Other complaints about meetings involve lack of follow-up on decisions that are made. Some companies schedule yearly or monthly planning meetings during which goals are set for individual employees, departments, and the company as a whole. These sessions are a waste of time if people ignore the goals that have been set or fail to monitor their progress toward these goals.
A further example of ineffective use of meeting time may appear in the performance appraisal process. In many organizations that are beginning to make the transition to professional management, performance appraisals are merely discussions between supervisor and subordinate. Objective performance goals may not be set or, if set, may not be monitored by employee or manager. Managers in these firms also tend to avoid providing negative feedback. Without such feedback, employees cannot learn what they need to do to improve performance. Because little real information is exchanged, performance appraisal meetings are a waste of both supervisor’s and subordinate’s time.
When Plans Are Made, There Is Very Little Follow-Up, So Things Just Don’t Get Done. Another sign of an entrepreneurship with growing pains is a lack of follow-up after plans are made. Recognizing that the need for planning is greater than in the past, an entrepreneur may introduce a planning process. People go through the motions of preparing business plans, but the things that were planned just do not get done. In one amazing case, there was no follow-up simply because the plan, after being prepared, merely sat in a drawer for the entire year until the next year’s planning process. When asked about the plan, one senior manager stated: “Oh that. It’s in my desk, I never look at it.”
In some cases there is no follow-up because the company has not yet developed systems adequate to monitor its goals. For example, many firms desire to monitor financial goals but have not developed an accounting system that can provide the information needed to do so.
In other cases, follow-up does not occur because personnel have not received proper training in setting, monitoring, and evaluating goals. They set goals that cannot be achieved or cannot be measured, or they do not know how to evaluate and provide useful feedback on goal achievement. These problems tend to appear most often in the performance appraisal process.
Some People Feel Insecure About Their Place in the Firm. As a consequence of other organizational growing pains, employees begin to feel insecure about their places in the firm. Typically, the entrepreneur has become anxious about problems facing the organization and has therefore hired a “heavyweight” manager from outside. This action may have been accompanied by the termination of one or more current managers. Employees feel anxious partly because they do not understand the reasons for these and other changes. When anxiety becomes too high, it may result in morale problems or excessive turnover.