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What is the real essense of management

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    Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 02:49
This is fork of the management fads thread.


I wanted to state what I think real management boils down to

a) Honestly tracking expenses and income
b) Keeping employees happy to reduce hiring costs
d) Hiring the right kind of people that can work together.
c) Honestly tracking projects to make sure that they will succeed. If something is not working, change course.


That is.

A big problem with managers is that they can't honestly deal with real metrics either because they are crooks or because the truth is just too upsetting to them, or because they fear negative repercussions.

Dress these with any methodology, and they will succeed if the manager has the right personality, is honest, and is accomplished in her own right.

I have been lucky in that I have worked with very good employers and managers, except for one place. Then I realize that the incompetence and personality problems of people in management will have an impact in the whole organization.

The dysfunctional and incompetent president kept hiring people just like him. He liked to spend money, exploit people (he would smile when people worked unpaid overtime during holidays), and couldn't face bad news.

So he hired other people just like him. He would lash out on the people who were actually doing the work. Even fire them.

He had been a good manager in the past because he had a manager under him who was accomplished. He let him go because he also disliked giving raises, and then he would only hire people just like him. The company quickly began to lose a huge amount of money.

Edited by hugoestr - 18 Apr 2011 at 01:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Parnell Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 03:25
Declan Kilberd (A prominent Irish academic) wrote a fantastic polemic about the upsurge in management gobbledegook in recent years in the Irish Times the other day. When I read it, it was like an epipheny moment - finally someone has hit that bloody nail on the head!

What I really want to know is do we actually need most managers? Businesspeople are obsessed with measuring the importance of data, and so use all sorts of industry specific jargon in their emerging psuedoscience. Of course administrators are necessary, but I'm extremely skeptical of the value of the entire human resources department.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 03:44
Well it looks like this subforum is on its way. Kudos to hugo for keeping the ball rolling. SmileClap
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whalebreath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 06:21
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

I wanted to state what I think real management boils down to

a) Honestly tracking expenses and income
b) Keeping employees happy to reduce in hiring costs
d) Hiring the right kind of people that can work together.
c) Honestly tracking projects to make sure that they will succeed. If something is not working, change course.

Management is about  maximising profit everything else is superfluous.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Mar 2010 at 06:53
Originally posted by whalebreath whalebreath wrote:

Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

I wanted to state what I think real management boils down to

a) Honestly tracking expenses and income
b) Keeping employees happy to reduce in hiring costs
d) Hiring the right kind of people that can work together.
c) Honestly tracking projects to make sure that they will succeed. If something is not working, change course.

Management is about  maximising profit everything else is superfluous.


 
Maximising profit is a goal, it is not management.  Management is how one attains such a goal.
 
Now having said that, I must admit that I really think, in the last 30 years, the goal has become "maximising management's compensation."  Everything else has become window dressing in order to camouflage that goal.
 
Management now "reorganizes; prioritizes; exceeds customer expectations LOL, and maximises shareholder value" (too often management's shareholder value).  How many instances have there been where share price is manipulated to increase it so management can attain a strike price to exercise it's stock options?  As for SEC requirements beforehand....please.
 
The business plan has become how do we suck as much as we can out of this company while we have the chance?  Managements today are not proprietors like Ford and Westinghouse and Proctor and Gamble.  They are MBA manipulators who know how to buy lawyers and accountants to "make it so."
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2010 at 00:18
Yes, I agree with Pike: maximizing management compensation is their main goal.

Their main skill is cheating the company to make those statements look good. I knew that the president and vice president pressured the accountant to fudge the number. If what they were doing wasn't technical illegal, it should be.

Also, they planned a meeting to the Bahamas a little before the meltdown in 2008 happened. The meltdown was especially hard on what could be considered the equivalent of a shareholders. The logical thing would have been to relocate the meeting to somewhere more modest, but they wanted their vacation on the Bahamas. Many people were angry about this.

And you are also right about stressing that these guys are not proprietors. They don't intend to stay for the long haul. They want to roam companies and pillage them one by one, causing havoc on their wake. They have no personal investment in the company to make it a success.

gcle wrote this great book called "Managers and magic". I bought a copy and read it when I was working at the dysfunctional company. it just opened my eyes to the way of the manager. Managers and magic
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2010 at 01:26
Need to get a copy of Grahams book for two reasons, the info and to support one of our own. Thanks for the link Hugo.

Management is necessary. Almost any time you open a corporation you will need to 'manage' (books, schedules, payroll, people, etc.). There are Board of Directors to pick and meet with, as well as other staff members that are part of ownership and so on. In larger corporations the levels and tiers of management can grow to chaotic levels and that is the type I think you guys are focusing on.

The kind of manager that is really worth their salt is the type that moved up through the system and understands the average employee. Better yet is when the management job is one of many currently at hand. For example, at McDonald's a manager is also an busy bee working the counter, register, assembly of food, storage, and is a team leader along with being accountable for record keeping that day. There is merit in getting one's 'hands dirty' on the job sort of speak. The Management that really is a hindrance are the ones that are inept, not good leaders who rely on their isolated position as they alienate themselves from workers beneath him/her and suck up to higher management only. The other problem are the transients types which has already been mentioned by some of you. Even CEO's can roam the factory and get a feel for the average Joe, whom without the place would be susceptible to all kinds of production issues.

Systems eventually need to work. Orders need to be placed and referrals received . Sales to be made and contracts negotiated. Some managers have the ability to do that.




Edited by Seko - 16 Mar 2010 at 10:22
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whalebreath Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2010 at 07:36
Quote I really think, in the last 30 years, the goal has become "maximising management's compensation."  Everything else has become window dressing in order to camouflage that goal.

Point taken.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Mar 2010 at 20:58
Management is getting other people to do what you want done. It's normally best accomplished by harmonising goals so that what you want done overlaps with what they want done. And doing that means studying what people are de facto trying to achieve, not what they claim they are, or what some economic theory says they are.
 
Human goals have changed very little, if at all, since the dawn of time, or at least the dawn of history.
 
That doesn't just apply to manager-subordinate relations, but, for instance to manager-customer and manager-shareholder relationships. It also has nothing to do with whether an organisation is profit-centred or not.
 
(Note: management also may involve managing things rather than people, but in general that's dull and comparatively easy.)
 
PS: Seko, much as I appreciate the thought, it wouldn't be supporting one of your own. All of my books are out of print, and second-hand sellers don't pay royalties Unhappy


Edited by gcle2003 - 19 Mar 2010 at 21:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kowalskil Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2011 at 09:07
Originally posted by whalebreath whalebreath wrote:

Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

I wanted to state what I think real management boils down to

a) Honestly tracking expenses and income
b) Keeping employees happy to reduce in hiring costs
d) Hiring the right kind of people that can work together.
c) Honestly tracking projects to make sure that they will succeed. If something is not working, change course.

Management is about  maximising profit everything else is superfluous.

But non-profit organizations also need managers to succeed. 

Ludwik Kowalski (see wikipedia)
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Ludwik Kowalski author of Diary of a Former Communist: Thoughts, Feelings, Reality.

http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/intro.html

Diary kept in the USSR, Poland, France, and the USA
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pikeshot1600 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2011 at 10:08
Well, cynic that I am, I must make the observation that managements, in the majority of cases, take care of their own interests first.  "Non profits" have tended to be fronts for either political interests, or for pseudo-fraudulent cash generation machines like "religious" organizations.  There is not a more certain shelter for financial fraud under the IRS code in the US than to be a "church."

I don't know what else to say.  The "non-denominational" churches seem to me (mostly) to be fronts for financial fraud....Hollywood lifestyles financed by stupid contributors.  Politically covered organizations like Jesse Jackson's "Rainbow Coalition" are similar.

I really don't think the leaderships of labor unions are much different.

Nor do I think the management of organizations like the Red Cross are much different.  The United Way is notoriously known as an organization that takes money from working class people (frequently involuntarily) to benefit the interests of middle class interests/upper class interests.  Six figure salaries are frequently involved. 

It is all crap.  Getting paid well for doing nothing has become the American Dream.  Fifty-sixty years ago you actually thought you had to work for the American Dream, like the generation that got through the Depression and won the Second World War.

How naive.



 

Edited by pikeshot1600 - 17 Apr 2011 at 10:40
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2011 at 11:43
Quote Well, cynic that I am, I must make the observation that managements, in the majority of cases, take care of their own interests first.  "Non profits" have tended to be fronts for either political interests, or for pseudo-fraudulent cash generation machines like "religious" organizations.  There is not a more certain shelter for financial fraud under the IRS code in the US than to be a "church."
The public service is probably the biggest non-profit organisation and it definitely needs good managers.
 
I'd add one more category to Hugo's four above: knowing what needs to be done to complete a project. Being able to say "In order to do such and such, we must complete x y and then z"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2011 at 22:31
Seeing that the concept of "management" derives from the theatrical--the word is pure Shakespeare and concerned the operation of a place such as The Globe--management can never be considered in the singular and is always a collective, with all the fundamental flaws that term carries. The only difference between the nouns management and bureaucracy is that the former is premised upon the abstraction of "ownership" and the latter that of "protection". Hence, the more "management" you need the greater the mire enveloping you.
 
PS: Efficient delegation of authority through active channels of communication and not insulation from the problematic are the hallmarks of good management.


Edited by drgonzaga - 17 Apr 2011 at 22:36
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Apr 2011 at 22:55
The real essence of management is being a complicated shallow twat: making your managers think you're awesome despite what the facts might say to everyone else, taking credit for everything, rewarding brown nosers and stamping out innovation and creativity (if you can't attribute it to yourself).

Quote PS: Efficient delegation of authority through active channels of communication and not insulation from the problematic are the hallmarks of good management.


And so very damned rare.


Edited by Zagros - 17 Apr 2011 at 22:57
"There was glory in pissing, Corabb decided as he watched the stream curve out and make that familiar but unique sound as it hit the ground." So true.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2011 at 01:11
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

Well, cynic that I am, I must make the observation that managements, in the majority of cases, take care of their own interests first. How naive.
As a majority I think that's true. However, generally speaking the people employed in non-profit-oriented fields (or fields where professional ethics clash with profit-orientation, as e.g. in the newspaper industry) have different motivations, and are frequently concerned more with non-financial goals that financial ones - or, more broadly, their Maslow hierarchies differ in structure.
 
So they do present a different challenge to the manager. Though I tried earlier in this thread to find a general phraseology covering the whole spectrum.
 
I taught a special course in managing 'non-mainstream' organisations for a while at INSEAD.


Edited by gcle2003 - 18 Apr 2011 at 01:13
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2011 at 01:15
I worked in the non-profit sector, and I would say that they also looked for their self-interest.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Apr 2011 at 01:39
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

I worked in the non-profit sector, and I would say that they also looked for their self-interest.
 
Possibly. But their self-interest differs. So does the basis on which they derive their self-esteem. You might be surprised to find how many writers would rather win a Pulitzer than earn a few thousand more dollars. Or how many actors will turn down a higher offer to have a good shot at an Oscar.
 
Of course, as almost always, material satisfaction is a motive. But if, as a manager, you're only handling people who would starve without their job, you've not got much of a challenge. The reason the subject of management skills became so important in the 'sixties and later was that managers everywhere, in the west anyway, began to be confronted with workforces that didn't need their jobs, because others were easy to get, and certainly did not respond to higher monetary offers by working harder or producing more.
 
What has happened, and particularly in the US, since that time, has been the increasing reduction of the work force to an earlier condition of wage/job dependency, thus weakening the necessity for managements to take account of higher-level motivations.
 
The challenge to management is harder in low-unemployment periods, and much easier in high-unemployment periods, and it is harder in industries with non-financial goals, and weaker in profit-oriented ones. In both the hard cases the difficulty comes from the fact wages have a lower importance in the eyes of those involved.
 
I cherish the memory of a conference some 40 years ago where the London head of McKinsey's (the management consultancy) was addressing a group of publishing executives. One, the MD of a book publisher - and used therefore to the problems of managing authors, asked a question: "Tell me, Mr ______. Why when you say the word 'people' do you do so through clenched teeth?'
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Henry Fleischmann Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Dec 2012 at 14:26
I think one indication of the the problem is that there are no longer three factors of production but four, at least according to most managerial schools. Management is part and parcel of labor, not something existing way up and beyond in some cloud cuckoo land far above where anything is actually done
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