Jul 25, 2012
Kenneth Verlage

Full speed to nowhere

Way back the company where i worked was joined by a former Scandinavian Airlines Executive. After a few weeks on the job he came to me all agitated and said “Kenneth, i have never before been in a place where everyone are running like frantics, but getting nowhere.” After he left i realized i just learned a powerful lesson in management – the actual essence of management – to aim all the energy of an organisation in the same direction.

A few years and jobs later a new strong and very experienced Canadian was taking over as director for the division where i was a part. He blew us away – here was clearly a man with visions and understanding of our situation. He put up an impressive program of meetings, one to ones and even regular training sessions with some of us. He gave clear targets and a common goal to us all. And then he disappeared. Never to be seen again. Figure of speech.
What happened was that we had operational problems in Spain, big ones. He went there, only to get his left boot stuck in the muddy details of reality. Soon he was down to his chin and totally absorbed by the Spanish mud. And forever.
I realised after a while this a classic. Are there ANY manager out there who haven’t fallen into the mudpit of reality after making a grand entrance into a new job? I sure have.

So what have i learned? I’m just entering my new directors job at PostNord. Grand entrance done even if i have tried to play it down as much as I could. As a starter I think its essential to manage expectations. Just like companies outside your own tends to look scary, bigger, better and more solid than you own from afar – the same can be true for newcomers from external companies. So i need to get close fast.

And keep that speed right trough the whole program. Get everyone aboard the bus, drive like crazy, brake for no one and stick to the blacktop!


1 Comment

  • Great post, however, I think it’s fine being in the mudpits sometimes. Sometimes you SHOULD be in the mudpits. As long as you’re aware of that it’s only temporary and there’s a whole bunch of mudpits you’re responsible for. And expectations, it’s probably the most underestimated tool available in the toolbox. Expectations can be the difference between utter failure and success…

    And good luck!

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