ByMargaret Heffernan Article
” Power is the ability to get things done. You could say that management is the art of ensuring that things get done. Yet what’s so striking about most organizations is that so little management is effective.
That’s what academics Heike Bruch and the late Sumantra Ghoshal discovered when they investigated what they called “decisive purposeful action.” Most companies, far from being hives of busy, effective executives, could instead be seen as “a few isolated islands of action amid an ocean of inaction,” the researchers found. Does this ring any bells? It certainly reminded me of many places I’ve worked — and run — where a small number of people always seemed to be doing the majority of work that mattered.
Bruch and Ghoshal’s study quantified my impression. “What we found in our research surprised us,” the authors write. “Only about 10 percent of the managers took purposeful action.” The remainder were busy, just not very effective: 40 percent were energetic but unfocused; 30 percent had low energy, little focus and tended to procrastinate; and 10% were focused, but not very energetic.
No wonder most businesses are so unproductive. What all of this suggests (and there’s plenty of other supporting evidence), is that we waste most of the human resources we hire.”