The problem is in the hierarchy.
The power resides at the top, while all the information resides at the bottom.
Sidney Yoshida quantified this in his 1989 landmark study, “The Iceberg of Ignorance,” where he found that only 4% of an organization’s front‐line problems are known by top management, 9% by middle management, 74% by managers and 100% by employees.
I’ve always asked my direct reports to be open and straight. If they tell me everything is perfect in their area/department the possibilities really are only:
- They’re not telling me the truth.
- They are ignorant.
- They have low standards.