I was just about to leave when Lawrence stuck his hand in the air. “What about the people?” he asked.
“The role of the Manager,” I started, “is to create the system and make the system better. The most important system is the people system. How people work in your organization is top priority for the Manager. Look, here is the bad news. Right now, your people system is working exactly as it was designed to work.”
“How can that be?” Lawrence replied. “Our people system sucks.”
“You designed it that way, or by choice, you decided to leave it to chance. Either way, you designed it to suck.”
“But, it’s not my fault. I have only been a manager here for two months.” Lawrence was backpedaling big time.
“And so, for the past two months, you have supported a system by doing nothing about it,” I replied. Lawrence was looking for a better excuse, but I stopped him. “Look, in the short time you have been a manager, have you drawn a brief diagram about how people work around here, how they relate to each other, how they depend on each other? Have you written job profiles to document the specific accountabilities of each person on the floor?
“Lawrence, you are in charge of the most important system in your company, the design of how people work together as a team.”