They've somehow got the whole reporting thing totally 'bass ackwards!'
Think about it. In big businesses everyone except the CEO reports not to the stakeholder who matters most - the one who pays the way and has ultimate say over whether or not the company stays in business, but rather to some other employee in the same company... who in turn reports to yet another. Even the CEO, by reporting to the board/shareholders, has got it terribly wrong!
Most would agree this structure is fraught with problems, but the biggest by far is that everyone is looking in the wrong direction - face to the boss, back to the customer!
Now imagine for a moment a company where everyone reported directly to the customer. Impossible you say? Well in small businesses it happens all the time.
Take my business as an example. At Wavemaker, I report only to my customers. They and they alone provide me with direction and feedback, write my performance appraisals and determine my pay level. Furthermore, they do all this for not a penny of payment, let alone expectations of executive stock options or bonuses; and I dare say, they are a damn sight better at it than any corporate executive I've ever come across!
I'll admit, it is probably easier to organize this way if you are a sole proprietor, or in a small partnership, but who says that bigger companies couldn't do the same thing? Taking on more associates and fewer employees would seem to be a step in right direction, as would making sure everyone had some serious skin in the game (a meaningful investment in the company and compensation tied directly to results).
Taken far enough, my bet is productivity would soar and there would no longer be the need for all of those cumbersome and expensive employee evaluation, compensation, engagement and retention programs, let alone for all the managers and supervisors required to administer them.
And, in answer to the question "but what would we do with all of those good folk?" while numerous possibilities come to mind, maybe we should start by having them all turn around... and face the customer.
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