Mobile Management – A Good Strategy or Just Disruptive?

Today’s post was written by guest blogger, Jim Atwood, Director of Government Solutions at The Ken Blanchard Companies. Jim also presented on last week’s webinar, A Situational Approach to Leadership.

Last week’s webinar on taking a situational approach to leadership created a lot of discussion around the concept of mobile management.  Several participants related to the idea and shared their experiences with mobile management within their agencies.  I am most familiar with this type of management as it relates to the military… where a leader is usually only in a particular position for 18 months to 3 years.  However, following the webinar, I received several comments about how it also is a significant issue in other government agencies as well.  It was particularly evident with leaders who are in direct political appointee positions or those who report to political appointees. 

For me, mobile management is the planned periodic rotation of managers.  I know there are a great number of positive elements that can result from a well executed mobile management plan…unfortunately I have seen very few that were either well planned or well executed.  My experience has primarily been with individuals who, knowing that their position is short-term, have made immediate large-scale organizational changes to be able to “make their mark” on the organization.  Unfortunately, it appears that often the change was only for the sake of change…to be able to say that things were different from the previous manager.    The results of many of the changes I observed were rarely to enhance mission capability for the organization as a whole and often had a negative effect.   I recall one such individual who believed in this kind of change and said, “I like to really shake things up when I arrive…change everything.  I believe that dust settles at a higher level.”  He definitely shook things up but had a negative effect on morale and commitment to the command and its mission. 

I really am hoping that my experiences are not common…that I just had the bad luck of interacting with inefficient leaders initiating ineffective change.  But are my experiences the anomaly? 

What have been your experiences with mobile management?  How big of an issue is mobile management within the government?  What positive experiences have others had…and what were the resulting effects on the organization?

If you missed the webinar on taking a situational approach to leadership, you can still listen to the recording and hear more about how to lessen the negative impact of mobile management.

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  1. #1 by Alfredo Carrera on February 8, 2012 - 11:01 am

    It is else evident in large multinationals. Mobile Management, coupled with the thrust to achieve short term results might be quite dangerous.
    Several companies rotate their international executives every three to four years. It might well be planned, but if there is not a balance between the short and long term, managers may fall into the trap of letting the end justify the means.

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