Take me to your Leader!
Have you ever watched a movie where in an opening scene, a Martian lands on Earth and the first words out of its mouth are "Take me to your leader"? - Of course you have. Even fluorescent-green Martians, new to the planet, know who they should talk to. They understand that on Planet Earth, humans have always given the ultimate power to the one individual they refer to as "our fearless leader". Martians know enough not to ask to speak to a Tactical Manager or an Operational Manager, they land their flying saucers and immediately demand to speak to the top dog- the CEO, the Commander in Chief, the Leader!
Of course we have never witnessed an effective takeover by Martians who have used this approach, as even the cleverest Martians have fallen short. But what if they changed their strategy? Rather than starting at the top, they instead, began at the bottom of the managerial food chain, approaching the Operational Managers first. How would this approach change their ability to understand our planet, our culture, and possibly assist them in mounting an effective corporate takeover?
Operational Managers often referred to as Front-Line Managers, supervise the activities in a corporation and are the link between management and non-management personnel. They are on the production room floor, getting their hands dirty, interacting directly with the largest number of people in their corporations. They are the working leaders, the ones that know the most about daily activities and witness first-hand, employee resistance to change. They report these results directly to their superiors, the Tactical Managers. These middle managers report to Top-Level Managers who depend on this feedback to perform SWOT Analysis, evaluating the organization's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in order to formulate strategies and make on-the-fly corrections.
Although leaders formulate an organization's vision from the top-down, it is the effective followers who have the responsibility of carrying out the organization's mission on the production floor. If the Martians in question were non-violent and came to Earth with the sole intention of completing just one mission- the take over of the leadership positions in several major corporations, would they not be wise to attempt to start the process democratically by enticing the majority of employees with a new mission statement and a different corporate culture, ones they might readily embrace? A takeover using this tactic would appear to be most effective utilizing a bottom-up approach; win over the "hands on people", giving those at the bottom of the corporation a new business portfolio, one they can truly believe in. Create an innovative mission statement; one with vision that could sway the Operational Managers who have the most contact and influence on the non-managerial employees who are in the greatest number.
Smart Martians looking to takeover the leadership roles in major corporations would begin by attacking the organization's weaknesses. They might start by diagnosing the organization's culture, listening to employee's stories, learning what activities are rewarded, identifying obstacles to change, and by studying the organization's mission statement. By determining what kind of culture the organization is presently functioning under: group, hierarchical, rational, or adhocracy, they might then be able to determine their best options and the most effective direction to take in order to secure the most promising future for the greatest number of people.
Perhaps current leadership has been nurturing a Hierarchical culture for a long time, utilizing a Warrior Leader who is outspoken, frank, self-important, strong, and focuses on control and stability only, sending employee moral plummeting. If after performing an external audit, the Martians feel radical change is the most effective option, they may offer an Adhocracy, a culture antonymous to bureaucracy that emphasizes change, growth, and innovation where Participate Leaders are flexible, take risks, are team oriented, and seek a balance of power and input. With this as their strategy; changing the corporation's culture from the bottom-up by introducing an acceptable, but radical change; they may put themselves in a better position for a take-over than if they had attempted an approach that involved top level executives, who's job it is to establish a mission, create both vision and other strategic goals, but are fewer in number and lacking the hands-on experience of front-liners.
Competing with top-level executives at their level, but from a different direction (bottom-up), the Martians will be able to challenge existing leadership without interference. Operational managers, with their use of concurrent control and frequent interaction monitoring operations on the production floor, would be instrumental in assisting the Martians in accomplishing their goals. Although limited in power, Operational Managers have the ability to influence others, making them valuable assets to the Martians.
At one point, a Martian Transformational Leader with passion and the ability to transform a vision into reality, one that can motivate others to put aside personal interests for the good of the organization, must step forward. Not too unlike human leadership, this leader must be able to communicate the corporation’s vision, build trust through the use of superior verbal skills, and be capable of moving a company from its present reality to some preferred state. The characteristics of great leaders, even those who are fluorescent-green and from Mars, are similar in any organization. Being able to influence others to attain goals, great leaders secure many effective followers, without whom effective leadership is not possible.
Once the Martian leader is able to make believers of the Operational Managers and non-managerial employees by introducing a new corporate mission statement and a different and more acceptable culture, the timing would be right to complete a leadership takeover, bottom-up. Once complete, the new leadership could perform management audits, evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of their newly implemented culture.
By setting up strategic control systems, the Martians will be able to measure and monitor how well the earthlings are responding to change. By minimizing organizational conflict and by building productive relationships based on trust and mutual respect, corporations that are Martian-owned may stay that way for a very long time.
Not too far off in the near future you may hear a fluorescent-green Martian on the big screen who has just stepped out of his or her flying saucer finally say, "Take me to your Operational Manager!"