In ALL THE MOVING PARTS, ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT, there is extensive discussion of the role of bosses – that is, the role of those who head organizations – and their possession of and use of knowledge.
This is a skill set that is particularly important at a time when proficiency with the skill of organizational change management is so central to the need for effective organizational change in companies. All those individuals who are tapped to manage large organizations in the current age have a vast storehouse of knowledge. How that knowledge is used becomes a feature that is central to the success or failure of the CEO and others in the management ranks. The WSJ ran a recent article entitled, “Know-it-all Bosses Have a Lot to Learn.” Personally, I don’t know any high-ranking people like that in organizations – the CEO clients that we work with have been well-schooled in making it a practice to garner information and support from those in their organization. It’s part of the work that goes on in setting out successful strategic systems building and in maintaining those through the intricacies of organizational change. But it’s possible that, earlier in their management careers, our clients were prone to try to appear as though they had all the answers. A current CEO is cited in the article as stating that he “used to pretend I had all the answers so I wouldn’t appear vulnerable.” He advanced to senior management in his 20s and became the wonder kid; his decisions always right. “I actually believed that I knew it all.”
The complexity of the global operations of large corporations make it impossible, today, to fake flawless, unlimited knowledge on the part of the CEO – or most other management personnel, for that matter. Every CEO certainly does know a lot – and that generally is, just by the nature of his position, far more than anyone else in the company knows – about the functioning of the organization, that is. There will be those who work for the CEO who have special caches of knowledge, say, for example, in the field of engineering or technology. But, that, after all, is why the CEO has hired them – so that their knowledge can be shared or applied to the given challenges of the moment. We encourage our CEO clients to understand the need and foster the free-flowing environment where knowledge is shared, for the greater good of the organization. When knowledge is hoarded, or withheld, that action impacts all those in the organization. But the ability to accommodate that appropriate sharing of knowledge is a management talent unto itself. Not all bosses do this successfully – but, typically, those who actually want this sort of accommodative organizational environment can make it happen.
Where are you on the continuum – ? If you are unsure, you might want to take a look at Change Strategists’ “Management Self-Assessment” on the website, www.changestrategists,com.