– What happens when you do not pay your dues?

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As we enter the workforce, it is natural to be ambitious and make a name for ourselves thereby establishing credibility. This is certainly not new. However, as the Baby Boomers begin to retire, they are rapidly being replaced by Millennials, and frankly, many are not prepared.

Regardless of what they teach in the business schools, there are several nuances to assuming the role of manager. You have to have the proper social and communications skills to work with people, you should be cognizant of the corporate culture and how to manipulate it to your benefit, understanding the systems and technology of the business, and much more. This can only be learned through experience, and hopefully a mentor. Unfortunately, few companies appreciate the mentor concept and throw junior people into the breech prematurely to see who will survive. Without proper supervision, most of the junior people are doomed to failure.

A local distributor of manufacturing products recently changed their management hierarchy, demoting mature sales and administrative managers, and replacing them with people who were young enough to be their children (about 27 years old). There was a lot of unbridled enthusiasm about them, but little in terms of common sense for running a business. To illustrate, their massive warehouse had only one operable light bulb. The young administrative manager believed the landlord was responsible for replacing them, yet it was theirs to maintain. Office equipment was sorely in need of maintenance, particularly the photocopier which regularly printed fuzzy dark images on paper. Neither of the managers knew how to process a customer order electronically. Consequently, the company began to experience delays in processing. Having never performed a year-end inventory, they fudged the numbers as opposed to getting it right. And the year-end company Christmas party was a bust.

None of this was complicated, yet they lacked the experience and common sense to run the office smoothly. Not surprising, employee morale is at an all time low, and for some strange reason, their corporate managers accept their performance.

More troubling, although the juniors may possess infectious enthusiasm, their inexperience could lead the company into a lawsuit due to some unintended faux pas.

The point is, these two junior people were promoted much too fast. Instead of weaning them with a viable career path, corporate officers threw them into their new positions unexpectedly. Being impetuous, they were not interested in seeking the advice of their predecessors who were still employed by the company. The elders simply shook their head in disbelief as they watched the juniors commit one mistake after another.

This is just one instance, but I am seeing similar situations occur in other companies where junior people are asked to sink or swim in higher positions. The logic for this is bewildering to me as the productivity of such companies diminish using this approach. It is also unfair to the junior people who are put into this position and lack the maturity and experience to perform their jobs effectively.

One can only wonder, what in God’s name are they thinking at corporate?

First published: February 8, 2016

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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