My VP is obsessively data-driven to an extreme micro-level.
He’ll want 50 calls from each Rep, and if each Rep makes 50 calls, he’ll look at the time the calls were made, and if the time of the calls look okay he’ll look at the average time on each call, and if that is okay he’ll look look to see what the phone number was. Each step of the way, he’ll ask me to explain anything he thinks is askew (“Why didn’t Susan call anyone after 3:35 yesterday?”) as though there is nothing I have to do than other ensure my team is calling the right phone number at 4:58 PM.
In fact, 3 of my last 4 VPs have been this way. But what’s worse, is my current SVP and our CEO are this way too. What’s most interesting though, is none of them will endorse a stragegy or provide a strategy. They literally want everything done at once, no exceptions, beacuse it’s as simple as waving a magic wand. If a stretch sales growth is 25% in a saturated market, they’ll want 50% month over month growth, but then also want 100% customer retention and all the awful operations issues that surface because while the ship is leaking and the oarsmen are rowing in different directions they are too busy studying their reports and yelling at each individual instead of actually getting up on the mast and taking command. Oh, and by the way, if life gets in the way — such as a critical illness strikes our Top Producing AE — there is no buffer.
A good leader takes command. They point to one person and say, “Johnson, grab two guys and fix the mast.” Then the next and say, “Michaels, you can’t row everywhere at once, get all your folks heading due west!” and so on. What micromanagers do is yell at each individual (“Johnson, your oarsmen made only 35 strokes yesterday, they need to make 50 strokes per day”) and want all the shores reached at once, but literally do not lead the people there.They live in their ivory tower, safely behind their data, without a clue of what to do or how to do it, and no bigger picture wisdom.
There was a time when it was stressful to be a Leader with no vision. But then someone in the 80s and 90s invented Dashboards and so-called Business Intelligence, and suddenly these managers had data to focus on. Corporate America conquered the world begining in the 1890s (long before corporate scorecards), but in the past decade we’ve lost ground – I can’t imagine that the timing with data management is coincidental.
Yes, it is a dream era for the manager who doesn’t know what they are doing.