Top Down

From the outside, everything looks good. A compelling vision, enough funding, great minds, appropriate timescales.

“So what’s the problem?”

On the inside, reins are held tight from above. Nothing’s moving. Knee deep in treacle. Can’t even agree a next step.

#1-Top down management

Someone high in the organisation, but not on the team, is imposing close control.

What they say: Please do this.

What they mean: I don’t want to do the work myself because I’m far too busy and important, but I want you to do exactly what I say in the way I say it.

What they really mean: I don’t trust you to do a decent job.

What they say they want: A job done well.

What they seem to want: Robots.

What they get: The minimum. Compliance at best, artifice at worst.

What it feels like: *&$%

What to do about it

Find a way to gain their trust. Show initiative, give them confidence that allowing you more freedom means better, faster, bigger, stronger progress.

Easy to say. Difficult to do.

Rely on context. Good senior managers (they’re good, right?) like problems taken off their hands. They like people with credible plans who actually do what they say they’re going to do.

Be (find) that person in your group.

Build a plan. Get as much buy-in as you need. Ask for fifty days, do it in thirty.

Top down management is ineffective. Show them a roadmap and that you know how to navigate.

Skippy Strategy: Identify the two or three people you need on side and that can make a proposal credible. Work with them. Step up.