Saturday, May 09, 2015

Too many layers at the ECB - the job Andrew Strauss is going to is unnecessary

In my Shell days one of the sometimes fashionable policy imperatives was "de-layering". Essentially the idea was that if you removed layers in the hierarchy it improved efficiency and the quality of decision-making. It generally worked as more empowered people were more motivated and their job satisfaction was higher. It forced delegation and removed some of the exercising of "Position Power" by which empires were built. The fewer the layers the faster the communications and the quicker the decisions. 

Which brings me to England cricket. Here is a simplified representation of the recent vertical hierarchy of the ECB:

1. Chairman (Giles Clarke)
2. Chief Executive (David Collier)
3. Managing Director (Paul Downton)
4. Team Director (aka Head Coach) (Peter Moores)
5. Team Captain Alastair Cook 

The personnel have changed/are changing  and we understand that Andrew Strauss is being brought into the job at 3 vacated by the sacked Downton. Tom Harrison is now in the job at 2 and Colin Graves in the top job at 1. It remains to be seen whether there will be changes at 4. and 5. as well.

Personalities play a part of course. Clarke was authoritarian and very much in charge. He took all the key decisions (including, almost certainly, that to sack Kevin Pietersen). So what do they all do - and do we need such a heavily layered structure at all? My contention has always been that the job at 3
. is superfluous. If you have a good Chief Executive and a good Head Coach why do you need a layer in-between them? Surely Strauss, a player and with no significant coaching experience, can add little to what Moores  (or whoever) does? Similarly he has no real commercial experience and has never run a business so what use in these areas is he likely to be to a skilled CEO such as Collier or now Harrison? Downton, who did have that experience, floundered so it is hard to see how Strauss can succeed. Too many chiefs is a bad policy leading to confsed accountability and decision-making. Itseems  that the ECB is perpetrating its mistake. 

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