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The Seven Fatal Management Sins Published: Sunday, August 2, 1998 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

A profound review of current research, the results of thousands of focus groups exercises, as well as the results of many comprehensive surveys of experts present a less than complimentary picture of the managerial capacity to manage change and transformation. The evidence clearly shows that many of those who are managing organizations can do better and still have much to learn. Of course, those organizations have plenty of bright people to lead and to manage. Reality is that there are plenty of intelligent of people out there. What is lacking, in many of our professionals, is the new knowledge and mind-set that are needed to make people effective in changing times.

We need people who take care of organizations in a new professional way, that is, professing the new knowledge base that can enhance performance. This is the point of John Collis in a candid assessment of today’s managers The Seven Fatal Management Sins. By examining the responses of Presidents and CEOs, Directors of Boards, Business School Deans, Business School Professors, Union Presidents, Business News Editors and other Managers, this piece of research identifies seven propositions for understanding and avoiding organizational failures and managerial malpractice. The core argument is that there are a number of identifiable behaviors and attitudes of conventional managerial practice, which in the long run can severely and adversely cause harm to organizations. These cardinal negative behaviors are integrated into the concept of fatal sins. Committing one or more in a sustained manner can produce serious damage to the institution or to the careers of people. In many cases the damage can be fatal.

The Seven Fatal Management Sins are:

  • the character flaw, meaning the erosion of trust and integrity;
  • blind ambition, focusing more on managing own career than managing the organization;
  • short-term scare mentality, which is enjoying crisis and survival as a simplistic fix;
  • indecisiveness as to when and who decides;
  • blurred focus signifying lack of understanding of the meaning of a true vision;
  • employees always perceived as an expense and not an investment; and
  • managing unchecked, that is, lack of real accountability pressure.

We have helped hundreds of organizations to overcome such fatal sins, whereby they are transforming themselves into truly knowledge organizations. This process is one of recognizing the importance of new knowledge regarding the way of doing things around organizations and leveraging its intellectual capital and intelligence assets, both internally and externally. The end result is better informed, educated and servicing organizations whereby lessons learned, best practices, expertise and the necessary knowledge is transfer adequately to employees, management, stakeholders, and customers.


Copyright 1998 QBS, Inc.
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