The 3 Reasons Managers May be Firefighting

Our latest research shows that firms are still sidestepping established management practices in favour of quick-fix solutions.  Why?

Often in times of increased pressure, good management practices are sacrificed at the operational level as managers struggle to meet short-term operational targets – many’s an employee review system for example fell by the wayside over the last number of years for this reason.

We have found however that the most commonly cited constraints on managers, such as the recession, employment laws or regulation can’t be blamed for the standard of management in the firm.

Instead, 3 main reasons stand out for a failure to use good practices and processes ….

1. Managers aren’t best placed to diagnose firm weaknesses – those managers responsible at a strategic and operational level can be swamped by best practice guidelines and information and are therefore often not those best placed to judge the management weaknesses of their own organisations.

2. Managers may not always make decisions based on the right information – either relevant real-time information is not available it is not used to inform decision making.

3. Managers often lack – or feel they lack – the autonomy to implement change – often resulting in deferred decisions.

So what does this mean for managers and organisations?

Firstly,  to improve performance through better management an organisation needs to know where it is relative to its competitors in terms of best practice.  Once the organisation has a picture of its strengths and weaknesses managers need to be provided with access to - and critically, be encouraged to use – relevant up to date information to make decisions on a day to day basis. Finally, for the organisation to see the benefit of evidence-based decisions managers must be empowered to make changes at the operational level based on those decisions.

Senior management may ask whether they have the time and resources needed to make a cultural shift towards evidence based diagnosis and decision-making – in other words; is it all worth it?  Our report published today highlights examples of how overcoming these 3 barriers can indeed boost company profits and overall productivity within months.

Eva Maguire is currently leading IMI’s research project into management practices and productivity which seeks to globally benchmark the management of indigenous and multinational organisations operating in Ireland.

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