As a young woman entering the employment market in the late 60′s, I held a variety of advertising sales and marketing jobs at major corporations. Over the years, as I rose from entry level to upper management positions, I witnessed changes to the corporate culture that were not only senseless, but were also the beginnings of what I refer to as “the great American corporate failure.”
Fortunately, as Baby Boomers entered the workplace in the late 60′s and early 70′s, U.S. corporations were growing and adding employees, however most of the jobs that were created were middle-management positions. The swelled ranks of middle managers discovered that there was little opportunity to rise in their chosen professions due to the stagnant number of upper-level management positions. With competition so fierce, this cadre of middle-managers began surrounding themselves with weak subordinates who were unlikely to be candidates for higher positions, and thus not a threat. Corporations inexorably crept toward a culture where teamwork was valued above all else and individual creativity was quashed. Simultaneously, corporations began promoting financial officers to the position of CEO, and America entered an era of corporations controlled by “bean-counters” who operated on a purely analytical basis and were completely out of touch with the creative process.
By the time I had reached the ranks of upper management in the mid-80′s this unproductive culture was in full bloom and corporations were beginning to show signs of wear. Bloated employment, reduced productivity, and poor management practices combined, among other factors, to create an environment that was ripe for the greenmail practices that were so common throughout the mid-80′s. About this time, I left the corporate world and struck out on my own. Perhaps because I have been in charge of my own destiny for so long, I was surprised recently Continue reading