Software for the finest computer – The Mind


Posted by Tim Bryce on September 14, 2015


– Is there any real management going on anymore?

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I have a friend who contends there is no real management going on in business anymore. She argues people are just playing with numbers and not trying to manage their way to success. To illustrate, I have another friend who is a manager of a popular restaurant franchise. I asked him how he manages his people. Interestingly, it is based on such things as sales volume, tips, and satisfaction surveys, which play a major role. From this, a score is computed and the waiters and waitresses are ranked accordingly. These scores ultimately dictate who will be assigned the best serving rotations in the restaurant. Other than this, he does little else in terms of managing his people, and it appears that’s how corporate likes it. Interestingly, he also commented to me there was a lack of team spirit by his people; “Nobody watches the back of another,” he said with dismay.

“No small wonder,” I thought to myself. True, the mechanics of waiting on tables has long been established, but there is a certain degree of finesse required to assure customer satisfaction, and that includes having people work together.

Numbers are useful, but management requires certain people skills in order to maximize work effort. We’ve always defined it as, “getting people to do what you want, when you want it, and how you want it.”

The three tenets of management have historically been: discipline, organization, and accountability. Let’s examine each individually:

* Discipline in itself implies standardization, building things or performing services in a uniform manner, hopefully to a high degree of craftsmanship. Communication and leadership skills are thereby required.

* Organization implies structure and the definition of Who, is going to do What, When, Where, Why, and How. In other words, a definition of the methodologies, techniques and tools to be used in the work effort.

* Accountability refers to assuming personal responsibility for the execution of a given assignment.

All three tenets require a certain level of standardization and enforcement. In fact, you cannot effectively implement any of these without some form of uniformity and coercion. How a manager elects to implement the three tenets ultimately defines the corporate culture and the quality of products produced or services rendered.

The reality though is that the three tenets are considered “not cool” by the freewheeling X-Y-Z Generations who adamantly resist structure, control, and responsibility. To them, Discipline, Accountability, and Organization is just that, DOA – Dead On Arrival. I recently read an article by a management consultant who openly opposes the three tenets. He fundamentally argues it is old and tired and should give way to new techniques. Frankly, I see this as a reckless form of behavior. I would agree that classic bureaucracies impede progress and should be flattened, but we still need the three tenets if we want to produce quality products and services in a uniform manner. In other words, his contention of throwing the baby out with the bath water doesn’t hold up with me. Instead, management needs to reexamine the three tenets and the levels they want to conform to.

Instead of trying to take control of the work environment and working with people, management seems more inclined to play with numbers and just hire and fire people (or outsource them). It’s no small wonder workers feel blind sided when they get booted from their job.

Maybe my friend is right. Maybe there isn’t any management going on anymore; that managers are doing nothing more than just playing with numbers. If she is correct, I’m reminded of the old expression, “Nobody’s driving officer, we’re all in the back seat.” Reckless, very reckless. Let’s hope my friend is wrong.

Originally published: August 13, 2010

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at

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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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  1. Tim Bryce said

    An M.B. of Wilmington, North Carolina wrote…

    “Maybe the new generations should read “Up The Organization” by Towsend. A careful read shows the real basis for teamwork when he suggests that if he is not busy and the floor needs to be swept he picks up the broom and sweeps it. This is a good set of tenets I tried to follow sometimes confusing staff when I got into details deeper than they had been used to from previous leaders. Then they figured out I listened to new and creative solutions.”


  2. Wayne Brown said

    One thing about folks who point to established processes and attack them with labels like “old” and “outmoded”, the skill of “piloting an aircraft” in its most basic form is “old and outmoded” but it provides an important foundation when all the other tools fail. I certainly do not want to see pilots abandon them! The same holds true for managers. In my last few years of the corporate world, we all became “slaves” to the “score card”. Our everything was measured numerically and that in turn became the measure of our performance when it came appraisal time. In truth, the score card only recorded the numerical results but it did not explain anything. Any decent prospect as a manager soon learns that the respect of his people are a key factor of his/her success. I found that being both “predictable” and “consistent” were factors in gaining this respect. Those that will respect you, will follow you and at the same time want to do those things which will help you to avoid failure. At the same time, I see a world that is now populated with younger generations who have missed the most basic things about life and home while having their heads filled with crap by college professors who know nothing of life in the real world. They make up stuff, put a label on it, then take the credit for it. Our world revolves now of defining a process, initiating the process, and gaining the result. The thought as to whether that result will be the desired on is lost on the blindness to the process. A good example is to conclude that your sales force did not reach its annual goal while ignoring the fact that production did not provide the products to do so. That is what happens when old, outmoded methods are discarded.

    Liked by 1 person



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