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Command and Control is an anachronism. At its best, during times of war it saved lives. At its worst, present day, it’s emotionally abusive, degrading and akin to slavery. CEO’s have exceeded their power to the point that it’s entered the law of diminishing returns. What I mean is that the conventional organization chart, the generally accepted pyramid with the CEO at the very top along with a few select others who make up the power base and the brain trust, is old, outdated, ineffective and damaging, maybe even illegal. How many injustices and inequities have been committed in the name of the “boss”.

Recent events in the hockey world have brought to light how much damage a leader lacking in grace and kindness can do to an organization, any organization. And believe me the NHL revelations are just the tip of the iceberg. But give the NHL leadership and ownership credit, they know that this is a cultural thing that has to change and they are acting quickly to rectify the abusive way coaches have destroyed players and teams. Among other measures, they are moving forward with a code of conduct, new interview tools and criteria and a confidential way future abuses can be reported and investigated independently of management. Their incentive is obvious. The NHL could become irrelevant, as parents stop letting their kids go into any system with these built in abuses. And fans could choose to turn their backs on a league that does not display values that show a high regard and respect for its players.

What is the corporate incentive? It’s just as meaningful, maybe more so.

Corporations who refuse to take this harmful conduct seriously, also risk becoming irrelevant. Unfortunately for them their errors often don’t come to light publicly like the abuses in a sports league like the NHL. They are swept under the rug by an internal, impotent, not independent, HR department. I say unfortunately because if there had been some real scrutiny and governance that allowed such things to come to light, many of the organizations that have failed might still be with us today.

This top down process of leadership with all the attendant abuses, risks irrelevance for the organizations because the creativity and entrepreneurship, and curiosity potential of the “staff” is wasted. The very people being abused or dismissed as “underlings “and not worthy or qualified to be part of the brains of the organization, have talent that has not been recognized, encouraged or activated. This lack of leadership understanding and vision is a sure path to irrelevance. Imagine the arrogance and stupidity of any organizations who pays one man ( CEO) 100 or 200 or 300 times what the average employee earns. Imagine the personality disorders they create by encouraging one person to believe they are that superior to everybody else

In the pyramid structure power and sign off is hoarded by a very few, who, for obvious reasons, tend to guard it jealously.

Just imagine for a second if there was no fear of reprisal the number of employees who would have come forward to report abuses. And how much more efficient the Corporation would be, if there was an independent body established in each Corporation to followed up on such breaches.

It may not be a popular moral opinion but I maintain that in a dog eat dog business world it’s a good thing that many do not recognize the collective power they are wasting. The current state of affairs provides a great opportunity for those with the self confidence and vision to see the mistake of Command and Control and jump out in front of it. The competition would be left behind in a flash, in every important corporate regard: Sales, Talent, Profitability and yes Stock Value. Leaders of these Corporations would be rewarded beyond their wildest dreams.

If you are a leader who is open, has some self confidence and is hungry for personal growth and has the courage that characterological transformation requires read on. Better still give us a call

Lou Quattro & Ron Caughlin



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