Thursday, October 11, 2012
• Effective philosophy of management
• Maslow’s theory
• Theories X,Y, L & Z
• Knowledge workers
• Listening for understanding
• Effective organizational policies
• Fear on the job
Lecture 5 is brief and only covers the first bullet because the associated exercise takes some time and is critical to your eventual success in improving your organization’s effectiveness.
An Effective Philosophy of management should, according to Management in Action by William Hitt, p.13:
– Be the foundation stone for the organization
– Include a clear statement of values, goals and strategies
– Be internally consistent
– Demonstrate an awareness of a larger environment
– Be operational (This means it can be interpreted and put into practice easily.)
– Be internalized by all members of the management team
– Be communicated to all employees
– Be self-renewing
You can easily test the effectiveness of your organization’s management philosophy. Ask yourself do you know what the philosophy is without looking it up? Do all of your staff members know the philosophy well enough to know how the organization ranks the following seven parameters in relative importance:
5. customer satisfaction,
6. environmental issues and
7. involvement in and support of community activities?
If not then your organization’s management philosophy isn’t effective or isn’t being communicated effectively. At this point we aren’t addressing what constitutes a good or bad philosophy. The point is that even a good philosophy isn’t effective if it isn’t understood and practiced by all employees. As a manager it’s your job to make sure your organization’s management philosophy is communicated, understood and practiced in your organization.
Often serious problems are caused by individuals acting outside the organization’s philosophy of management with the intent of helping the organization. That is one reason it is essential to make sure every employee working for you understands your organization’s management philosophy and knows that the organization does not want to be “helped” by actions inconsistent with the philosophy. It is cheaper to pay for avoiding problems up front than to try to cover up or fix problems that are not ethical or consistent with the management philosophy. All employees will not act consistently with the organization’s philosophy unless it is made crystal clear.
One example of such unwanted “help” is time charges. Some employees think they are helping the organization by shading their time charges toward direct charges to some project or client rather than accurately recording indirect time. This results in management not knowing the true indirect costs and inhibits them from finding and fixing problems that are causing unnecessarily high indirect charges. Employees must be trained that management wants accurate time charges, not only because this is a legal and ethical requirement but because management cannot do its job if it gets inaccurate data.
1. Review your organization’s documentation on management philosophy and determine how the seven items listed above are ranked in importance by this documentation.
2. Reflect on how you and other managers behave in interacting with subordinates. Are your actions consistent with the stated philosophy of management? For example, if the documentation says customer satisfaction is number one do managers always place customer satisfaction ahead of cost, schedule and quality?
3. Ask three or four of your direct reports or peers to write down the rank order of importance of the first five items on the list and compare the results. Do all of the lists match? Are the lists in agreement with the documented philosophy of management?
The results of this exercise tell you how much work you have to do to build the basic foundation of an effective organization. If your behavior matches the documentation and if your subordinate’s lists are consistent and also match the documented philosophy then your organization has communicated its management philosophy effectively. If not then you and other managers have work to do. You cannot be an effective leader nor have an effective organization without an effective philosophy of management as defined above.
A goal of this course is to help students develop their leadership capabilities and ultimately their organization’s capabilities to the point that the workers can be empowered to control their own processes without micromanagement. This cannot be achieved if the workers have not internalized the organization’s philosophy of management. Think for a minute what would happen if an organization empowered workers that each has a different opinion of what is most important to the organization. Conflict and chaos would result. If you find that your management philosophy is not effective then the first step in your leadership action plan must be to correct this deficiency. There is no need to document this step in your leadership action plan; just do it.
For the purposes of this course I assume there is a documented philosophy of management for the student’s organization. Further, I assume that students are at a level in their organization that changing the documented philosophy is not within their control. Therefore the primary task for students that finds their organization’s philosophy of management fails the effectiveness test in the exercise above is to ensure that everyone in their organization knows and understands the documented philosophy. The best way to accomplish this is to hold several group meetings to discuss the philosophy. It is not sufficient to distribute copies and ask people to read and follow the philosophy. People will have questions on why the philosophy is what it is and they will interpret it differently. Holding group discussions can bring people to a common understanding and a better appreciation of why they need to be aware and follow the documented philosophy. If the student has the authority and available budget then holding off site meetings is well worth the extra effort and cost for discussion of philosophy of management. People are better able to think objectively about topics like management philosophy when separated from the concerns of immediate work.
If you find that the pace of blog posts isn’t compatible with the pace you would like to maintain in studying this material you can buy the book “The Manager’s Guide for Effective Leadership” at:
or hard copy or for nook at:
or hard copy or E-book at:
Posted by Joe Jenney at 11:31 AM