Every senior manager makes a critical decision every day of his or her working life. Mostly, the decision is unconscious, but is no less vital for that. The issue is simply stated with three questions...
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How the boss behaves has a profound effect on how other managers perform - and thus on the performance of the entire outfit.
That's a self-evident truth, acknowledged by most people. But few bosses acknowledge the corollary: that inferior performance is partly their fault.
All sportsmen know that the basic essentials of their game can be expressed in very few words.
All empires famously carry within them the seeds of their own decay.
How far is my company away from failure? The question itself sounds like an admission of inadequacy. The confident manager surely doesn't walk around waiting for nemesis to strike. Rather, confident people strut the stage like a colossus, with all the certainty, say, of Bill Gates.
When markets are changing rapidly and unpredictably, strategies and tactics must also be flexible.
So revolutionary companies, within a broad visionary context, delegate strategic planning to business units which are able to adapt swiftly to shifting markets. Using IT, the centre controls without interfering. One of the key controls is planning itself.
Management and numbers go together like Scylla and Charybdis.
You don't change for its own sake - you change to realise the strategic vision.
Everybody makes mistakes. But the biggest mistake of all is failure to learn from error. The lessons of misjudgements, miscalculations and mismanagement teach more than success - if you're prepared to face the realities of failure.
The romantic image of the founder-millionaire wearing overalls. tinkering visibly with some mechanical marvel in workshop or lab, is often reality.
Top managers have never lost their fondness for declaring that people are the 'greatest asset' that their corporations possess. Like other popular maxims, this one doesn't survive close analysis.
What does Mercedes-Benz have in common with H.J. Heinz and Coca-Cola?
All companies are management academies, good or bad. Very few concerns see themselves in this light. But companies of all sizes inculcate methods, judge managerial performance, seek to improve it, provide specific training, develop concepts - and, above all, provide an endless stream of real-life case studies.
To achieve anything, you must have a direction, a purpose, an aim.
Managers are constantly asked to behave like entrepreneurs.
Quality is a word from which few managers can hope to escape for long these days. That's not quality meaning 'goodness, beauty, luxury, brightness or excellence' (to quote guru Philip Crosby), nor even meaning a product free from fault.
Entrepreneurs don't on the whole read management books, and most such books don't seem to be written for them - especially those who run smaller businesses. After all, there's a vast gulf between the scale of business that employs at most 100 people and a payroll in the tens of thousands. The large company can turn over £1 million, not in a good year, but an everyday hour.
All success hinges on how well you manage one person - yourself. But you won’t get as far as you could progress simply by trying to master the lessons of success.
These principles, taken from my book, The Unique Success Proposition, constitute the Success Quotient, which holds the key to all forms of human achievement. The USP can consist largely of:
One of the most important weapons in the armoury of the lateral thinker is another invention of Edward de Bono’s - PO.
Challenge is of the essence of lateral thought, and the meaningless word PO is a meaningful way of challenging a statement or idea. Edward’s seminal book on lateral thinking contains the following very useful guide to the grammatical use of PO.
The one subject on which all managers should have strong and well-informed opinions is management itself.
Everybody has had the miserable experience of working for or with a ‘bad manager’: and you would have to be desperately unlucky never to encounter a ‘good’ one. But what do ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mean in this context?
I’ve been reading with mounting horror a book called 'Rip Off' by David Craig. The cover justly describes it as, ‘the scandalous inside story of the management consulting money machine’. Craig was himself a blue chip consultant.
This is how NOT to buy a business...
I get the feeling that in the constant struggle between leadership and management, leadership is getting the upper hand.