Whack a Mole Management

If you have been to one of my training sessions there is fair chance that you have heard me rant about whack a mole management. Whack-a-mole is an arcade game in which you try to hit ‘moles’ that pop up randomly on a board using a rubber mallet. Every time you hit a mole, you get a point.

It’s fun and people experience a ‘high’ as pent-up energy is released by whacking the moles. The challenge of not knowing where the next mole is coming from adds to the excitement.

Whack-a-mole management is based on the same principles.

The challenges are the ‘moles’. As each challenge presents itself to managers, they hit it hard and fast with the hammer of position and conventional wisdom. Slam! They get one. Slam! They get another one.

It requires quick decision making in a fast moving game. It’s exhausting, but fun. Each night the players go home, knowing their job is safe because they have successfully ‘whacked’ enough organizational problems to stay for another day.

Problem One: Whack-a-mole lures people in because it works in the short term
Problem Two: Whack-a-mole management is more concerned with looking good than with being good.
Problem Three: Whack-a-mole management always ends by making things worse

Want to learn more? Try this blog post over at Slow Leadership

4 Responses

  1. […] of your deliverables, you aren’t managing your projects, you’re playing “whack-a-mole“. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Potty […]

  2. […] and his Crossderry Blog where he clarifies the use of MBE based on Mike Chitty’s blog posting Whack-a-Mole Management (WaMM[tm]) style. This fabulously named management style seems to have come from Douglas […]

  3. […] July 5, 2008 by Paul Ritchie Mike Chitty’s post on “Whack a Mole Management” (here) prompted me to think about how I position and coach on management by exception. Whack-a-mole is an […]

  4. Hi Mike

    I thought whack a mole was what you get when you bash up an avocado.

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