“Working Towards”

As I said on Twitter*, yesterday was the first time I ran down the battery on my current phone.
As you will see from yesterdays posts, most of that traffic was from nervous firms having (unnecessary) battles with the LSC.
In the two linked posts I essentially take a swipe at the current culture at the LSC and, obliquely, at the fact that there can probably be no bigger misnomer in current LA parlance than “Relationship Manager”. You may well remember that this rename of your Account/Liaison Manager was coined during the ill fated Preferred Supplier Pilot Scheme. You may also recall that these people were going to be the LSC’s most able and highly trained staff who would have a positive impact upon the future of your business. In the US, MBA inspired BS of the time they were going to be “Can Do” people able to communicate at the highest level of your organisation.
In the current climate this has been translated into; your RM “Can Do” exactly what s/he wants. This regularly without reference to Contract and certainly without recourse to any measure of reasonableness. Do I do a disservice to all RMs? Probably, however when you see people you respect behaving in this way one does become more inclined to make these claims more catchall. There are however good people at the LSC, as I always try and point out, some who buck this trend, other who do not.
This morning I read this, by Deborah Orr. It captures my explanation for the above, better than the clumsy attempts I’ve made over the years. Now obviously I make no direct comparisons between News International and the LSC, and am nervous about hyperbole, however the actions of RMs do have significant, negative impact upon firms. (No shopping list of woe follows so as to keep this measured, and for brevity).
Most compelling in Orr’s article is the concept of “working towards”, which she credits to historian Ian Kershaw. This, in summary, involves an organisational culture in which policies are formulated without any consideration other than how they will play to superiors. In our context I extend this to the conduct of the, largely unregulated, assessment processes currently being undertaken, and the general day-to-day cut and thrust of “relationship management”.
In summary. Your RM is not concerned about their relationship with you but rather is “working towards” an unseen superior.
Unfair? You be the judge but it is a more persuasive explanation that the mad or bad alternative suggested yesterday.
*(Yes join in, follow us, I am starting to believe there might be something in it)

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