Lists of Management Wisdom


(Taken from the latest Reddin OMD Newsletters)


PETER F. DRUCKER ON MANAGERS

  • The poor manager costs much more than the good manager.
  • Above all, managers must manage themselves.
  • Most of us are good at improving things but not good at doing the right things.
  • Too many executives invent urgent work to get out of the things they don’t want to do.
  • Engineers and accountants are inclined to think that human beings behave like metals and numbers.
  • A manager should ask, “What are the few things that I can do well?”
  • The incompetent make themselves known fast, and so do the brilliant.
  • A most important managerial quality is courage.
  • Authority usually stems from character.


PETER F. DRUCKER ON COMPANIES

  • There are no profits inside a business, only costs.
  • It’s a company’s social duty to make a profit.
  • Few businesses lack ability -they mainly lack effectiveness.
  • If an organisation cannot hold or attract people, it is doomed.
  • Profitability is the productivity of capital.


GROUPTHINK

“Groupthink” is what led the lemmings astray. If any of these symptoms start showing up, it’s a good sign that the group is losing its grip:

  • Illusions of group invulnerability
  • Rationalising unpleasant and disconfirming data
  • Belief in inherent group morality
  • Stereotyping competitors as weak, evil and stupid
  • Applying direct pressure to deviants to conform to group wishes
  • Self-censorship by members
  • Illusions of unanimity
  • Mind guarding -members protecting the group from disturbing ideas or viewpoints


WHEN THE NEW GROUP FIRST MEETS

At times groups are formed to complete a specific project in a particular time. Often such groups are called project teams or task forces. In matrix-type organizations these groups are the norm. To get groups off to a good start, here are some questions to be resolved and tasks to be completed at their first meeting.

  • How will the team know when it has done its job, so that the team can be dissolved? In other words, in output terms, what specific things was this team formed to complete?
  • At this moment what is the team’s resource in terms of skills, time availability, budget (if applicable) and so on?
  • What other resource does the team require if it is going to complete the project on time and with high effectiveness?
  • Draft a tentative plan for your team with schedules and responsibilities, specifying when each necessary activity will be completed. Be specific: for example, use “completed by” instead of “start to.”
  • List the issues you would like to raise about the way you should work together.


BUILDING A MORE Effective GROUP

An ex-football player was invited to make a list of requisites for an effective group. Although he had never done anything like it before, in about ten minutes he came up with this list. Obviously, he was drawing on his experience in football.
(Management analogies, added by the author, are indicated in parentheses.)

  • Must start with selection of good players. (How much time do we spend on our selection process and do we entrust it to the right people?)
  • Frequent positional changes for experience. (Job rotation.)
  • Widening experience of players by the manager. (This could be management development, such as serving on task forces; acting as understudy for certain jobs, being given particular challenging projects to complete as an addition to the job.)
  • Maintaining flexibility within the structure. (Flexible job trading, work redistribution as needed, flexible hours where possible.)
  • For reason of competition creating a sizable pool of players. This keeps teams on their toes, individuals fighting for positions and wanting to maintain them. (Selection and recruitment.)
  • Preferably more than one manager. Possibly assistant manager -better for discussing team tactics. Two opinions are better than one. (Not sure about this one, perhaps an aspect of the football player’s personality or the way he likes to see things run.)
  • Good incentives to keep team together, which would obviously lead to a more successful team spirit. (Teamwork.)
  • If you have a winning group, you attract other winners wanting part of the action. (Set high standards.)
  • Strategies to minimize injuries. (Stress.)
  • Avoidance of inconsistent refereeing, particularly when there are problems. (Appraisal -clarifying roles, authority.)
  • The best communication possible. (It seems I’ve heard that song before.)
  • The best listening possible. (Ditto.)
     
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