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Control Middle Management

Start middle-management weight control.

Now is the time to start middle-management weight control. One means is attrition. As a job becomes vacant through retirement, death, or resignation, don’t automatically fill it. Leave jobs open for six or eight months and see what happens; unless there is an overwhelming clamor for filling the job, then abolish it. The few companies that have tried this report that about half the “vacancies” disappeared after six months. A second way to reduce middle-management bulk is to substitute job-enlargement for promotion. The one and only way to provide satisfaction and achievement for young managers and executives—and for the even younger people working under them—is to make jobs bigger, more challenging, more demanding, and more autonomous, while increasingly using lateral transfers to different assignments, rather than promotions, as a reward for outstanding performance.

Forty years ago we built into the performance review of managerial people the question, “Are they ready for promotion?” Now we need to replace that question with “Are they ready for a bigger, more demanding challenge and for the addition of new responsibilities to their existing job?”

ACTION POINT: Create a flat organization. Use information processing—its structure, its content, and its direction—to ensure that your organization is agile and effective.

The Frontiers of Management

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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