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eminence grease
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I'm sitting here in an after hours meeting listening to this year's "big new idea" about career development. Whenever we do an employee survey, "It's hopeless, I have no career" always comes up, and every year the company rolls out some new solution that these days consists of fancy slides, fancier web sites (where you can plot your route to the top.)

Does anyone believe in this stuff? Does anyone use it and expect that it's actually going to get one moved ahead? Has anyone been moved ahead this way?

Year after year I sit and listen and scoff. The scores my employees give me are always 100%, and I get them by offering them opportunities to stretch their skills, the training they need, visibilty to the next layers of management and coaching when they need it. That seems pretty obvious, is the management corps in this country so lame as to think they need to develop "responses" instead of just working with their employees?
 

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Our new boss wants us to operate like a "well-oiled machine," but that'll never happen as long as she keeps piling on the new tasks that both try our patience and demoralize us at the same time.

As a result, the three of us working for her have to take evasive measures to avoid being assigned these tasks. Every good deed goes punished with more mundane tasks. Instead of rolling up my sleeves and just doing what needs to be done, I've learned to ignore those ridiculous assignments.

So we've turned into a surly bunch of assistants who are amazed at the cluelessness of upper management, as we get in trouble for not doing what we're told......and being punished when we DO.
 

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Grey Manrod
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terry b said:
I'm sitting here in an after hours meeting listening to this year's "big new idea" about career development. Whenever we do an employee survey, "It's hopeless, I have no career" always comes up, and every year the company rolls out some new solution that these days consists of fancy slides, fancier web sites (where you can plot your route to the top.)

Does anyone believe in this stuff? Does anyone use it and expect that it's actually going to get one moved ahead? Has anyone been moved ahead this way?

Year after year I sit and listen and scoff. The scores my employees give me are always 100%, and I get them by offering them opportunities to stretch their skills, the training they need, visibilty to the next layers of management and coaching when they need it. That seems pretty obvious, is the management corps in this country so lame as to think they need to develop "responses" instead of just working with their employees?
Interesting topic. Lately I've been trying to teach my higher-ups that, duh, you need to coach up the young'ns. It's a rare person who can come on and come up to speed with little or no guidance.

"Mentor" is a word that gets tossed around without much thought as to what it means. I think for a lot of people, "mentoring" means going out to lunch, knowing where their office is, and answering a question or two. They don't invest in their people.......and then are shocked to find out that they have no feelings of loyalty, are demoralized and feel they have no future there.
 

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eminence grease
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I sit there and I listen to this stuff and the Old Me wants to come out and say it plainly - what the hell are you guys talking about.

There was actually a sentence on a slide to the effect of "when you're talking to an employee, look them in the eye and show caring and interest." Man, if we've gotten to the point where we have to spell that out, we're sunk.

The real problem here is that sr. mgmt. does not spend any time offering their vision or guidance. They hand it all off to assistants and so no one ever knows what the leadership is thinking. But instead of just talking about things, they develop 42 glossy powerpoint slide presentations and dump the responsibility back on their staff.
 

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tofurkey hunting
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it gets even worse in academia when you have business trained administrators (EdDs) trying to discuss in-depth academic issues, professionalism, development, etc....

so to your own point, no, they don't listen and i can sympathize

for example, as part of our leadership program, i sat through an entire day on professionalism where we heard from local BUSINESS leaders and went through an etiquette dining training :rolleyes:
 

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Old enough to know better
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My currently employer dosn't have a set career development plan per se. But they do reward people with promotions and such if your a motivated employee. I m pretty luck that in my field (Package Printing) that my age (27) is a huge pro for my profession. The avg age in printing now is like 47. I have gotten a TON of production experiance, and am now starting to get some mid lvl management experiance as well. They reward us for hard work, and at this point I could pretty much name where I want to be at in 5 yrs. The key to this is getting motivated employees that WANT to succeed not sit around and wait for handouts.
 

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My team works in 'branch' offices; most of the time I am the top of the food chain where I sit.

The folks on my team that complain about career and promotion do not seek out existing opportunities within the company that exist in other markets. They do not want to move, and that seriously limits what will happen.

I am pretty up front about this with everyone that asks; if they don't want to move they can either find recognition in other parts of their life or continue their career with another company locally. The thing that kills me is they don't even apply for jobs internally, and then decide on geography. No web page will solve that.
 

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If only American companies can adapt to the German management approach in which management positions are rise through the rank. Not some d__bass management academia yapping about ideas and theories. I am a manager. You would never catch me using words like "being accountable," "appreciation," "setting goals," and all other management catch phrases. They are meaningless. Instead, I carry out the meaning of these words in actions, in what I do to for my staff. Career path???? I work in the retail industry. The highest career path I think many of us can achieve realistically is become a store manager. There is the District Manager position....but the chance of being promoted as one is very dim. :) After seeing what my District Manager has to do to keep the whole district in order, I don't think I want to become one. :) My company spends a lot of their resources in teaching us how to become a better manager.
 

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Too Old to Run...
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It's often the case that management is more focused on their own career development to "invest" in the lives of junior level employees. I am amazed at the level of indifference towards others that some of the senior-level managers exhibit. In fact, in some cases it is widely known that they are not the "people person" type. And that's toward their own direct reports.

I almost wonder if they are afraid to communicate on a real level so that others could see their strengths and weaknesses. I find that the greatest mentoring is the type that not only showcases the successes but also the failures - it allows the prospect of failure, and more importantly develops the ability to recover in a moral and ethical manner. The corporate culture has become a "success at any costs" type of affair. Perception is reality.

Sadly the mentoring problem is self-fulfilling in that today's managers were yesterday's juniors and they only propagate what they've been taught.
 

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You need to find a way to get out, and then come back as the consultant. It sounds like you know the right way(s) to foster such a culture. What is missing is getting your message to the company leaders.

Sadly, organizations seem to ignore voices from within, but will spend buckets of money on some outside a$$hat to tell them something they already know. Then the idea becomes theirs.
 

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hit it
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Brick Tamland said:
Interesting topic. Lately I've been trying to teach my higher-ups that, duh, you need to coach up the young'ns. It's a rare person who can come on and come up to speed with little or no guidance.

"Mentor" is a word that gets tossed around without much thought as to what it means. I think for a lot of people, "mentoring" means going out to lunch, knowing where their office is, and answering a question or two. They don't invest in their people.......and then are shocked to find out that they have no feelings of loyalty, are demoralized and feel they have no future there.
Do we work together?
 

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Our office has a lot of "OJT" available and is really pushed to the new guys. Lucky for me tomorrow marks my 18 yr anniv. since starting, and as such I'm considered one of the "old timers" and am pretty much left to my own when it comes to classes.
 

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Seat's not level
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terry b said:
The real problem here is that sr. mgmt. does not spend any time offering their vision or guidance. They hand it all off to assistants and so no one ever knows what the leadership is thinking. But instead of just talking about things, they develop 42 glossy powerpoint slide presentations and dump the responsibility back on their staff.
Hey, I work there/here also. Nobody can make a decision without a 3 hour meeting and 164 page PP presentation. :rolleyes: If they can't decipher the slides and make a decision they reschedule and create 200 more slides to help. :rolleyes:

As for career development, sharpen up the resume. Nobody from within gets promoted. All new positions are hired from the outside. Some of the chosen few are given promotions, but that's just a change in title and a bigger paycheck for doing the same thing. Some do get to hire additional staff to spread their "work" around so they have time to attend more meetings.
 

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Gruntled
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terry b said:
Does anyone believe in this stuff? Does anyone use it and expect that it's actually going to get one moved ahead? Has anyone been moved ahead this way?
Interesting question. One of my previous employers was similar to your is this respect; they made all kinds of noise about "empowerment" and "growth" for the employees, and then proceeded to micromanage everyone, hold secret management meetings, decide on policy with no input from the people who would carry it out, etc.

OTOH, I did some consulting work years ago for a major oil company, and their management development program was impressive. They had a well defined career path from bottom to top, and I saw people moving up the ladder.

One thing to keep in mind is the size of the company. At a small shop, like the one I'm at now, there are only so many roles to fill.. There's really no opportunity for promotion unless someone leaves or the company grows significantly larger.
 

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But instead of just talking about things, they develop 42 glossy powerpoint slide presentations and dump the responsibility back on their staff.

That's not true. They have the staff choose the slides after sourcing them from the different teams, then have the staff put together the ppt. Then, a member of the staff sets up the equipment and clicks through while the mgr talks about it.

At my father's retirement party, I did an impromptu speech that mentioned how I once dropped by his office unannounced (he was a bank VP) and found him stuffing envelopes. When I asked what he was doing, he replied, "The women in the back were really busy, and I wasn't, so I went back there and told them to give me something I was capable of doing to help them out."

People at the party came up to me and my sister, to tell us how much they loved working for my father. "Best boss I ever had" was a common remark.

But when I apply that same work ethic here, it's just met with more of the same. Which takes up time from the deadline-oriented stuff, which is what gets noticed by the big bosses.

Ever since I did some staple-removal for my boss so that she could recycle paper packets for her printer, she's "outsourced" my services to other managers, so now there's a huge stack of papers next to the scrap basket awaiting staple/clip removal. They were originally left on my desk with a Post-It that said "scrap," so I stuck the Post-It on the wall over the ever-growing stack.

This morning, she mentioned that the stack was getting bigger and that when I get a chance, perhaps I could start removing the staples? I didn't even respond. Yeah, she's very busy and all, barely enough time to do that herself, but I'm not her valet!

The scrap basket was something I created for re-useable paper. I had to tape instructions over it, explaining, "This is NOT a recycling bin. No staples or clips- paper must be in re-useable condition." Nowhere does it say, "We'll gladly remove your staples etc."

Anyway, seems like we're encouraged to use evasive tactics. That's the thanks I get for doing her a favor.
 

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Seat's not level
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Just throw all the paper in the recycling bin. When they process it they are expecting some staples and paperclips.
 

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Shirtcocker
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terry b said:
I'm sitting here in an after hours meeting listening to this year's "big new idea" about career development. Whenever we do an employee survey, "It's hopeless, I have no career" always comes up, and every year the company rolls out some new solution that these days consists of fancy slides, fancier web sites (where you can plot your route to the top.)

Does anyone believe in this stuff? Does anyone use it and expect that it's actually going to get one moved ahead? Has anyone been moved ahead this way?

Year after year I sit and listen and scoff. The scores my employees give me are always 100%, and I get them by offering them opportunities to stretch their skills, the training they need, visibilty to the next layers of management and coaching when they need it. That seems pretty obvious, is the management corps in this country so lame as to think they need to develop "responses" instead of just working with their employees?
I've had very few good managers--let alone mentors. Most just want you to make them look good so they keep their job or rise to the next rung. Most of the things you describe are just managers trying to justify their positions. Here's a good rule of thumb--If you can picture the situation in a Dilbert comic strip you're probably doing it wrong.
 

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Back from the dead
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Around here, the only reward for hard work is more work, so the long term result is quite predictable. And my career development is definitely not a priority. It's a strange situation. Every time I want to take on a big project that could lead to career development, my boss treats it like a side project, and gives me the same amount of work I would get otherwise. I end up drowning in work, so I avoid taking on those kind of projects, and my career development suffers. Repeat. Rinse. On the other hand, I'm well paid, and I carefully control my hours so I get to spend plenty of time with my wife and kid, which is a lot more valuable to me. At my company, there's nowhere to go right now anyway. We're too small.
 

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Shirtcocker
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Chain said:
As for career development, sharpen up the resume. Nobody from within gets promoted. All new positions are hired from the outside. Some of the chosen few are given promotions, but that's just a change in title and a bigger paycheck for doing the same thing. Some do get to hire additional staff to spread their "work" around so they have time to attend more meetings.
LOL...so true. I love how all the managers fight over headcount--not that they need the people for anything specific, but without headcount they can't justify their position and salary. And then you have the disappearing budget game--use it or lose it.
 

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Clear Lake, TX
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Teh annual carrot replacement?



 
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