Why Does Management Crap Happen?” Part I


This is not a ranting about my work. although I must admit that I got the inspiration to write this based on my observations at work over the last few weeks.

As I write this, yes my project, like many other “thousands” I hear from my fellow consulting colleagues is in a mess. And because we carry the immaculate title “CONSULTANT”, we’re supposed to be the experts in fixing things and cleaning messes.

Heh, I sometimes think the word “professional cleaners” or “waste disposal experts” would be perfect monikers for Consultants, because in essence that’s what we are sometimes.

But I don’t want to talk about “10 top ways to clean Management’s Problems” or expound on ” Best practices for handling Management Crap”. I want to bypass the immaculate an inmortal consultants and go directly to the souce

“Why does Management Crap happen in the first place”

I will admit, I’ve only been slighly more than 2 years in the workplace. While I may sound callow with my thoughts, I feel I must still try to explain this topic. At least it’ll be refreshing to hear this from a junior employee. 😛

How does crap come in the first place? Take any projects that you know; why is there so much problem when it comes to a project? I honestly do not know whether some of my colleagues take time to reflect on this; I’m pretty sure majority would just go with the flow and treat it as part of “the project life cycle”.

But is it really? Granted every project has it sets of challenges, but crap is different from a challenge. A challenge is a situation where it has the potential to impede the project, or the problem itself is in it’s infancy stages.

Crap on the other hand is the result of mismanagement, poor decision making and judgement, and a lack of governance. Crap is the corollary of the set of challenges that arises and is poorly addressed and manage.  The unique attribute about crap is that it only flourishes after a certain period of time. It’s not felt or known until then. You could liken crap to a smelly flower. So long the foul-smelling flower doesn’t bloom, you can’t detect it’s stench, even though you do know it’s the type of flower which will produce a foul scent when it blooms. Rather than “nipping the bud”, you choose to ignore it.

“Ahh it hasn’t still bloomed yet”

“Maybe it won’t bloom, so why worry?”

“We’ll nip the bud later” (but that later doesn’t come)

One of my senior project executives from my previous company once made this observing comment

“We’re operating in a reactive culture, we should instead be operating in a proactive culture”

Words of wisdom? Bah, what if I told you that that “sage” seem-like observation is actually in one of the most famous best-selling self-help books in the market?

Don’t believe me? Go ahead and google Habit # 1 in the 7 habits of Highly effective people

What really irks me the most, is not so much that people make mistakes. Like I said, every project has it’s challenges; with almost absolute certainty, given the fact that we co-exists with others in our environment, there is bound to be problems in every project.

However the the problem that really gets to me is the notion that some people never learn.  It’s very disheartening in some ways to know that these people who make these mistakes (of overlooking potential land mines,  excercising poor judgement, and at times not behaving as a project sponsor or director) are well beyond their forties. These are seasoned individuals who have been in the working world long enough to know  how projects work, the potential pitfalls in a project.

I might be demonstrating my “callowness” when I say this, but I personally believe that every project has a substantial chance of being properly implemented and executed, given the right “conditions”.

And when I say conditions, I am not referring to an “idllyic ” scenario. I’m well aware the world is flawed, or in some situations, overtly flawed. But I believe in the power of the individual.  In fact, my experience in many projects, if anything, has strengthened my belief in the power of the individual.

But that’s where the “crap” begins in the first place, in the minds, souls and bodies of these “crap” individuals.

More on this in part II

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