Understanding Your Corporate Heartbeats: The Concept of Cyclic Management
Every company has a heartbeat; it is the reoccurring managerial performance control and redirection, or simply - cyclic management. The idea of cyclic management is based on the fact that everything in a company repeats itself, from the production shift always commencing at the same time to the yearly budget being created at roughly the same time every year. Therefore, it should make perfect sense that controlling operations should also be done in a cyclic manner with set frequencies. In a perfect company, the management cycles will have a defined frequency and be performed at all levels of the organisation. In a less than perfect company, the heart beat will be irregular.
The reality is that all too many companies' hearts are skipping a beat or two. In many cases this happens at lower organisational levels where a very relaxed attitude to managing and controlling is predominant. In other words, the shift or area based managerial cycles are happening ad hoc, if at all. It often brings to mind the three wise monkeys and their mantra "See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil". In other cases, it seems that the corporate heart beats are based around the top management with lower organisational level cycles mirroring the frequency of the higher ones. In some cases the heartbeat seems to resemble one of a corpse, which can lead to a completely different set of challenges for the whole business.
On the other hand, too frequent heartbeats can also lead to problems. When management cycles happen too often, it becomes difficult to accomplish anything, both as a manager and an employee. This tires out the organisation and ensures managerial blindness as any deviations from the plan can become too small to notice.
Unfortunately too many businesses do not understand their cyclic management needs. They are constantly balancing on the verge of a heart attack. Even though most people intuitively understand the idea of cyclic management, it is never fully implemented throughout the organisation. The reasons are different; from historical "this is how we always have done it" to "my guys know what is expected from them therefore, I do not need to check up on them". However, the results are always the same: not fully delivering on expectations. Until management cycle review becomes a part of business as usual, we will continue to see companies suffering from their own heart attacks.
When did you check your corporate heartbeat last time?
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