Grey Matter
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Connecting the Top, Bottom and Middle

Published on 12/08/2015 by Paul Conway

A long time ago in a far off land people went to work. They worked as Tops, Middles or Bottoms and whatever name they had they still went to work.

The Tops made the big decisions. They spoke about strategy and examined markets.They had important lunches and could only ever spare you 5 minutes.

The Bottoms did the real work (they said). They made things work and delivered stuff to customers. They had an opinion on everything that they were never asked about and that’s why the lunch table often sounded quite critical and downhearted.

The Middles were in the middle. They had to translate the decisions of the Tops so that the Bottoms knew what to do. They had pressure from the Tops always asking for more and they had pressure from the Bottoms always asking for less (or more depending what was in the pipe).

On some occasions the Tops, Middles and Bottoms all got together but not to talk about anything critical. It was just for celebrations, end of year events and market places where the things that were really in people’s hearts were not on the agenda.

But all that was a long time ago in a far off land.

Today, there are still Tops, Middles and Bottoms. But when Tops have the most important decisions to make they can check their thinking with a whole bunch of other people … Tops, Middles and Bottoms. The Tops know that the more people they talk to the more sure they are that they are on the right track. With the ability to connect with people via company intranet, in-company social media, Trello, Snapchat, Facetime, WhatsApp, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram and ...and … the capacity to share a problem with others is huge. 

When Middles have to describe how their teams will implement a shift in the strategy, a reorganisation or whatever, they now have all the technology available to be able to connect with the Bottoms to involve them in the decision and to use the brain power of the crowd. And the Middles’ teams expect them to do just that because the Bottoms are connected too.

The appetite to get ‘the crowd’ involved is 10x huge. People do the same level of connecting at work as they do at home.

Thank Goodness that first bit was a long time ago in a far off land.

Paul Conway

Paul Conway

Leadership Faculty

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