Why is it that members of the team just nod their heads to whatever is being said? As if a Royal Proclamation is occurring, with all agreeing with the “King’s” judgments. It was a tradition in England that the King was thought to be God’s apostle on earth, and disagreement with the king was taken to be apocryphal and blasphemous.
My first project meeting at our client’s office was a good example. The technical lead of the project literally had no idea of the problems looming around the project.
One of our team members started questioning the technical lead of the project. It turned out that every other member started frowning at him and whispering in each other ears, which of course filled the whole room. One of the senior members whispered into my ear “Could you please tell him to just shut up! On whose side is he? He works for us or for the client?”
While I was watching the whole scene, I could make out that the right questions were being raised. But it proved to be a source of great discomfort for the whole team. They thought that it presented a very poor image of the firm in front of the client. Back in our office the “outlaw” (the one who confronted the technical lead) was reprimanded for his actions.
We all agree that dictatorship and authoritarianism is not good. But it’s especially bad in a group engaging in strategy formulation. Why? Many groups might engage in formulating annual budgets with inflated expenses – then the evil of budget padding would come into play. This would incentivize the group to run away from problems rather than solving them.
In many cases, speaking out of turn, encouraging debate, rethinking a strategy, is frowned upon, while maintaining the status quo is well received. But what happens to all these yes men when the dark clouds loom and the firm gets into a whirlpool of its own created problems and that were ignored?
Now the blame game starts. But nothing is to be achieved from these worthless activities.
As management accountants, and members of strategic planning teams, our code of ethics dictates that professional competence and integrity must be maintained in all situations. The code of ethics of IMA and CIMA dictate these terms and are commonplace in their curricula.
But now most firms and corporate planning members still follow the old way of thinking. We are looking forward to some change. But how soon that is difficult to say?
By MD Aslam Khan