Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Problems With Top Down Management

Maintenance is arguing amongst themselves what they should do about the snow and thick ice on the (flat) roof of our hospital. There is neither a policy nor a work order to remove it. My thought is that when roofs in town are collapsing, you should act as if God has sent a work order. Or a new policy. Whichever you like.

There is also a new money-saving government idea in NH that all vacated positions must be left open for 12 weeks before someone can be hired into them. 3 months, regardless of how backed up your department is. It is exactly the sort of top-down decision that will be successful in places where you've got unnecessary people - which is your real problem, but no one wants to tackle that - and miserable in places where you don't have enough people. One-size-fits-all bureaucracy.


lelia said...


Gringo said...

Flat roof in a heavy snow and rainfall area. Great decision-making!
Someone needs to have their pension upped several pay grades. If the government won't do it, the companies that won the building contracts should.

TomG said...

more cute textbook ideas that never work in practise - the (mis)assumption being that if the work gets done without that position's being filled, the extra body wasn't needed. But two huge problems with that - one being that most operations don't have a good handle on their workload, never mind even how effectively it's getting handled; and more significant to negating that policy's effectiveness, it (mis)assumes that: a) there's an incentive for a manager to make the underlings pick up the vacancy's work (she/he may be told to do so and 'act' accordingly, but not with a desire for it to succeed - since her/his empire would be going in the wrong direction if it worked) and b) that the fellow workabees have an incentive to take on the addeed burden as now defining their scope without more pay or status. Basically all futile efforts - but someone got an A+ in her/his thesis paper and could be the very consultant paid $200,000 to assist in the idea's implementation (so it is in fact a rewarding policy to the actual originator ;)

Michael said...

This is the equivalent to management issuing a memo about a particular behavior that only one person is guilty of. The conscientious people do thorough soul searching to determine if they might possibly be the guilty one while the guilty one never even reads the memo. Why not go directly to the offender? That's the way it happens in my agency - thanks for reminding me of the term that applies.