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Posts Archive

August, 2017

Not the briar patch, Brer Trump!

March, 2017

A Serious Case of the DTs

January, 2017

The American Yeltsin
Sunlight Through Troubled Times
Beyond Zealots and Cold-War Warriors

December, 2016

A Vandal at the Gates of Rome

October, 2016

Are you conscious?

September, 2016

Brave New World?

August, 2016

Stop, for a moment.

July, 2016

Rupert's Coup

March, 2016

Between a Shill and a Hard Case

July, 2015

Swimming in a sea of sugar

June, 2015

Information Rich, Attention Poor
Nerds need to get out more ...

March, 2015

There is a homunculus at the end of the garden path

October, 2014

Determination, not dreams
Welcome Home
Addicted to GDP
Irony?Karma? - take your pick

August, 2014

History? Whose story?
Marketing Ebola

July, 2014

As above, so below

December, 2013

A time for tolerance

November, 2013

Thinking out of the xBox
The old ones are the best ones ...
Welcome to the Gulag

October, 2013

A timely response to spying

September, 2013

Obedience and the Machine
Ban the bible?
Fracticide - don't do it.

July, 2013

Serfing, USUK

June, 2013

Deafened by gossip

May, 2013

Who needs words...?

April, 2013

Why would they stop?
It must be true

March, 2013

Beyond belief

February, 2013

RBS: doing Fine, not Time
Pillars tumbling down
Trouble with models
A matter of perspective

January, 2013

Royal Promo
Boiling the Lance
Boson Brains Rule

November, 2012

Burning symbols

October, 2012

Charles and Jimmy's little secret
Beach bums and Magi
A Reality Check
Happy Birthday

August, 2012

A journey through riotous times

July, 2012

Caring for life
Not everyone for Tennis?
A banker lie? Unthinkable!

June, 2012

A cynical ploy
Collateral damage for The United States of Europe
Will you walk into my parlour?
Beams and motes
From one Jubilee to another

May, 2012

Perturbations
A crazy idea
The course of time
Sorry, Harry

April, 2012

Cracks in the Rear-View Mirror
A keeper of sheeple
Principled Policing
Say goodbye to Betty
Lessons learned
Causality and good news
Manufactured irrelevance
Corporate responsibility

March, 2012

Poppycock - without question
Who's pushing your buttons?
Investigate the Blair-Murdoch Conspiracy

February, 2012

In Praise of The Seven Liberal Arts
The real story
When giving is taking
Giving it all away

November, 2011

Poking a hornets nest
Wealth of Nations poured away
Squeaky and the Paedophile Prince
Boiling frogs
Death of an industry
Change blindness
What a world ...

October, 2011

Gifts
Pictures and words
Screeching to a halt.
Taxing noise

September, 2011

Hand over your money
Breeding psychopaths
Mr Fox, is the hen house safe?
A ludicrous Conspiracy Theory
Can you believe your eyes?
Getting eye contact
Partners in Crime

July, 2011

It was the Wettins 'wot won it'

May, 2011

Kevin
Heir apparently

April, 2011

Putting Emergencies in Context
Underground networks travelling First Class

March, 2011

Be careful what you ask for
Water - a tale of two countries
Newspeak
Here we go again ...
Wake up!!!

February, 2011

Priorities
The right stuff
Revolution! ... and yet, and yet.
Follow the money
Shh - don't tell the children
Does the MoD have a Cunning Plan?

January, 2011

Met Office caught in winter weather whitewash
Read between the lines
The new parable of Noah
Banking on People

November, 2010

Wettins don't say sorry
It's just not fair ...
Remember, remember ...

October, 2010

Kindness sees no crime
Pundits in the frame
Killer drones target the middle class
A tale of two Charlies

September, 2010

A failure to discriminate ...
Good Grief
A rent-boy's rent-boy

August, 2010

Size psycho-fancy
Baiting a Wikid Trap?

July, 2010

... at the gates of Rome
Monday musings

June, 2010

Guilty - but not charged
Psychopaths at the door

May, 2010

ConDemned to the Shock Doctor
Driven by metaphor
Guns and Banksters
Death of Old Conker

April, 2010

Bankster at bay ...
Nuke Iceland?
Smokescreen

March, 2010

It's how you say it ...
Bullying Manner
Quelle surprise!
Iceland - showing the way.

February, 2010

Small steps to a far place
Seeds of silence

January, 2010

Liar
So who needs people?
Late and censored
Freedom for life

December, 2009

Patterns
Testament
Boy-friendly!

October, 2009

Fools served by Zombies
Webs
BBC dogs that didn't bark ...

September, 2009

Taken Hostage

August, 2009

Have a good weekend ...
High Frequency Trading ...
Money money money
Fit for a politician

July, 2009

Inside clouds

June, 2009

Fond thoughts of Tony Blair ...
A good day ...
Midnight musing

May, 2009

aaah diddums
Zal may ...

April, 2009

Echos of a dark past
Sharks in the Shadows
Worlds Apart

January, 2009

Money Matters
Killing History
Magic

December, 2008

Home improvements
Get the Picture?

November, 2008

Barak - the movie

October, 2008

Won't get fooled again
Bankers, all of them!

September, 2008

And The Winner is ...
Light relief
A Financial 9/11
That's Lucky!
On this day

August, 2008

Mark My Words

July, 2008

The Management Myth
Sense Making Questions

June, 2008

Beware this Griffin
42 Day Folly
A Tortured Silence

May, 2008

A new Dawn needed
Is Justin Webb A Neo-Con?
The Puppy, the Mountain and the Fascists

April, 2008

Attention Pays

March, 2008

Fat Cats and Pork Pies
Fed up Darling?
Swearing - it's just not British!

October, 2007

TsarkoMania

The Management Myth   July 27, 2008

There is an on-going debate about the need for senior professionals to become more business aware. The idea being that this would widen their view of the professional context and increase understanding of the real purpose of corporate strategy. There are many ways that this can be achieved.

For example IT professionals should study biology and learn to play music, that way they would begin to understand complex systems, social workers would benefit from a grounding in hard sciences and logic, while psychiatrists and accountants should just get out more! It is certainly important for people to develop multiple perspectives of the world. In my view a major source of human problems is attachment to a single viewpoint, which becomes elevated to the status of religion, and can not be questionned.

Like many good ideas this one has been misunderstood and extended, so that an entailement has developed which says that 'management' is professionally agnostic and is a context free discipline in it's own right. It is not uncommon for instance to find non-IT professionals positioned as IT directors, with many subtle but disastrous consequences. One of the UK's major Departments of State made an accountant it's IT Director a little while ago, and proceeded to place him in charge of a multi-billion pound out-sourcing contract. While the accountant could count how many beans would be saved by making people redundant, he had absolutely no idea about how large IT projects work.

This discipline-free approach to management has reared it's head in the UK Police Service, where there is a current debate underway about whether or not a Chief Constable should come from the ranks of the police. One argument is that a police force is just like a commercial activity, with a large financial turnover and thousands of employees. The problem with this argument is that it is just plain wrong. A police force is not in it for money! It does not sell things, it is not in competition with other police forces (or should not be), the public at large are not clients and I doubt very much whether the criminal community see themselves as customers.

A good policeman knows his business: knows how to lead, inspire, manage and account for his team. I know a very senior Deputy Chief Constable who spends every Christmas Day visiting his officers while they are on duty - it is not written into his job spec. but I think I know why he does it, do you?

A senior police officer will have accumulated many years worth of hard earned wisdom and paid for it with emotional and experiential scar tissue. He or she will have developed instincts and a nose for solutions that can not be taught in a management class. But the reverse is not true. With appropriate coaching and mentoring, that same police officer could quickly get up to speed on the latest management thinking. Management is not rocket science – (but then, nor is rocket science).

The myth which has arisen is that management is important for it's own sake. Thus we have managers with a raft of management qualifications – who don't know the business. It is as though there is a movement to depersonalise and dehumanise business. This movement treats business just like a machine, in which people are the cogs. All management does is pull the right levers, press the appropriate buttons and read the latest reports.

This makes management more remote from the people doing the actual work: they are no longer living, breathing human beings with families, cares, mortgages and weaknesses. They are now parts of the machine that can be made redundant in pursuit of cost savings. The more remote they are, the easier it is to run the business 'efficiently'.

The problem is that this de-personalised view of business misses the point. Real business is a dynamic, vibrant, deal-making product of human social interactions. Business processes, equipment and ICT systems are only costs until some human being adds value through usage. It is people who are innovative and creative, not the systems. The trouble is that people are also imperfect, error prone and ultimately uncontrollable. They will never work like machines (thank goodness).

Good managers treat machines clinically and humans humanely. Bad managers do not know the difference.


Posted by Nicholas Moore    12:52:02 AM
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