The Irresistible Force and the Immovable Object

A middle manager’s view of change

As managers get older their chances of promotion shrink.  There are fewer senior jobs than junior jobs.  The sad truth is that if you haven’t “made it” by the time you are 40, you probably never will. There is little upside to being a middle-aged middle manager.

But most middle-aged managers have plenty of downside. They have mortgages to pay and children to feed. There is no such thing as a job for life and there are plenty of bright young things who will gladly take theirs. The next reorganisation is always around the corner.

There is no such thing as “risk free change”, so the golden rule for most managers is “Cover Your Arse”.

Risk aversion is alive and well in the middle of your organisation.

A senior manager’s view of change

As organisations mature their markets and competitors change.  The chances of maintaining a market lead or unique product diminish over time.  The only way to maintain a strong position is to launch new products, enter new markets, improve your processes, transform your infrastructure…  Have you heard the story about Blockbuster and Netflix?

There is no such thing as “risk free stability”, so the golden rule for most senior managers is “Move your Arse”.

Manager versus manager?

Of course the junior managers are kidding themselves.  If their organisation doesn’t change then sooner or later the competition will come along and eat their lunch.  The competition will, of course, enjoy the executive lunch as well.

So if you have made it to the top and the core competence of your management team is risk aversion, then you had better start making your core competence risk removal.  Or let civil war consume your business.

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Irresistible Force Immovable Object

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Image by Sallie Warren

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