Are your Managers Extinct?

By Simon Thorpe, Leadership coach, Expressions

According to overwhelming research over a great many surveys executed over a number of years the vast majority of managers never received any structured development either via course attendance, formal qualification, or by being involved in a mentoring relationship. Whilst experience is a great lesson the fees tends to be very high.

For the minority of managers who have been involved in some kind of development this tends to have been a number of years ago. In fact, a survey of over 87,000 establishments in 2012 by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills found that less than half of managers had received any training in the previous twelve months.

Let’s review the requirements of the modern manager. To do this we must focus on the current climate and the pace of change to deliver a degree of sustainability of managerial performance.

What do your customers expect from you and your organisation? In any organisation consider your customers, whether commercial retail business, an NHS trust or a school, there are always customers.

How fit are you to deliver what they expect in the current climate?

Take 5 established businesses that have recently ceased trading or they are in the process of administration.

  • Comet
  • Clinton Cards
  • HMV
  • Jessops
  • Blockbusters

I recently asked a Management Academy group to identify the common denominator in their demise. The resounding response was “the Internet”!

Whilst you would think this was correct it is in fact merely the vehicle that transported them to their demise. The actual answer is the unwillingness to adapt to the evolving consumer climate.

Just consider for a moment the customer journey at any one of these commercial outlets where consumers visited one of their stores. Factors worth considering are as follows;

  • inconvenience of time, hassle, travel etc
  • added costs for travel, parking and postage (in the case of Clinton Cards)
  • unit costs (where retailers did not price match)

Now consider what these organisations could have done to avoid their demise. Was it case of inability, or unwillingness?

Are senior managers leading their organisations by navigating the landscape with an eye on the horizon or are they busy managing the day to day mode of travel? Are middle managers actually driving performance for the people to deliver the results, or are they treading water trying to contribute through individual performance?

Regardless of size all organisations need skilled, pragmatic managers focusing ON as well as IN their business. Chance are what managers learned all those years ago when they attended a one hit wonder course or they covered this in one of their college or university modules has been superseded by different demands in a shifting human market.

Some of what was learned may still be accurate and helpful in the modern era, but with a new generation entering the employment market and the rapidly increasing changes to communication practises as well as the moving trends of consumer behaviour are your managers extinct ?












Charles Darwin

Dinosaurs couldn’t survive due to their inability to adapt. Managers have the ability (through focused development), but often lack the willingness. By continuously improving their managerial performance through education, development, knowledge management and a genuine desire to progress those who will survive are not the strongest, or the most intelligent, but those most able and willing to adapt.

Based on feedback and experience here are some of the behaviours modern managers require to compete.


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