When does a company become too big to care?

When the perception of non-caring becomes a day to day reality

And that never ends well

Many major companies, not unlike Advance Auto Parts based in Roanoke VA, get that way when their internal corporate guidelines become so blurred that day to day operations become what appears to be functioning locally as an “at will” scenario. And any prior thoughts of a usable command structure are totally trashed by anyone and everyone in authority. And with an appearance of total immunity to any possible accountability, on the local lower levels of management at least.

My personal views on this

It brings into question whether there is any corporate accountability for those in their charge. It also brings into question whether they even know what is really going on in their area of charge. As a casualty of economics it plays to a structure of management that has been totally stripped to the bone. The segments of responsibility being so large that there is a true loss of contact with day to day realities of business on the base levels. Along with that comes an air of “not caring” because they really don’t seem to know or care! Financial accountability is the priority concern and the major time segment is spent in pursuit of that goal. And as long as those obligations are being met then there is no reason for them to divert their attention and be concerned with the lower part of the corporate structure’s day to day mechanics.

Here’s how I see it

Internal policies, as written in corporate employee handbooks and published corporate guide lines, along with endless corporate propaganda media, complete with pictures and arrows and personal sign-offs, are routinely ignored and/or selectively enforced. Couple that with the usual large helping of a “good ole boy” network and a command structure that leaves many wondering as to to who is really “watching the children”, so to speak. It appears to the casual observer that there is NO policy and that personnel in positions of authority pretty much function as they please. Corporate policy be damned! And the business model of the day appears to be that as long as there are no business “incidents” in their immediate area of control that might draw attention to them from higher authorities it is business as usual. Make the numbers and don’t rock the boat! Not a really great way to do business in my humble opinion.

The command structure is supposed to bring into play a progressive knowledge base and some mentoring qualities along with it. Along with some modicum of authority and accountability both for themselves and those in their charge.  Under normal circumstances if there is a question, or problem that needs to be addressed, it should be handled in a competent and timely manner. And if a reasonable solution can not be gained then higher resources are called into play. Now, a key phrase in my previous statement is “supposed to”. Unfortunately in many circumstances, for a variety of personal, professional or business political reasons they are not. And when they aren’t handled in what can be construed as a correct and timely manner, what was a perception of a “we really don’t care” mentality moves a bit closer to a reality. And if it is repeated over and over it then becomes a reality. A reality of predictability. Sad but true.

A simple example that comes to mind would be an Open Door policy that is totally non-functional and definitely not handled as it is documented and presented. If that is true then it is really NOT an Open Door policy. More specifically, private conversations and observations that are made under this policy  become common knowledge in quick time despite written, and in some cases, verbal reassurances as to their confidentiality and security. Tosses any shred of trust right out the window!

These kind of behaviors have some very sinister side effects. It becomes an employee nightmare trying to function and possibly even navigate this chain of command when the evidence of inconsistency and total lack of concern surround each and every attempt to get something resolved. And this same frustration is accentuated when voiced concerns are either trivialized as a non-problem problem or treated in a way that makes the reporter the bad guy for having the audacity to  act on an observed behavior and bring it to the attention of a higher authority. And in certain cases it has been purported to be completely derailed and  just vanish into thin air! This takes an other wise upright and conscious employee from being a valuable corporate asset to being an annoyed, disgruntled worker in very short measure. That is very hard to recover from.

Another unfortunate casualty of these actions is trust in the companies capability to really enforce anything it says. This perception is actually substantiated by simply observing actions carried out in day to day operations. Day to day operations offer a plethora of opportunities to enforce written and acknowledged  policies. It is more common than not to ignore many of these policies. So much for any semblance of control!

Despite the constant periodical barrage of statements proclaiming the seriousness of adhering to specific policies as set down by the Corporation, and the threat of dire consequences if they are violated, these policies are summarily dismissed and ignored. What Ever! When simple enforcement of attendance and hour allocation policies is in many cases totally ignored the manpower accounting profile is totally twisted up! And if you were to toss in some acts of overt favoritism into the mix then the lack of enforcement decays into a perception of job invincibility. And a total distrust of management. Not a good working environment at all.

What does this mean?

Well, what it means is that what may have started as a good work environment can easily devolve into an uncaring and distrustful environment. Despite all the corporate chanting and proclaiming how concerned they are for their employees. In this scenario actions speak way louder than words. From both a management and an employee perspective it makes for a very troubling and confusing work environment. Going to work becomes a chore rather than a challenge. Everyone is a loser when this is the case.

I guess I have put a whole bunch of stuff to mull over in this rant so I will end it for now, take a break and collect my thoughts for the next installment. This is just one mans’ opinion on this about that. Mine! Stay tuned!


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I am an aging American Navy veteran with some very pointed and acidic opinions. Feel free to heed the warning and read on.

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