The horse has bolted

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 1 March 2000




(2000), "The horse has bolted", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 21 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

The horse has bolted

The horse has bolted

Keywords: Motivation, Job satisfaction

A third of the UK's senior management are dissatisfied with their organisation and are likely to leave, according to the 1999 Ashridge Management Index. What they want, and what they see a significant number of their counterparts enjoying in organisations of first choice, is decisive leadership, measured in long-term strategic goals; a sense of personal responsibility and a recognition that they want to have some fun.

Where there is dissatisfaction, it is attributable to the mismatch between what individuals look for in their organisation of first choice and what organisations believe individuals want. The survey findings confirm that many organisations still rely on the antiquated "golden handcuffs" of:

  1. 1.

    job security; and

  2. 2.

    financial incentives

in startling contrast to individuals' key motivators:

  1. 1.

    challenging and interesting work; and

  2. 2.

    knowing that their decisions have an impact on the organisation.

The dissatisfaction is within those organisations that have failed to grasp that the key motivators for today's manager of first choice reflect the fundamental shift from loyalty to an organisation to loyalty to oneself. Nearly 96 per cent of managers surveyed believe their knowledge is portable. It is not surprising then, that the top four ranked motivators are developmental springboards - from challenging and interesting work to learning and developing new skills - enabling them to manage their personal development and determine their own career path.

Clearly, money is not sufficient substitute for leadership or the association with success. When asked which company they most admired, Microsoft and Virgin were most frequently named, both for their inspirational leadership and responsiveness to dynamic market environments. Sadly, only 32 per cent believed these qualities characterised their organisation.

"Today's managers are attracted to exciting, innovative, risk taking organisational cultures which blend the charisma and decisiveness of inspirational leadership with a team focused, results based meritocracy", comments Andrew Wilson, Ashridge. "In identifying the demands of today's manager, the AMI gives organisations a reality check against which to measure their marketability in an employees world."

Based on the findings of the AMI, managers' key criteria for marking out an organisation of first choice are:

  • decisive, inspirational leadership;

  • fast, proactive responsiveness to market conditions;

  • culture of innovation;

  • long-term, customer focused strategy;

  • corporate value system that recognises the individual; and

  • flexible, family friendly working arrangements.

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