Managerial Arrogance = Intangible Asset – Relationship Capital Negative!

Michael D. Moberly   December 9, 2014   ‘A blog where attention span really matters’!

Some of you may hold a similar view. In circumstances in which I find myself dealing with arrogance, either managerially or through a larger business culture, in most instances I find it unnecessary and equating with an intangible asset (relationship capital) negative, irrespective of whom, where, how, when, or why it manifests.

Expressions of conceit, egotism, self-importance, and condescension are some of the more common descriptors of arrogance, while they may relevant to military aviators engaged in training at the ‘top gun’ school at Miramar Naval Air Station, I find few other circumstances in which brandishing managerial arrogance can be useful. Admittedly, there is a distinction between expressions of arrogance and an experientially earned sense of total self confidence as portrayed in the film ‘Lone Survivor’

Too, I find, such expressions are frequently attached to an unreceptive and quickly dismissive (shoot from the hip) demeanor inclined to trivialize other, especially new voices, which articulate clearly plausible alternatives to the one’s they hold, assuming ‘the way it’s always been done’ has elevated to a managerial right which only they can amend. In other words, ‘if it ain’t broke, why try to fix it’? Everything seems to be functioning well as is.

In environments where managerial arrogance is dominant, it is challenging to develop favorable intangible assets with strong contributory value, e.g., reputation, brand, image, and goodwill. Most respectfully, should there be doubters to this premise, it’s important to recognize this globally universal economic – competitive advantage fact; 80+% of most company’s value, sources of revenue, and ‘building blocks’ for growth, competitive advantage, profitability, and sustainability today lie in – emerge directly from intangible assets! It does not quite rise to the level of ‘rocket science’ to suggest when a company either projects or dismisses any intangible asset which conflicts with or ‘cancels out’ even a portion of that 80+%, receptivity to change is warranted because a dominant projection of arrogance will weaken and/or undermine the contributory value of other intangible assets, particularly intellectual, structural, and relationship capital as well as stakeholder and consumer perspectives.

A company’s culture and employee demeanor, whether dominated by arrogance or humility and respect, are never-the-less, intangible assets, broadly defined as…

  • the economic benefits anchored – embedded in companies’ distinctive and often times proprietary know how, i.e., intellectual capital, along with similar processes, procedures, and practices, i.e., structural capital, which, when used effectively, can set a company apart from its competitors by creating various efficiencies and other circumstances that enhance internal and external relationships and communication, i.e., relationship capital.. (Michael D. Moberly)

It is true, intangible assets are seldom, if ever, reported on (company) financial statements or balance sheets insofar as acknowledging their contributions to business operation success or measuring their contributory value and the economic – competitive advantages they produce.

So, whether managerial arrogance is exhibited as demeanor that emerges from individuals or collectively materializes as part of a company’s culture, one seldom has to look far to find evidence of its adverse effects be it in the form of employee attrition, stakeholder hesitation, brand, or reputation. Unfortunately, in numerous instances, managerial arrogance has become so thoroughly embedded in a company’s culture that it manifests and replicates involuntarily, that is until a substantial reputation risk materializes which prompts wholesale changes in leadership as a company endeavors to regain its economic – competitive composure, should that be possible.

Anecdotally though, I find managerial arrogance is often rationalized, not as an intangible asset or relationship capital negative as I am proposing here, rather as a necessary and justifiable expectation associated with a particular job, profession, or mission, i.e., perhaps as a deep seated extension of McGregor’s Theory X.

If truth be told, as an intangible asset strategist and risk specialist, I may respectfully bow out of an engagement when I sense managerial arrogance will inhibit or preclude my charge to effectively bring a company, its management teams, employees, and culture to the intangible asset table.

As always, reader comments are most welcome.


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