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January 13, 2005

News & Opinion: Getting In the Way

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 6:48 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

I am often asked whether I believe business leaders deliberately get in the way of high performance. The answer to that is an emphatic no. Sometimes people are just not good managersthey dont have the rights skills to foster environments in which people can do their best work. However, a much larger problem is the effect of short-term focus on performance.
Because of market forces such as globalization and commoditization, companies feel they need to focus on the short term. Public companies have the added pressure of keeping shareholders happy. Reducing expenses, cutting staff and living quarter to quarter may drive short-term profits, but its killing high performance.
While its understandable that companies cut costs to increase profits, our research indicates that they way they are cuttingand how deep they are cutting is harming their ability to grow profitably. Instead of discussing how to solve the problem with workers, they unilaterally mandate cuts. This often demoralizes high performers and takes away the resources they need to do their best work.