The Habits of Misguided Managers
April 26, 2007 (as amended)
(names removed to protect the guilty)

This table has been assembled from my experiences over recent years with various customers. I post it here for other business owners, in the hope that they may avoid what these people did not. I made this because I realised I needed a strategy to cope with the various types of people described below: these people are my customers and I want their businesses to flourish, at least so they spend more with me.

type behaviours likely outcomes early warning signs responses
Mr Burns fails to invest appropriately in employees high staff absenteeism, sabotage, and turnover; inefficient business operation a continuous stream of new faces; miserly behaviour explain how happy staff make the best employees
Rough and Loose fails to invest appropriately in infrastructure high levels of downtime and servicing expenditure; legacy issues constant problems; legacy systems; miserly behaviour explain how quality systems provide optimal efficiency
Something for Nothing fails to invest appropriately in infrastructure maintenance increasing inefficiency; falling productivity constant problems; slow systems with many glitches; presence of onsite DIYers explain how quality systems provide optimal efficiency
All Bucks Stop Here fails to delegate appropriately one area of the business is overmanaged, while everything else is neglected the manager is constantly busy explain how the business could benefit if it was evenly managed
All Eggs In One Basket becomes over-exposed to a single customer insolvency (when this customer takes their business elsewhere, there may not be enough additional income to keep the business afloat) the business spends all its time servicing one customer explain how the business could fail if the key customer walks; suggest sales staff
Build It And They Will Come over-optimistic expectations of customer numbers; ineffective promotion over-engineered solutions; poor project ROI; long time to break-even launches or modifies projects seemingly on the spot; is not working from a strategy or plan explain that without promotion, the shiniest castle can be a white elephant, and that to avoid this, careful analysis of all opportunities should be done, prior to any work commencing
Can't Afford To Save confuses expenses with investment high levels of downtime and servicing expenditure; legacy issues constant problems; legacy systems; miserly behaviour; says "I need to control my COSTS" when presented with an idea that will save them money explain that yes, in the first year the costs will be similar; in the second however they will be vastly reduced...
Empire-Builder insources an outsourced function without proper planning and analysis high transition costs; possible project/business failure offers an outsourcer a job; tries to relocate the outsourcer's factory/lab into his office explain - outsourcers solve a problem, that is often difficult and expensive to solve internally, if you insource the solution, you are also insourcing the problem. This means you need to be prepared to fund the resolution of that problem, on an ongoing basis, and this is likely to be a lot more expensive and time-consuming than simply putting a guy at a desk in front of a computer, and that is why people choose to outsource the problem in the first place.

An article on the topic: 9 Questions to Consider Before Insourcing Outsourced IT
Delusional Comptroller withholds or obscures vital information; likes being the gatekeeper; throws after-the-fact curveballs; orders new kit without consultation expensive mistakes will be made, which will prove embarassing in the boardroom piles of undistributed supplier updates; constant searching for information; says "oh!, I hope that works with the new xxx I just ordered!" ensure customer is aware there are interdependencies between their systems that they do not understand, and that is why they pay someone to help them