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West Somerset Railway General Discussion

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by gwr4090, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. Flying Phil

    Flying Phil Part of the furniture

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    It must have been a wrench for him to leave the WSR, but it is a fantastic opportunity for him to be in at the start of the L & B's next major advancement.
     
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  2. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    One day whilst out on one line I was surprised to see the then GM as guard . A little while later the ops manager was signalman . Speaking with them the impression I got was management are encouraged to volunteer as well to help broaden their understanding of the day to day operation of the railway and also to encourage their visability to other volunteers
     
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  3. Downline

    Downline Member

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    You can't lead a business hiding behind your big fence in a town an hours drive away from the railway.

    But you can lead a business, occasionally hiding behind your big fence in a town an hours drive away from the railway, if you are regularly showing your face around the railway, getting involved with all the different departments along the line, engaging with your workforce and customers.
     
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  4. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    It's typical of this thread that you accuse someone of being a troll simply because they dare to bring a different opinion or comment on the effectiveness of the "discussion". Your black/white thinking doesn't really give much room for anyone with alternative or middle-ground views. TTFN
     
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  5. Big Al

    Big Al Nat Pres stalwart Staff Member Moderator

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    When an organisation sees someone in their midst who is special and offers so much, what usually happens is that the organisation finds a way of retaining them and allowing them to develop further. Of course, people also move to other jobs for other reasons even when they have enjoyed where they were and despite incentives to remain.

    As it's been raised, what's the story here as this must be a very useful 'touchstone' for knowing how much the current management is in touch with its staff and what the organisation needs.
     
  6. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    And posting for the umpteenth time about how people shouldn't be discussing the WSR is in no way a reflection of your own zealotry to control what people say. Nice little passive aggressive dig to slip in there.

    When a football team is doing badly or being mismanaged do you go on the discussion sites and tell them that they shouldn't talk about the manager or the board or the players? Or when there are political issues that people shouldn't talk about politics because it achieves nothing? No don't discuss climate change because it achieves nothing?

    No one forces you to read the thread, if it upsets your cosy deferential pipe and slippers worldview then don't click on the link to the discussion.

    It is a discussion forum, people talk about things. When things are going badly people have more to say. I am surprised you haven't yet worked that out.

    I couldn't agree more. Just to give an example - I was chatting to a friend of mine who works in an IT dept, not one of the sexy depts but one without which the organisation can't function. They contrasted how previous CEOs had walked around, popped in and chatted to them. This was then followed by a CEO who never visited, tried to impose ideas, wasn't interested in staff, so morale plummeted, people left etc organisation, the CEO left after causing untold damage. The new CEO restarted walking around and meeting people, lo and behold, morale improves, people are listened to and performance improves. Are there still blunders, of course there are but by listening informally and being open they are being picked up earlier before they become major issues.

    Worse though than the invisible CEO are those visits that are more like inspections than finding out what is going on. No one learns anything from those and they are just lip-service to engagement.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
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  7. Sidmouth

    Sidmouth Part of the furniture Staff Member Moderator

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    an opinion bereft of substance despite polite requests to expand on your proposition and elaborate on what the alternative story is

    ergo since you offer nothing then in all truth your arguments become disruptive which is of course the point of a troll
     
  8. The Dainton Banker

    The Dainton Banker Well-Known Member

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    There you go again! What is this different opinion you want discussed ? You've been asked three times and refuse to answer. I say "Troll".

    @Sidmouth put it better than me but I was typing at the time.
     
  9. 61624

    61624 Well-Known Member

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    Its termed mbwa - management by walking about - and works brilliantly for good managers that are prepared to listen. If they start with an unhappy organisation it might be a tough ask till things improve but if they do people should become less disenchanted. I do question, though, whether, on the evidence available to the outsider, the current chairman/acting CEO at Minehead has the personality to be successful at mbwa!
     
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  10. martin1656

    martin1656 Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    Its a shame that , on the face of it, the WSR, is losing someone who would have be an ideal candidate for the GM role, good managers are worth their weight in gold, makes you wonder, had he, and not the present chair have been in charge, would the railway be in a better place?
     
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  11. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Be careful not to confuse managers and directors, Martin - they are not the same role (and arguably suit different personality types).

    Not confined to the WSR - I think a weakness in some small organisations (and heritage railways are, in many senses, small organisations) is that directors end up being managers, i.e. get heavily involved in the day-to-day rather than concentrating on the strategic. Often for very good reasons, but it isn't ideal.

    Tom
     
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  12. Pete Thornhill

    Pete Thornhill Part of the furniture Staff Member Administrator Moderator Friend

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    Exactly, it’s clear @richards has a different opinion, I’m lost as to what it is as despite asking we haven’t heard what it is. With this absence it does come across as having no foundation other than to counter the debate with no actual counter argument.
     
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  13. Bayard

    Bayard Part of the furniture

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    May I suggest that next time you reply to one of my comments, you read more than two or three words of it first? I didn't accuse you of being a troll, in fact I said that I didn't think you were. What I did say was that, by constantly repeating the request for "another viewpoint" unchanged, no matter how many other viewpoints other posters made, you were reading like one. Sad to say, the sort of red mist, knee-jerk response you made is another troll-like characteristic. You may not intend to be a troll, but if you continue to sound like one, then the difference becomes somewhat academic.
     
  14. Robin Moira White

    Robin Moira White Nat Pres stalwart

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    My view is that the role of Directors on heritage railways is twofold:

    (1) to lead the discussion which decides strategy (involving all significant stakeholders in that discussion), and then

    (2) clearing logjams out of the way which arise to prevent managers and staff (volunteer and paid) implementing that strategy.

    It’s working pretty well in Kent but as we know, the laws of physics are different in other parts of the universe.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
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  15. Monkey Magic

    Monkey Magic Part of the furniture

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    I think @martin1656's point is correct as the chair is also the GM at the moment.

    What is striking about the WSR considering how large it is as an organisation is how many people wear multiple hats and have multiple roles.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2021
  16. 35B

    35B Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'm not so sure I see the two as being exclusive, or that the difference is desirable. If we look at the template for large corporates, there's a difference on boards between "executive" and "non-executive" directors, where the "executive" directors are managers in the business, and "non executive" are outsiders brought in for an independent viewpoint. Those execs, in my experience, get very heavily involved in the day to day, albeit from the 50,000ft level.

    I don't like too many barriers between shop floor and the top, and directors being arms length feels like one such. The challenge is how to ensure that they have enough space left to deal with strategic as well as tactical matters.
     
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  17. nanstallon

    nanstallon Well-Known Member

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    So that certain individuals can then buy the assets at firesale prices, and then have their private trainset.

    Cock-up or conspiracy; take your pick.
     
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  18. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    I'd add 3, to provide 'air cover' for the professional managers so they can focus on the day job!
     
  19. andrewtoplis

    andrewtoplis Member

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    Should they be dealing with 'tactical matters' though? Should this not be for the relevant department manager to deal with?

    I always think 'executive directors' is a bit of a funny one, as we have come to use the word Director to mean 'very senior manager', especially in wholly owned companies. I think the IOW has something closer to the Victorian idea of a board of directors who were essentially elected shareholder reps (and may or may not have relevant expertise), which gives instruction to a paid General Manager, who then cascades it to the managers for rolling stock, track etc.
     
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  20. D1039

    D1039 Well-Known Member

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    That's something about which I remain to be convinced.

    Patrick
     
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