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The Ivory Tower Syndrome December 25, 2007

Posted by Tariq Ahmed in Business Management.

This syndrome occurs when top management becomes disconnected from the reality of the business.  Organization size, complexity and information filtering all contribute to the problem.

In order to avoid the Ivory Tower syndrome, the Sith recommend that all top management, including the CEO should spend 1 hour a month, observing desk-side, in rotation with every position in the company.  From the janitors to marketing, no position is too menial for this task. If the position uses a body, then that body is a cost to the company and needs to be performing their duties in an efficient and purposeful manner.

The purpose of this task is to observe front-line employees in the organization and directly observe problems, inefficiencies and procedures that the employee is using in their daily activities.  Information filtering is a constant threat to top management, and sometimes the only way to really know what’s going on, is to get your hands dirty.

Out-sourced workers and contractors should also be observed as the company ultimately pays for their services and everything above applies to them.

Once management is on board for the program, someone should have the responsibility of scheduling the desk-side observations in a random, unannounced fashion and ensure everyone participates in their sessions.




1. Rob - January 1, 2008

I recommend “going to gemba”: Masaaki Imai, the Japanese father of kaizen, said that ‘When a problem (abnormality) arises, go to gemba first’. So what’s gemba? It’s the Death Star for you, or when you found the Noghri.

2. BubbasFat - February 18, 2008

Before my comment, there are two things I love about this site. A) The Force. 2) Sith Sigma, hah that’s a funny play on words. iii) Chad Vader , is he on your payroll?

I was watching an interview with Mulally, the new CEO of Ford(s) . When he was asked if he thought the “recent departure of people” would affect the products and the business he started describing all the wonderful executives they have in place all over the world and how much confidence he had in them to get things done. I almost laughed myself out of the room… and this is PBS! How disconnected! The question was obviously related to the MASSIVE departure of hourly and salary individuals that Ford(s) has been paying to leave the company in recent months, yet the point that the people doing the work are leaving the company went completely over his head. “People” in his ivory tower, do not touch parts.

3. BubbasFat - February 18, 2008

Here is a link to the interview.


Also, Is it bad tailoring or PR inspired shoulders on his suit?

4. Darth Sidious - February 18, 2008

Hey Bubbas – thank you for your comments; your analysis of the Ford situation is totally on point.

As for Chad… ya we have him stocking inventory; he’s Darth’s little cousin, so I feel obligated to give him a job… 😦

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