There is an interesting lesson about management intensions at the Management Skills Blog.   It serves as a good example of how management teams act like cartels (if you use my analysis approach):


Noble Intentions

Thu, May 14th, 2009 by Tom Foster

In 1948, in London, Elliott began to work closely with the Glacier Metals Company, a manufacturer of precision steel ball bearings. It was a company of some size and technical complication, with different departments, a complement of engineers, a management team and a president named Wilfred Brown.

Like most companies, each week or so, a high level meeting took place, called the Management Team Meeting. It was Wilfred’s intention to purposefully build his executive team by including them in on the company’s largest problems to be solved and decisions to be made.

The executive team responded with enthusiasm to be included in such important activities. By harnessing all the brain power in that room, certainly, they could tackle the toughest challenge and make the best decisions.

The intentions were noble.

As time went by, however, the productivity of the group began to wear thin. In their efforts to reach consensus, to be cooperative and supportive, to be the team they intended to be, the pace began to slow. Discussions became arguments, agendas became political, quid pro quo became active.

And then, the unthinkable. The group would finally arrive at its decision and Wilfred Brown, the President, would invoke his veto.

– from Management Skills Blog ‘Noble Intentions’

My comments are:

The problem is the concept of the ‘management team’ itself.

In my analysis a management team is a cartel!

Which means that when a management team come to agreement – meaning they come to agreement on the value of certain actions and decide the most appropriate action based on their combined assessment of the value of each alternative action – then they are in fact breaking the ‘price system’.

In a real cartel this means they agree on a price, bypassing the price system, and hurting consumers.

In the ‘management team’ cartel they are agreeing on the next action, bypassing the planning process, and hurting capabilities (and consumers).

I’m interested to see how this lesson plays out at Management Skills.