your organisation through process
requires a higher level of skill and diligence than simply dabbling
on a one-off basis. For a start, there is a greater need to be
able to consider the causal effects and the implications of any
change, and secondly, the resulting impact is greater than with
Fortunately, a number of tools
and methodologies have been developed to help with the task.
These have arisen from the application of systemic thinking in
a range of subjects, been adapted for management through the
experience of others undertaking this work, and have been progressively
refined by repeated application. In short, they reflect years
of learning in a practical, transferable process.
The temptation, however, is to
ignore all this experience. To assume, despite our lack of experience
in this work, that we know better, and to plunge ahead with our
own ideas (half formed, untested & unrefined).
I know, I do it too (in other areas). And I pay the price!
So, why do we do this? The reason
is probably a mixture of blind optimism, gung-ho attitudes, over-confidence,
and a degree of arrogance. But it is also in large part down
to a lack of time - a lack of time to truly explore and understand
the role that we now need to adopt as managers.
The consequences are inevitably
inferior solutions, delivered inefficiently, which prove largely
ineffective. The proof of this lies in the performance of those
companies companies who have adopted the disciplines, compared
to their performance before adopting the disciplines - and, if
we are honest with ourselves, it also lies in our own experience
of change: once we strip away the excuses and the rationalisations,
we know in our heart of hearts that management simply has to
get more professional at this.
But what do we mean by more professional.
What are the disciplines we are referring to? Below is a version
of the disciplines for doctors and engineers, recast for managers.
Management disciplines are essentially common sense, but the
discipline lies in diligently applying it.
disciplines may be further explored in the section on
Ensures a clear
understanding of how value is added to the customer through extensive
contact and communication
requirements from what has historically been provided, unless
complaints indicate otherwise
Ensures a consistent
set of values which are commonly shared
on a narrow set of budget or financial targets which have been
harnesses the potential of people
Will respond to
obvious deficiencies - otherwise is ad-hoc and reactive in developing
designs and develops all processes
Sees the work as
a number of tasks with no clear improvement targets, unless problems
data flows to invoke responsibility and enable accurate decisions
Has very little
objective data as to the variability of performance, and decisions
are largely subjective
Has a clear strategy
to monitor and improve all of the above
Simply has a focus
on getting through each year, and correcting problems as and
when they occur
Seeks to develop
their own approach through assimilating new learning on management.
Continues to manage
in 'their own way' and holds new ideas and approaches at arms
to 'Systematic approach'
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