I think we can all agree that corporate functions tend to be a locus of frustration for pretty much all employees — except, of course, the ones from the function that is the object of the frustration in question. If you have ever thought to yourself “Doesn’t legal understand that we are going to lose this deal if they don’t sign off soon?” or “Why is HR’s answer always Our rules don’t allow that?” you are not alone.
Recent McKinsey research showed that senior executives have a low level of satisfaction (an average of only 30%) in their corporate functions across the board. McKinsey’s recommendations are all sensible, such as: “Create incentives for functional leaders to contain costs, instead of allocating costs that business units can’t change.” This issue has long been a bugbear for me. Despite chronically low satisfaction and lots of intelligent prescriptions like this, the problem by all accounts seems to be getting worse, not better.