DISCONNECTS BETWEEN MIDDLE AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT
A hotel chain operating in a large, midwest, metropolitan area was experiencing high turnover. In late 1989, the competitive environment in the hospitality industry was heating up, and the company had been facing challenges. Major renovations on their flagship property had recently been completed—creating a European boutique hotel theme, and a marketing program to specialize in highly personalized service, creating a retreat experience for their guests.
Dr. Raynolds and colleagues were brought in by the Director of HR to work with key managers on the development of new ideas for marketing their services in order to reach new, higher revenue targets. Two PD sessions were completed with different sets of managers from corporate, the properties, and department heads. The President and Vice-President also participated in a separate PD session. PD data was supplemented with one-on-one interview data.
In the sessions with middle management it became clear that in order to meet the new revenue objectives, attention needed to be paid to the system as a whole, as well as the overall strategic management vision. While middle managers clearly felt there was good potential, changes to the work environment were needed, including less micromanaging.
In the session with the President and Vice-President, it became clear that the President also agreed that changes were needed, but his direction for th echanges was opposite to what middle management envisioned. He felt more involvement from him was needed, while middle mangement wanted less. The Vice-President, on the other hand, did not perceive much need for change at all.
Although Dr. Raynolds’ recommendation was to revisit the overall strategic vision, paying particular attention to investing and having confidence in developing a more effective and cohesive staff, top management chose not to consider the recommendation seriously. Over the next nine months, the company saw the departure of the Dir. of HR and several other key managers, but the President reported that sales had improved and expenses had declined. Still, some of the remaining middle managers reported the quality of the working climate had deteriorated further—a result predicted by the data and discussions generated by the PD sessions.