Are you a Rollercoaster Manager?

By Simone Allan, an EO Sydney member and director at Mondo Search PTY LTD.

What is it about rollercoasters that scares us? Is it that our stomach lives in our mouths? Or is it that every turn and corner we cannot predict and we are thrown in complete different directions and have no sense of control as to where we are going?

Post GFC the economic climate is highly unpredictable and volatile. Dependable customers are no longer guaranteed. The traditional beverage trends are no longer guaranteed. For the first time last year Australia witnessed a decline in beer sales and a decline in wine growth in exports. The role of the retailer is going beyond one channel, their force for market share has meant that they are seeking multi-channel revenue and are even setting up their own on-premise teams!

We are seeing a plethora of great candidates, uncertain of their career futures and one common complaint that they make about the managers that they work for is “their lack of direction and sense of a shared vision”.

We all hate the crimes shows where the victim is blindfolded, put into a car and driven around? It gives you a feeling of being out of control. Sometimes this is just being the passenger next to your partners driving! Certainly one of the reasons we often hate a rollercoaster is because the twists and turns are unpredictable and we do not know where we are going.

The leaders in business, we so often hear upheld and esteemed are those that share clear plans with their teams and show the route ahead, even when there is not much to report, they still share the updates.

The latest Australian movie called face to face by David Williamson, with many icon Australian actors in it highlighted the power of sharing a plan with your staff, as a leader and owner of a business.

Recently I watched a large FMCG business merger take place and the organisation lost very few people through the period.  The key action that seemed to take place was that the leaders shared regular updates and informed the teams that their roles were needed and valued.

German Georg–August University has found new research that groups are up to 30% better at performing judgment tasks than those that go it alone (Doubleday 2004). As a leader in these ambiguous times, it is wise to regularly seek the input of your team to make and drive decisions and involve them in the journey ahead. They do not want to be feeling like they are on a rollercoaster!

The economic environment is unpredictable enough, without a clear route to market and a clear plan for performance and outcomes. Don’t be a rollercoaster manager, your team need assurance for the future direction of their organisations.

Previously posted on

Categories: general


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