Brains and brawn: integrate the strengths of headquarters and your people in the field for maximum power and effectiveness

By William Seidman Often in large companies, the difference in the perspective and cultures of headquarters and the people in the field can be so large as to be startling. I’ve wondered, Are these people in the same company? But I realize that each has a particular set of strengths along with some blindspots, and it’s only when they are integrated that the company gets the best results from everyone. Headquarters tends to think more widely and theoretically. They tend to see a bigger picture and a long-term view. This type of thinking is good for an organization. However, headquarters loses touch with operational reality very quickly. HQ tends not to understand the customer, their needs, or what it takes to sell and service them. It’s hard to make their ideas into operational reality. Too often, and sometimes unfairly, their work is seen as “more crap from headquarters.” The field, on the other hand, tends to be great at getting something done. Field sales and service can be very effective at running the business, connecting with the customer and generating sales. But the field’s narrow and short-term perspective — the world in which they live — doesn’t account for longer term issues. Planning and the long view are absent. The optimum is to have the intellectual strength of HQ and the operational strength of field sales and service. The best way to attain this, we’ve found, is to have a third party facilitate the discussion. The goal is integration of these two powerful halves, resulting in a high-quality and effective new program.]]>

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