Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Upper Management 101: Don't Manage The Management

"Don't hire a dog, and then bark yourself."

-- David Ogilvy

Hey, any of you managers out there. . . yes, you! Can any of you relate to this hilarious and all-to-truthful quote? Been hired as a manager and then micro-managed by the owner or executive manager that just can't seem to learn the concept of letting people do their job? Been there, done that, and it ain't a bit of fun. In fact, it is more like torture. They could save a whole layer of management by doing it all themselves!

Here's a favorite quote by General George S Patton: "Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." On the surface, this might seem like mediocre advice, but I think it is absolutely brilliant.

We are all creatures of our habit and our learning to date and so, we know what we know that we know, and maybe we venture out of town just a mile or two, but generally, we stay pretty close to home as a rule. Yet, bring in an out-of-towner and there may be all sorts of foreign ideas and procedures that you haven't seen. Of course, it is natural to have many of them be instantly rejected. You know the drill: 'That's not the way we do it around here! We've always done it this way and we've been successful, so if it ain't broke, don't fix it!' Of course, there is a management theory out there that says, 'break it anyway,' but you know what I'm talking about. We get stuck in our own ruts hoeing them rows and all. Busy, busy, busy.

I really like the Generals phrase, 'don't tell them how to do it, just what needs to get done.' When a company hires a sales manager to manage the sales team and then right out of the gate, they are told not to do it that way, it is sort of like pulling out a gun and shooting yourself in the leg. Then, the more that is injected into the new manager's plan of action, the more shots are fired, until finally, the company is full of holes. All kinds of holes. Enough to sink a large ship, or at least a day cruiser.

Yeah. I'm liking the idea of being left to some creativity. It has a taste to it, kind of like melted milk chocolate, or strawberry shortcake with real whipped cream, or my favorite, Mrs Fields oatmeal raisin cookies. In other words, delicious. I think it is high time we had more delicious across the whole country--or even the whole world.

Like David says, "don't hire a dog and then bark yourself." Amen to that!

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