Loose-tight Management

In an article in Time magazine (19 Dec 2011), reporter Bill Saporito discusses the management style of Sergio Marchionne, boss of Chrysler, Fiat, and Fiat Industrial:

Sergio Marchioone, Boss of Chrysler and Fiat

. . . Marchionne brings an analytical ability that allows him to drill down to the smallest detail of manufacturing or even advertizing.  At the same time, he is blind to rank and open to new ideas, no matter where they come from.  “We flattened the organization out.  We reached out and brought people on the management team who had been buried underneath the classical hierarchy of corporate America,” says Marchionne.  “They were given an opportunity to play.  These are people who had been two or three layers down from the senior leadership.”

It’s sometimes known as loose-tight management, meaning that Marchionne is also unforgiving in holding people accountable for executing their ideas.  “It’s pretty intense, because he questions–and again, rightfully so–and there are times when you think you’re so prepared and ready and he’ll bring [up] something completely [different] that you weren’t thinking of,” says Laura Soave, a bright young marketing executive who was in charge of the Fiat 500’s American introduction until Marchionne moved her out for not moving fast enough to establish a new Fiat-dealer network.

That’s Marchionne’s MO:  give people all the rope they need and then yank it if he has to.  Or maybe even if he doesn’t.

And Saporito continues:  “. . . An unabashed Apple admirer, Marchionne has the Steve Jobs gift of absolute focus.”

The federal agency I work for could certainly use some “flattening” of its organization.  In the meantime, manager will hopefully drill down.

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