It’s been a while since I poked fun at senior management. I heard someone described as a "control freak" recently, and it struck me that there was actually another type, the "out-of-control-freak". A senior manager who assumes total control of a project or area, but actually doesn’t have the time or interest to really understand it.
It made me think of this funny dynamic that happens when a project becomes either a raging success or a dismal failure. People seem to climb out of the woodwork to claim partial credit for a successful project. Yet a failed project is often pinned to a few scapegoats.
When I was at General Mills, it seemed like everyone I talked to had played a hand in the launch of Go-Gurt (which was the posterchild of successful innovation). But, I never found anyone who worked on Wahoos (which cratered soon after launch). It’s human nature of course. It just cracks me up how some senior managers can be removed enough to escape retribution from the failures yet still take personal credit for the successes. When, of course, you can learn from both (often you learn more from the failures than the successes).