Magazine article Management Today

Don't You Believe It ... No Surprises

Magazine article Management Today

Don't You Believe It ... No Surprises

Article excerpt

Many bosses adhere to the maxim that they 'don't want any surprises' from their team - you may even have said it yourself. It sounds reasonable enough, except that the world simply doesn't work like that. There will always be surprises, and attempts to deny this reality can create a whole range of dysfunctional behaviours. Here are some of the worst.

Small surprises get bigger if suppressed. I once knew a management team tasked with merging two nearby manufacturing operations. They weren't really up to the job and needed to get help. Cost? Maybe pounds 150,000 But the group CEO was very much of the 'no surprises' school, so the managers couldn't signal their distress. When it finally saw the light of day, this small surprise had grown much bigger - it cost pounds 5m to fix and damaged customer relationships for at least a year.

It takes time and effort to avoid surprises. Time and effort that isn't being spent making sales, designing new products or raising quality. …

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