Mon | Dec 4, 2023

SSP DIARIES | Organisational illusions and denials

Published:Thursday | February 2, 2023 | 12:31 AM

I have had or known of many job experiences in my short time on earth, some are worth sharing as I have come to realise that there is a lot to be done if Jamaica is to maintain and improve upon its economic growth rate of 8.2 per cent, which I saw published somewhere recently.

There is a question I need to ask before recounting these experiences – how many businesses are responsible for this growth? Is it evenly spread across the entire business sector, or merely reflective of our traditional giants and household names? I am not an economic expert, but it would seem to me that our ‘giants’ alone cannot carry the burden of growth required and as such, the rest of the sector, to include the regulatory frameworks, need to step up to the plate.

CRITICAL LEADERSHIP

Organisation ‘A’ has always been one that sees itself as being very progressive and prides itself in giving a much-needed service. It has, over time, embarked upon building out its infrastructure, expanding its horizons, and rapidly taking on new challenges. In moving forward at speed, the human capital needed to manage rapid development has been left playing catch-up. Worse than that, critical leadership and managerial levels were often left out of the loop because they were perceived as having contrary views to hurriedly-thought-out policy directions, or, simply moving too slow. End result, the disappearance of pertinent supervisory, leadership and managerial levels and the imposition of the inexperienced to drive the hierarchy’s policies. Needless to say, for a noticeable period in time that ship appears to have lost its steering mechanism.

Organisation ‘B’ provided an interesting experience. Governed by a board, it has a CEO and various other levels of responsibility, typical of a small entity. It has some 40 employees, but nationwide responsibility. The board constantly adopts a position of absolute authority and often runs the company on a daily basis. To the best of my knowledge, the board has never been briefed on how it should operate, and so has chosen a path which provides a degree of gratification by the wielding of power. The CEO is fully qualified, on paper, for the position. However, it is well known throughout the organisation that this individual does not like to make hard decisions, shies away from confrontations, does not like challenges or opposing views, and is a master at appearing to be extremely busy at all times! At the lower managerial levels there are competent persons who are being frustrated by the levels of incompetence that are above and below them. Failure on the part of the CEO and interference on the part of the board both combine to create a working environment void of standards, effecting discipline and accountability is non-existent, or just impossible.

POLITICS OF THE DAY

Organisation ‘C’ is one which is impacted by the environment at all times. It is government-supported and run. It has a focus on youth development and for the majority of every five-year period, sees good progress in addressing the needs of youth. There comes a time, however, when the climate changes, having been influenced by the politics of the day, as is the case in general elections.

In such a situation, where governments do everything to capture votes and retain power, the goals and objectives of social interventions of this nature are of secondary importance when they come under political influence. There has always been a difficulty, after the fact, in getting these programmes back on track after an election. In such cases, it is not uncommon for some to be dispensed with and new ones introduced, to the detriment of whatever progress had been achieved before. Sadly, it’s the youth that are now suffering, and the system continues to wonder why crime continuously escalates, year in, year out.

ORGANISATIONAL VICTIMISATION

Can anyone identify with any of these examples?

In all the cases shown, the organisations believe that they are functioning efficiently and do not perceive that they have a problem. Sadly, they do not seem to have the capacity to step back and have an in-depth look at the way in which they conduct themselves, so in reality they are all in denial and delusional.

People in these organisations have identified the problems, but there is a fear of losing jobs, organisational victimisation and stagnation. These entities feel that they are performing at acceptable levels, but the reality is quite the opposite. They are time bombs waiting to explode.

These are real problems in our society that need fixing, if economic growth is to move to the stage where most of the nation will benefit, as opposed to the traditional minority. Getting everyone to understand that there are problems, effective and efficient management of resources are necessities in all organisations, as well as committing to the greater good, is a mammoth task, but it is one that we must not fail to get done.

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