I know some of you are already thinking about Bottom-up drowning? Not really an issue, when the bottoms are up, drowning is complete. A better thought is likely to be: “How decisions at the top can kill those at the bottom”
We learned from the Titanic that an “unsinkable” ship can very quickly become a sinking ship as a result of greed and wrong decisions at the command centre. Today’s command & control companies are thus high risk places. Over a period of time we have centralized more-and-more into these corporate status towers and in the process those living in them became removed from reality; they know less-and-less about what is really happening out there. In most command centres we only know what the “committee” tells us and we all know that most (risk-and other) reports go through a process of “sanctification”—they get better the higher they go!
Communication and reporting is often so bad that the command centre does not even know that people are in the water and busy drowning; let alone that there are way too few lifeboats and losses are unavoidable. But we challenge reporting in our Board Meetings! Great, challenge is good, but the internal business battles between the subcultures distort reporting and these wars can destroy the corporation. These are not the office punks, rockers and skaters who recently joined the workforce; these are the HR-people, the Finance-people, The IT-people, the Auditors and so on… The subculture with the most flamboyant leader generally gets the most air-time and the biggest slice of the cake as they are perceived to be carrying the whole cake.
Some greedy, bad captains cling to power until they go down with the ship; or get kicked-off (sometimes this happens way too late); whereas others jump ship first, survive and move on to another ship as a hero. When all is submerged and casualties are floating around, the vultures and treasure hunters come.
Finally, back to bottom-up drowning: Yes, that is possible, but normally only in cases of civil unrest; lately these are multiplied in size and speed by social media. So, if you are not the “commander” of a country, don’t worry about this one, worry about the top down one only.
Never forget that part of commanding is also how you lead & treat those whom you command!
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