My company has a management team that does not think strategically. We come up with strategies, but no one sticks to them or we easily get taken off course because of someone's bad decision.

A lot of the times they don't think at all. Some one comes up with a random idea and they want to immediately run with it no matter how off strategy it is.

A lot of their decision making is made based on personal opinion or gut feel instead of grounded in research or thought process.

A lot of times I end up having to defend their decisions to agency and promotional partners and have a tough time with it. Some times I can come up with something good, other times I just tell the truth (which doesn't come with some risk as it could always come back to bite me).

Have any of you found yourselves in a similar position? If so how did you handle it? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciate.


manager_atrois's picture

I know totally what you mean. Before getting promoted to a management position I was working underneath another manager who I swear was ADD. Anytime anyone would come up any idea that sounded good to him at the moment, he would go with it, even if it meant running contrary to a previously determined goal or strategy. It drove me crazy, because I believe the best project management sticks to a particular goal and process and sees it through, making slight revisions for fine-tuning. This guy would basically change horses in mid-stream!

I really had to try to be the voice of reason and I would point out when things were not running according to plan. It was still difficult, though. In the end the way I solved it was by involving this manager in my affairs as seldom as possible. For example, I was elected de facto project manager for one account and really only approached this upper-manager when I needed him to sign off on something. The project went so well I got promoted (at least I think that was why). Anyhow, I understand that this solution may not work for you but sometimes you have to be the voice of reason saying "we need to stay the course" even when everyone else is against you in the heat of the moment. Most of the time they all come around eventually*. That's my take.

* or they get fired because their projects suck!

jhack's picture

Being a critic is easy. Doing the that's another matter.

The clueless boss is an archetype. Perhaps it's not that simple.

Here's how to handle it:

Do a great job. Get promoted to manager. Show them how it's done, and get promoted again.


kklogic's picture

Can you ask questions in a tone that is constructive? For instance, "this sounds like a great idea, but I want to make sure we're not venturing off of the strategy that we decided upon. I'm sure there's a connection that I'm just not seeing. Can someone explain to me how this fits in?"

Another strategy is to develop a methodology for capturing strategy and ideas. I would use a business case type of template. What is the idea/decision/strategy? When will it be done by? How? Why? What is the desired outcome? How will you know when you've accomplished it?

Then make your boss look good. "Boss, you've had some fantastic ideas regarding strategy and I want to make sure we're fully executing on them. I had a thought about a process that captures them and allows us to check out status. What do you think?"

Cutting down your leadership / boss isn't going to do you any good. Finding a way to fill in your boss's weaknesses and make him/her (and the rest of the team) look good is the way to navigate this. The company benefits. You benefit.

HMac's picture

I suggest re-listening to the [i]"How to PreWire a Meeting"[/i] cast, because there's a lot of tactical advice that you can apply with your leadership team, and not just in advance of those meetings. I found that the cast helps me get "my head in the right place" in situations lust like what you've described.