Who needs a manager anyway?
I was enjoying my Bank Holiday weekend with a copy of a well known news magazine. One of features I idly flicked through was an interview with the new CEO of Ford, a guy called Alan Mulally who was credited with turning the car company around and taking Toyota’s place at the top of the US car market (I’m not sure the dodgy break pedals didn’t have an impact!)
Mr Mulally, as Chief Executive, was credited with being the driving force behind turning Ford around.
But, that is the private sector and in the public sector we don’t necessarily see things that way. A few weeks ago one of my fellow bloggers mused that possibly local politicians were realising the value of high paid senior managers by awarding them above average pay rises and then defending them in the local newspapers.
This may have been the case in some London Boroughs but apparently in Whitehall the feeling is not shared.
This past week Mr Pickles, our esteemed Secretary of State commented that he was not really sure what Chief Executives did and felt that the Leader of the Council could do a similar role and possibly do it better. (Whether Mr Pickles also believes his Permanent Secretary doesn’t do anything worthwhile is an interesting question)
My sense is that Mr Pickles was commenting on those Chief Executives of smaller councils; many of which are already considering sharing their Chief Executives or in some cases letting the Leader run things for a short period whilst they find a new Chief Executive.
However, even with that caveat, how is it that we have lost so much faith in the value of leadership and management that we now don’t think we need a Chief Executive to run the council. I’m not the biggest fan of many of the Chief Executives I’ve come across but that doesn’t mean I want to get rid of them; it just means I want them to be better, work harder and to show more leadership.
Eric Pickles seems to like abolishing things rather than fix them; first the Audit Commission and now over 400 Chief Executives. What next, rather than just remove Fabio Capello for England being rubbish let’s eliminate the post of England Manager and let the players work it out? Or rather than get rid of the chef from his local pub, let’s abolish the post of head chef and let the diners work it out as they come in?
I’m starting to get a little concerned…