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Managing Performing Living

Effective Management for a New Era

AutorFredmund Malik
VerlagCampus Verlag
Seitenanzahl353 Seiten
Preis23,99 EUR

Preface to the English Edition
On íts publication in March 2000, the German edition of Managing Performing Living attracted great interest and has continued to do so ever since. People obviously fi nd it useful that – and how – this book describes what all managers require always and everywhere in their capacity as managers. I have been particularly pleased about the numerous positive reactions from the not-for-profi t area, from public service, the education and health services, and numerous other non-profi t organizations. The publication of the English edition offers the opportunity to make some additional remarks and clarifi cations. These clarifi cations refer to obviously prevalent misunderstandings on the topic of management, which have emerged in a small number of reviews and letters I have received. One reviewer was of the opinion that the "new era" mentioned in the sub-title receives too little attention in the book – and with it the much-discussed "New Economy" and the new types of company arising in it which, it is believed, require completely new and different management. I consider this opinion to be a misconception and not just since – in the wake of the fi rst bankruptcies of "New Economy" fi rms – the unshakable truths of business and management have asserted themselves. If this has demonstrated one thing in all clarity, then it is that these companies need exactly what I deal with in this book: correct, competent and effective management – much more so than those companies which are somewhat condescendingly assigned to the "Old Economy" – more often than necessary as a result of a lack of knowledge about the business world. Rarely has something been so universally so misjudged as what is known as the "New Economy". It would be easy to avoid: a minimum knowledge of economic history and a minimum of management expertise would suffice.

My reservations about the romantic ideas and the alleged blessings of the "New Economy" do not mean that I attach no importance to change. On the contrary. In my book about corporate governance1, I described in a long chapter on the "great transformation" the changes in progress and their probable signifi cance. They have been recognizable for a long time, at any rate since the beginning of the nineties. I have discussed the problems and the opportunities connected to them with thousands of managers in seminars. As a result of my many years of work on the systems sciences and cybernetics, and on the phenomena of complexity, self-organization, information and communication, I have been fully aware of the signifi cance of the new technologies. It is precisely from cybernetics that the new technologies arose. That this is unknown to most people who try to impress others with the term "cyber" is one of the countless ironies of history.

If one knows one’s way around these areas a little, it quickly becomes clear what demands are to be placed on management in the "Cyber Age". This applies fi rstly to the management of the technologies themselves. That is to say, to their development and use. But, in particular, it applies to the management of organizations which use the information and communication technologies or whose products these technologies are, and it applies to the manage ment of the people who have to work with them. High tech requires an abundant amount of management precision, and what is needed least of all are romantically sentimental or even quite simply naïve ideas, such as unfortunately prevail in much of the literature and in many training seminars. At least half – and probably many more – of the failed "New Economy" companies failed because of unprofessional, sometimes dreadful management.

But high tech and e-business are by no means the most important aspects of the "new era" although most people see it that way. The subject of this book is of greatest signifi cance for the truly constitutive elements of the "new era" – knowledge work and the knowledge worker – that is, for all those people for whom knowledge is their main raw material and who for this reason in reality cannot be managed in any reasonable sense but who must manage themselves. This goes for people within organizations, but also for those who have to cooperate from the outside with organizations. For knowledge workers, management is – as I show in this book – not only decisive for success but for existence.

But the "new era" of the subtitle possesses a second meaning. I believe there is a good chance that we are moving towards an era in which one of the key thoughts of the book – namely professionalism in management – will have the same status as in any other profession – an era in which management knowledge and management practice are relatively free of fads, charlatanism, empty promises, misunderstandings, false doctrines, and extreme stupidity. Quite rightly, we expect from professionals such as doctors, lawyers, auditors, judges, public prosecutors, teachers, and professors professional competence and responsibility. So why not from managers?

It is scarcely imaginable, at any rate it is not desirable, that in a modern society the management of its institutions, their design, control and development should be conducted with less seriousness, soundness, and conscientiousness than has long been taken for granted in other professions and functions of society. This book is intended to accelerate this process and to contribute to the creation of a situation in which nonsense can be revealed as such and is more diffi cult to propagate.

It is occasionally said that the third part of the title of the book – Living – receives too little attention in the book itself. In a certain way, this is correct. In explicit terms, I have written less about this word than its position in the title would suggest. Implicitly, however, the whole book refers to Living. Summarized in one sentence, my opinion is that those who by and large keep to the suggestions made in this book have a good chance not only of being an effective manager but also of having a life in addition to their occupation – perhaps precisely because of success in their occupation. The art of reconciling working and living in a sensible fashion is less widespread than is desirable. Instead, the misconception is all the more rife that the one must be sacrifi ced for the other, that working and living are irreconcilably contradictory, and that it is therefore necessary to decide in favor of one of the two. It is possible to learn precisely from effective people that this is not correct.

Readers familiar with the work of Peter F. Drucker will recognize the infl uence which, through his books and through a few personal encounters, Drucker has exerted on my thinking about management, and a number of people have detected a reordering and further development of Drucker’s insights in my book. Greater praise is hardly possible. After more than 30 years of working on management my opinions naturally result from many sources. However, one of the most decisive is, without doubt, Drucker and I am proud to have a profound knowledge of his work. His contribution to management – in a widely understood sense – cannot be overestimated. Wherever I have the opportunity – in seminars, lectures, and in my writings – I have pointed out to managers for years, how fruitful it is to read Drucker. How important such advice is I experience practically every day, because far too few have studied him sufficiently.

There are a number of others to mention: for example, Hans Ulrich and Stafford Beer, to mention only two to whom I owe much, and on whose work I have built. In contrast to the widespread fashion in management literature of continually reinventing the wheel, I consider it more important, whenever possible, to build on and extend what has already been achieved. I believe that knowledge can progress and that this can happen cumulatively. It is true that this is disputed in philosophy and in some of the social sciences of a particular school of thought which believes it to be better always to start at the beginning again. I do not think much of this approach. As far as possible, I have therefore adopted existing fruitful fi ndings and insights. It is precisely there that I see a contribution to the progress of management and to the establishment of standards for the managerial profession – which incidentally has absolutely nothing to do with its standardization, as one reader insinuated.

Fredmund Malik
St. Gallen, New Year’s Day 2003

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Preliminary Remarks (p. 153-154)

Principles are the first element of effective management. The second are the tasks carried out by managers. They are the subject of the following section. What we are discussing here is not managers’ activities as such. Hence, I am pursuing a totally different objective from the Canadian management writer, Henry Mintzberg , who attracted attention several years ago with his assertion that managers’ actual activities have little or nothing at all to do with what they are said to be in certain management literature, such as that by Peter Drucker . On one hand, he is right, on the other hand, this completely misses the main issue.

This section of the book will not deal with what managers actually do for the entire day, but what they should or must do if they wish to be effective as managers. The daily routine of managers includes, and in this I am in agreement with Mintzberg, much that has little to do with management or its effectiveness . Among other things, this routine includes commitments related to carrying out, or sometimes even supposedly carrying out, job-related tasks such as dealing with correspondence, negotiations, business meals, covering for others, reading the newspapers, etc. A distinction must be made between job-related and management tasks.

In the following fi ve chapters, I will cover those tasks that I believe essentially determine the effectiveness of management, and they do so in such a crucial way that they must occupy center stage in our discussion of effectiveness: managing objectives, organizing, decision-making, supervising people, and developing people. Without adopting a craftsmanlike, professional approach to carrying out these key tasks it will not be possible to achieve results in any organization. What I have said with relation to principles is also applicable to these tasks and the tools that will be discussed later. The what of management is the same everywhere, the how can and must occasionally be very different.

If this is overlooked, there will be confusion about the content and also its inherent logic. Due to their very nature, carrying out management tasks requires not only a knowledge of management , but also factual and special knowledge . While management tasks are the same everywhere, the factual knowledge required to carry them out is very different. What factual knowledge depends on a number of factors, for example: the purpose and activity of an organization, the industry, the geographical area in which a person is working, the size of an institution, and, last but not least, the manager’s level in the organization. All this should be obvious, but it is frequently overlooked in treatises on management, and in the general understanding of management. For the sake of clarity here are a few examples. The fi rst of the management tasks to be discussed is "managing objectives".

This task must be carried out in every organization. However, the substance of the objectives in a company dealing with aluminum differs from those in a pharmaceutical company, the administrative body of the Ministry of the Interior has different objectives from those of the Ministry of Defense or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and a non-profi t organization that helps young people to beat drug addiction has objectives that differ from one that looks after old people in need of care.

Preface to the English Edition12
Foreword and Introduction16
Part I Professionalism22
The Ideal Manager – the Wrong Question24
The Universal Genius24
The Effective Person26
No Common Ground27
Being or Doing28
Interviews Are Useless31
Professionalism Can Be Learnt32
Erroneous Theories and Misconceptions34
The Pursuit-of-Happiness Approach34
The Great Leader Personality37
Misconceptions and Errors40
The View that only Top Managers are Managers40
The View that only a Person Who Has Subordinates is a Manager40
The View that only Subordinates Need to Be Managed41
The View that Management Is a Commercial Issue42
The View that Management Is a Matter of Psychology43
The View that Management Is Dependent on Culture45
Management as a Profession47
Constitutional Thought47
Management as a Profession50
The Most Important Profession in a Modern Society52
A Mass Profession54
A Profession without Training56
Elements of the Management Profession59
Sound Training Is Possible for Everyone62
Part II The Principles of Effective Management64
1. Simple but not Easy66
2. Useful in Diffi cult Situations67
3. Not Inborn – Must Be Learnt by Everyone68
4. Ideal and Compromise70
5. What Type Should Be a Model?71
Focusing on Results73
Only the Results Are Important in Management73
A Self-Evident Fact?74
And what about Those Who Cannot Accept This?77
Pleasure or Result?79
Contribution to the Whole85
What Matters Is Making a Contribution to The Whole85
Position or Contribution?86
Specialist or Generalist ?88
Holistic Thinking89
Contribution and Motivation90
Contribution instead of Title92
The Consequence of Organization93
Concentration on a Few Things96
The Key to Results96
Rejection without Reason98
Examples of Application101
1. Time Management101
2. Management by Objectives103
3. The New Productivity Problem104
Fourth Principle Utilizing Strengths107
Fixation on Weaknesses108
Making Strengths and Tasks Compatible109
Should Weaknesses Be Ignored?112
No Personality Reform113
Why Focus on Weaknesses?115
Learning from the Great116
How Are Strengths Recognized?118
Types of Weaknesses120
The Two Sources of Peak Performance122
Principle Trust124
Robustness of the Management Situation125
How Is Trust Created?126
Creating Trust Means Listening128
An Interest in Gaining Trust Means Being Genuine128
Management Style Is not Important129
Creating Trust Requires Integrity132
Creating Trust Means Staying away from Schemers134
And if it Is Difficult?134
Principle Positive Thinking139
Opportunities instead of Problems139
Motivation to Self-motivation140
Inborn, Learnt, or Forced?142
Freedom from Dependence145
Doing Your Best147
Management Quality149
Part III Tasks of Effective Management152
Preliminary Remarks154
Managing Objectives157
No Systems Bureaucracy158
Personal Annual Objectives159
The General Direction159
Basic Rules for Management by Objectives159
Warning against “Organizitis ”172
There Is no such Thing as “Good” Organization173
The Three Basic Issues of Organizing174
Symptoms of Bad Organization176
Misconceptions and Mistakes181
The Decision-Making Process189
Participation in the Decision-Making Process200
There Must Be Supervision204
Trust as the Foundation206
How Do We Supervise?207
Measurement and Judgment214
Developing People218
People instead of Employees219
Individuals instead of Abstractions219
Additional Aspects227
And what about all the other Tasks …232
Part IV Tools of Effective Management242
Preliminary Remarks244
Reduce the Number of Meetings247
Crucial for Success: Preparation and Follow-Up Work248
Chairing a Meeting is Hard Work and Requires Discipline250
Types of Meetings250
Meetings Should not Degenerate into Social Occasions253
Types of Items on the Agenda253
No Item without Action255
Striving for Consensus256
Are Minutes Required?256
Meetings without an Agenda257
The Most Important Factor: Implementation and Ongoing Follow-Up258
The Small Step to Effectiveness261
Clarity of Language264
Bad Practices, Unreasonable Demands and Foolishness266
Job Design and Assignment Control269
Six Mistakes in Job Design269
Assignment Control273
Personal Working Methods284
Boring Perhaps, but Extremely Important284
Fundamental Principles of Effective Working Methods286
Regular Review and Adaptation288
The Basic Areas291
The Budget and Budgeting301
One of the Best Instruments of Effective Management, if Properly Applied302
From Data to Information304
Special Tips307
Clear Documentation313
Performance Appraisal314
No Standard Criteria315
No Standard Pro. le317
A Better Method318
Where Is Standardization , Allied to Caution, Appropriate?319
How Do the Experts Do It?320
And what about Those Who Do not Want to Be Assessed?322
Systematic Waste Disposal324
Largely Unknown, but Important324
From the Concept to the Method325
Key to Wide-Ranging Consequences327
The Path to Personal Effectiveness329
What if We Cannot Eliminate…?330
A Tip in Conclusion330
Summary: Touchstone of Professionalism331
From an Art to a Profession333
Appendix: Synopsis338
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