Creeping failure of senior leaders, says former Google employee; Here's why

By Consultants Review Team Friday, 05 January 2024

Jonathan Bellack, a former Google employee who claims to have worked for the firm for over 15 years, has criticized the company's leadership. Google has been attempting to usurp the AI leadership of businesses such as OpenAI and Microsoft by releasing its products. However, the former employee alleges that the company's management are incapable of making difficult decisions, resulting in a lack of clarity and cohesiveness.

Bellack, who worked as a Project Manager at Google for 15 years, recently raised the subject of 'fiefdoms,' in which certain teams act as if they are in charge. He noted that the primary issue was not usually the engineers or project managers, but rather the senior leaders who had stopped making difficult decisions or resolving team issues.  He asserted that due to the lengthy debates among mid-level managers, critical decisions were blocked. This crisis allowed non-tech departments such as policy, legal, and finance to step in. 

According to the ex-employee, it was easier for senior executives to discuss risks or expenses rather than confront opposing viewpoints and grow together. He determined that, by the conclusion of his tenure, a Project Manager would suffer more criticism for disagreeing with Global Affairs than for failing to launch a valuable product on time.

"In my 15 years as a PM@GOOG, I saw a lot of fiefdoms, but eng was rarely the root cause and PM was rarely the solution," Bellack wrote in his essay. Too many senior leaders have lost the incentive/ability to make difficult decisions or handle team conflict. Decisions that should have been decided quickly by VPs/SVPs were dragged out for months by mid-level managers utilizing younger employees as cannon fodder (transform another proposal into another deck for another leadership assessment)."


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