This could also be titled “How does upper management run a company while accepting little or no input from their knowledge workers?”.
I’m not 100% sure if this story as reported in the register is accurate, but it *did* tickle me. When I Googled “EDS Mainframe” to top search result was a page from HP Enterprise Services titled “Managed Mainframe Services Executive Overview” (click here for a screen capture if they’ve removed the page). This was filled with the usual, vapid jargon and hopelessly unrealistic expectations that you’ve come to expect from such an overview.
Having been in IT for the past 22 years I have seen many decisions made that have left me scratching my head. Sometimes I convince myself that I simply do not have all the facts at my disposal and that much larger issues are at stake that must form the context in which these decisions make sense.
But more and more, when I see the distilled (and often distorted) version of the facts that make it to the upper echelons of our management teams, I can’t see how a sensible course of action can be taken based on that information. Even less so when an executive is headstrong on some issue (i.e. his daughter told him it would be a good idea) and he determines what must be the final result regardless of what any experts he’s paying for advice actually advises.
It seems that the single greatest force that keeps our larger companies moving forward successfully is the inertia behind when they were actually forming and growing. Once they hit a certain size, there seems to be no way all but the most gifted executive can make a positive contribution.
And those contributions are in the form of general direction, inspiration and championing of solid ideas. I suspect that, the more they leave the details to the folks who understand them, the more successful leadership will be…