The problems of dynasty

The problems of dynasty
Why strategies of change, leadership and organisation structure are highly important once power has been consolidated.
EARLY DAYS
Having been put in power, the leader is first given a period of grace. This is as much to find his or her feet as it is not to embarrass those that put the leader there or for rivals to identify their attack. With the first few challenges comes the risk and therefore the opportunity to define the leadership. Problems will always crop up, and the more successfully dealt with by the leader, the more people they will sink into the subconscious. The leader therefore needs a goal that is easily marketed and that will define the strategy of the group as well as come to judge the legacy of that time. It is critical to get everyone “on message” but more critical to get it to succeed, as any sign of failure will become a brickbat to be used against the leader.
ENTRENCHED LEADERS
When a leader has seen off more than one considerable challenge and the viewpoint of rivals is not considered, one can consider that entrenched leadership. Everyone is on message. Everything runs smoothly. The leader’s wish is a mission statement and makes things happen. This has to coincide with a period of stability in the environment. Very few dynasties have been forged in unstable times unless that has been of their own making. The markets have to be stable, the city has to peaceful, the company has to be growing.
RIVALS
There are not often rivals to leaders in an organisation, but they are rife at the executive level (political level) and at the operational management level (merit level). Internal conflict can be positive but when one explores the nature of employees who leverage political power one gets to the logical conclusion that the best ideas and people do not rise to the top. It is argued that those who implement best rise to the top instead although I posit that those implemenations are, again, accomplished through personal political relationships and not rational business processes and practices.
STRUCTURE
The organisation begins along functional lines which is easier for the leader to manage. The leader will be behaving tactically and therefore needs vertical chains of command. Over time, this silo structure develops into a divisional structure to adapt to markets and operational requirements speedier. The division may also become an asset or a dog that the leader can sell off without disruption to the rest of the organisation. The leader can then pull back and adapt a strategical approach.
WHEN THE LEADER DOES NOT PULL BACK
If he or she chooses to micro-manage and the market is stable or favourable, then the window of innovation and strategic forecasting can not occur because the second tier of management is behaving tactically and the third tier of management operationally. No-one is thinking strategically which is a problem. In an unstable market it is more forgiving although when the leader has a council of between 10 and 20 members and the organisation is rife with “dotted lines”, execution can only happen slowly.
In unstable times (recession, need to diversify, external change) the leader requires management to think differently. But they cannot as they have been solidified into silo mode. Those who desired change have probable left the organisation. The leader has only tactical tools to address a large strategic problems. The consequences can be identified in:
executive level managers stay because they smell change at the top which could be beneficial to them
groupthink is endemic
middle managers need to load-balance between directionless employees and a tactical leader
thought-leaders are entertained as they appear to bring strategy, but the executive level snuff the threat
the leader sees the divisions as assets and is undecided which to sell and which to consolidate around
market share is lost
talk of a management buy-out increases. The leader does not deny this as it provides an exit strategy
a problem arises, operational or environmental, as they always do. This time the response is weakened and everyone does notice.
the only thing worse than groupthink, randomthink, now occurs as distrust has pervaded all levels of decision-making
What tends to happen after this is a visceral call is made to retreat to a defensible position. Divisions are culled and the core is defended, even if it is in a declining market. Why? Becauses goodwill exists with the brand and it can carry the organisation for a few years as it diminishes. Attack always wins over defence, and the organisation can only defend and therefore must lose.
Why strategies of change, leadership and organisation structure are highly important once power has been consolidated by a leader. While stability in the organisation and environment are key they are largely uncontrollable factors by the time of ascension.

EARLY DAYS
Having been put in power, the leader is first given a period of grace. This is as much to find his or her feet as it is not to embarrass those that put the leader there or for rivals to identify their attack. With the first few challenges comes the risk and therefore the opportunity to define the leadership. Problems will always crop up and the more successfully dealt with by the leader, the more people they will sink into the subconscious. The leader therefore needs a goal that is easily marketed and that will define the strategy of the group as well as come to judge the legacy of that time. It is critical to get everyone “on message” but more critical to get it to succeed, as any sign of failure will become a brickbat to be used against the leader.

ENTRENCHED LEADERS
When a leader has seen off more than one considerable challenge and the viewpoint of rivals is not considered, one can consider that entrenched leadership. Everyone is on message. Everything runs smoothly. The leader’s wish is a mission statement and makes things happen. This has to coincide with a period of stability in the environment. Very few dynasties have been forged in unstable times unless that has been of their own making. The markets have to be stable, the city has to peaceful, the company has to be growing.

RIVALS
There are not often rivals to leaders in an organisation, but they are rife at the executive level (political level) and at the operational management level (merit level). Internal conflict can be positive but when one explores the nature of employees who leverage political power one gets to the logical conclusion that the best ideas and people do not rise to the top. It is argued that those who implement best rise to the top instead although I posit that those implemenations are, again, accomplished through personal political relationships and not rational business processes and practices.

STRUCTURE
The organisation begins along functional lines which is easier for the leader to manage. The leader will be behaving tactically and therefore needs vertical chains of command. Over time, this silo structure develops into a divisional structure to adapt to markets and operational requirements speedier. The division may also become an asset or a dog that the leader can sell off without disruption to the rest of the organisation. The leader can then pull back and adapt a strategical approach.

WHEN THE LEADER DOES NOT PULL BACK
If he or she chooses to micro-manage and the market is stable or favourable, then the window of innovation and strategic forecasting can not occur because the second tier of management is behaving tactically and the third tier of management operationally. No-one is thinking strategically which is a problem. In an unstable market it is more forgiving although when the leader has a council of between 10 and 20 members and the organisation is rife with “dotted lines”, execution can only happen slowly.

In unstable times (recession, need to diversify, external change) the leader requires management to think differently. But they cannot as they have been solidified into silo mode. Those who desired change have probable left the organisation. The leader has only tactical tools to address a large strategic problems. The consequences can be identified in:

  1. executive level managers stay because they smell change at the top which could be beneficial to them
  2. groupthink is endemic
  3. middle managers need to load-balance between directionless employees and a tactical leader
  4. thought-leaders are entertained as they appear to bring strategy, but the executive level snuff the threat
  5. the leader sees the divisions as assets and is undecided which to sell and which to consolidate around
  6. market share is lost
  7. talk of a management buy-out increases. The leader does not deny this as it provides an exit strategy
  8. a problem arises, operational or environmental, as they always do. This time the response is weakened and everyone does notice the failure
  9. the only thing worse than groupthink, randomthink, now occurs as distrust has pervaded all levels of decision-making

What tends to happen after this is a visceral call is made to retreat to a defensible position. Divisions are culled and the core is defended, even if it is in a declining market. Why? Becauses goodwill exists with the brand and it can carry the organisation for a few years as it diminishes. Attack always wins over defence, and the organisation can only defend and therefore must lose.

About Derek

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