“Management’s where it’s at—power, prestige, money.” Paul MacKinley’s words to Rafferty Goldstone set the stage for this case. A company’s managers personify its values and norms. At Bulwark Securities, those values and norms are troublesome and woven with inconsistencies.
At management orientation, the trainers—including the CEO—talk theory but not application. They don’t teach any specific skills. The human resources staff plays an administrative role rather than a strategic one. How can Bulwark claim that management development is important if its training session doesn’t even touch on the practicalities of being a manager? Executives from the CEO down consider the hefty policy manual their bible. If it’s so important, why is it a “parting gift” at the end of orientation week? MacKinley hounds Goldstone the sales rep about his quotas and compliance. Yet, in a postcard, he urges Goldstone the manager to concentrate on people development. No wonder the guy doesn’t understand. Gloria Ludlow lays down the law about Goldstone’s responsibilities and says his priority should be developing his people. Then she cuts him loose. He doesn’t react well. It’s no surprise, then, that Goldstone later issues “commandments” at his own sales meeting—which he calls, sadly, because he has something to prove—and is rebuffed.
Successful organizations often mishandle how they develop their people, and Bulwark is a classic example. The purported philosophy of management at Bulwark is not evident anywhere in its actual day-to-day business. In fact, Bulwark’s sink-or-swim management training system is no system at all. Goldstone is only one symptom of a larger management problem at Bulwark....