Cat and mouse

One of the managers–one of those types who likes to monologue–was telling me that when the plant manager comes to the daily meeting, everyone is posturing to make themselves look good, by making other people look worse if necessary. He said it becomes a useless meeting where everyone is tearing each other apart, and that he and other managers had tried to explain this to the plant manager.

I had to think of the time for a few months when it seemed like the plant manager had quit coming to the meetings and was no longer interested. The other managers were rarely seen, and the meeting devolved into little more than a handshake on the day’s work, with some friendly (or not so friendly) put-downs thrown in.

This is not the first time I have heard that the plant manager has no business in a meeting about the day to day operations. But I think he can only afford not to be there when someone else is going to take care of the business for him. Somehow it still seems to require the plant manager emphasizing that their are customers who want their orders shipped before people become really eager to solve problems. People may point fingers more when he is around, but they volunteer a lot more, too.

So this is when we say that the plant manager needs to work on his management team. But we say this after a year of multiple general layoffs that included the elimination of two management positions and the firing–sorry, sudden resigning–of another. And even aside from the volatility of these changes, we are speaking of the great gamble: whether you can get someone better than you have now. When ordinary budgetary approvals are going two and three levels up, and you are located far away from attractions for the business elite, it is no small thing to speak of improving the caliber of your management team.