Monday, April 22nd, 2013



Headquarters is too old fashioned a word for what I’m talking about.  So is the Puzzle palace.
Central staff function is too sterile.  But you know what I mean.  That group of  people who don’t make any money for the company and who either grease the skids for the operating units or who create friction, barriers, confusion and, actually, a kind of organizational despair for  the front line business units trying to please customers.

It’s shocking how often the corporate core is either neglected or thrown into chaos  spending time re-inventing itself, changing structure,  and shifting its role in the company.   A little long lasting alignment would help.  Alignment within the Corporate Core and between it and the operating, everyday, money making, taking care of business-unit.  Take a two sentence survey of the people in your corporate core whether that is 3 people or 300.  Ask: l.  What’s is our number one job in relationship to operating units?  2. Tell me what you spent time on last week?

Simple but not simple minded.  First you can see if the individual is aligned with their purpose and their action.  But most importantly do your people who make up the corporate core agree about what their role is?  How distant is it from the operating unit? Portfolio management?  Strategy only?  Advising, serving as expert support?  Dipping deep into the action of operations to oversee and correct?  If your 3 or 300 people have different ideas of their role, there will be lots of gridlock, action without forward movement  and slow decision making as they all play the game differently.

Get your corporate role clear and then tackle the bigger alignment.  That of your Corporate Core with the rest of the company.   Who can dip into whose world for what purpose?   What are the boundaries for decisions and action?   Perhaps the most fruitful question is:  Who or what is driving you crazy and making it impossible to do your job well? ( That, by the way, goes both ways between Corporate Core and Operations.  There is no monopoly on being the victim)  And do they have defined permission to do so?

Top leaders can forget that the Corporate Core needs attention to who it is and how it is doing–both its philosophy and working rules but also its well being.  Especially in these days of turmoil.  Clarity of  purpose and method for the Corporate Core  can provide huge relief to all and grease the skids for easier, better performance of the operating units.  And provide a little compassion and collaboration for Corporate Core folks trying to do their best to support the company.


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