Top Down Support

by Roger Pynn

Counseling a manufacturing company on a difficult marketing issue recently, I came across a reminder of how important it is for managers to support the people who work in their organizations and it reminded me of an old AT&T custom. We represented “the old AT&T” for many years and I was always fond of the way executives referred to their relationships with subordinates. A high-level executive was referred to by his or her title, “who supports a team of 60 …”

That’s a nice reminder of how important the people who work for you are.

We were working with the manufacturing company because it had a thorny issue with a marketing partner. We got to the bottom of it all when we learned that the plant executive we were counseling hadn’t caused the issue … but instead it was forced on him when his boss made a bad decision and ordered him to do something stupid – then complained about the “uncooperative” partner.

That’s kind of like throwing a torch into a gas station, handing the guy at the pump an extinguisher and complaining how hot it is.

Like a good trooper, this plant manager owned the problem, sought help, took counsel and solved the problem. It would have been a lot easier to solve if his boss “supported” him, called the partner and apologized.

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