Top Gun and the Maverick Manager


Thundering rock music,  super sonic jet fighters and a central character who is a rebel with a need for speed, Top Gun gives a lot of bangs for your bucks. But why are senior management always portrayed as out of touch, overly bureaucratic , risk adverse, stuffed shirts. I would like to see a film or t.v.series where senior management is the hero. The pitch to the commissioning editors would go something like this. 

The maverick against the system is also a popular theme in many crime dramas where senior management is more concerned with balancing the budget and appeasing politicians than catching villains and seeing justice done. But what about the struggles of the much maligned senior manager. Here’s a pitch for a series about a senior manager who has integrity, who still cares and hasn’t forgotten what it’s like on the front line,  who keeps the politicians at bay,  successfully fights for a realistic budget , rewrites the rule book ,makes bold decisions and encourages risk taking. All the while supporting the troops whilst insisting on their adherence  to the highest standards and professional values. Just for a change maybe they also have a healthy work life balance and a successful long term relationship! 

Face the facts - In the opening scene of the first episode the newly appointed chief executive calls together all the managers in the organisation she give a brutal analysis of the organisations failings and states she intends to redistribute the budget shifting money to the front line. She describes herself  as the boss who likes to say  “yes” so she wants to hear their good ideas.

Future episodes are entitled

Keeping the on side- diplomacy only gets you so far you need some leverage. 

Back me or sack me-Giving the board an ultimatum when their commitment to unpopular changes wavers is risky.

Can you handle  the truth?- Winning over a cynical  media with openness upsets some of the management team.

Are you for us or against us -Inspiring the rank and file and questions of trust.

I don’t expect unquestioning loyalty. Leading the senior management team involves hearing some hard truths.

A sense of belonging.-It’s not enough to have a diverse workforce people need to feel they belong but not everyone accepts there is a problem. 

Good to work with you. Partner agencies can be a challenge ! 

Didn’t you used to be my Mum/ daughter - is being a parent/carer  compatible with a demanding career? 

All for one and one for all- except when it comes to the budget. 

Even good guys can be ruthless- “ you did a great job but the world moves on and your future lies elsewhere”. 

Blair Mcpherson former director author and blogger



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