The phrase ‘missing middle’ has cropped up a few times recently, and it’s a concept would like to explore more. We need your help.
Francis Christie, one of Tricordant’s partners, recently wrote about ‘missing middle managers’; those who create the vital link between strategy and delivering results, but who are frequently starved of the time and resource for their own professional development. See http://www.francischristie.co.uk/april-2012-newsletter. He was commenting on previous research by Amy Armstrong and Ayiesha Russell of Ashridge who were exploring the learning experiences of middle managers in the UK. They concluded that middle managers are missing out on personal development due to a lack of time, job pressures and financial constraints.
This chimed with an article we published a year or so back called ‘The Missing Middle – Strategic Alignment and Empowerment’ (see attached). We had been working with a large international charity that had a strong corporate HQ team in the USA who focused on their big mission, vision and international child development strategy. They also had a really well-developed and impressive local community team structure out in the many developing countries where they supported child development. Their weakness which we helped them with was their ‘missing middle’. They didn’t have good processes and systems, run by well-trained middle managers, to act as the link between the strategic HQ and the teams delivering the results on the ground.

We’re really interested if people have seen other examples in OD where the problem has been weak middle management processes, structures, systems, culture, leadership or management development. Have you seen this? If you have, we’d really like to talk more and grow our understanding about the ‘missing middle’.

Read our Think Piece article “The Missing middle here