A Few Management Thoughts

Joan Marques - Ed.D., MBA.
Burbank, California

As another workweek approaches its end I am contemplating on the useful points that were made in my interactions with others during the past few days. In two interesting sessions with a group of management students, a number of valuable thoughts were exchanged.

    1. Beware of falling into the trap of thinking that your methods and actions are the only correct ones. It's the easiest mistake to make, but the consequences can be disastrous to your reputation as a manager, for this thought process radiates narrow-mindedness to the max.
    2. Building on the first statement: be aware of the fact that we tend to become mindless when we perform routine tasks. A small manifestations of this phenomenon is: driving to work or home without remembering afterwards whether you stopped for lights at the right time: you just placed yourself on "auto-pilot." A large manifestation of mindlessness is continuing to do things the way they have always been done without even wondering whether these processes still make sense, and, worse, without wanting to consider any suggestions toward change. Be mindful instead of mindless, and keep wondering if what you do is still appropriate given the changing circumstances.
    3. Value competition, but nurture cooperation. In the business world, and even among colleagues, we are constantly encouraged to be better than others. However, what we often overlook is that fact that constant striving can lead to fast but mediocre results. Instead of constant pushing toward being the best in our own small area we should take some time now and then to look at the big picture, which requires cooperation in order to make our entire department, organization, city, county, state, country, and world a better place.
    4. No matter what management style you propose; you should always keep the contingency approach in mind. Every decision you make is subject to the circumstances under which it appears. There is no single right answer to anything. Everything depends on how's, why's, where's, when's, and who's.
    5. Even the most outdated seeming management theories still have their applicability in certain settings. Take bureaucracy: in spite of the negative connotation this theory carries nowadays, it is still the most appropriate way for keeping a gigantic operation well-organized. Many of today's top global corporations have used ľand are still using- this system, be it with some flexibility measures at the right places, such as intrapreneurial departments in a large work-environment. But it remains a fact: where there are thousands of people involved in the process, there needs to be at least a minimum level of clarity regarding reporting lines and assigned responsibilities. Flexibility and a boundaryless approach work better in smaller, more intellectually oriented settings: different strokes for different folks

The managers who will be most successful in modifying co-workers' behavior are the ones who don't mind modifying their own behavior to start with. These are the managers that enhance the learning mentality in their workplace. They try to lay their hands on every release of knowledge, whether it's a seminar, a book, or a movie, and as lifelong learners, they inspire others to do the same.