even planes and trains are becoming little more than fast moving offices.
There are several strategies for dealing with this:
- Stay a junior manager: you may have to work hard, but the stress will not be as much
- Become a top boss: life is far easier. If you really mess up you can get a Â£703,000 annual pension, like "Sir" Fred Goodwin the abysmal former CEO of RBS.
- Start your vegan farm, drop out, whatever.