Targets Work!

In praise of the goal On the 25th of May 1961, in a speech before the joint session of Congress, the President of the United States set his country a goal: This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him […]

Clear Desks and Other Management Claptrap

Busting management myths I love social psychology, it fascinates me.  I particularly like experiments.  It is one thing to put forward a theory about why people behave the way that they do; it is another thing altogether to prove it with some data. Let me give you an example, how should you set up an office? […]

A World Without Objectives

Objectives: could we manage without them? How would we cope?  The guys in H.R. would throw up their hands in horror. We couldn’t rate our staff. Pay for performance would flounder. Annual appraisals would become a farce. We wouldn’t know what we were doing. How could we manage our businesses? But how do we manage with objectives? They just get […]

The Management Dilemma

Scientific management Some people think management is a science.  It has clear rights and wrongs, with best practices to follow and benchmarks to beat.  Success lies in targets, goals and objectives; building the right processes and having the right infrastructure.  Organisations are just machines.  By applying cold hard logic you will get results. Clarity is a good […]

Why Do You Have a Boss?

Pre History In the primordial swamp, single cell organisms developed.  They formed symbiotic relationships.  These relationships needed controlling.  So the organisms developed hormones, nervous systems and brains to help them function. The bacteria came before the lion. Ancient History On the fertile plains, people grouped together.  They built villages and towns.  As the towns grew they […]

Blame and Ignorance

I made a fool of myself yesterday I had a road rage incident.  Well it wasn’t so much road rage as pedestrian rage. I was crossing the street on my way to the railway station and some clown in 4 by 4 damn near ran me over.  It ended up in a slagging match between me and […]

How Good Are Your People? Comparatively?

The theory of comparative advantage In 1817 the economist David Ricardo developed the theory of comparative advantage.  It explains why nations trade. He gave this example to explain it: Scenario 1. Imagine the economy consists of two countries that produce both cloth and wine; Portugal and England. Though their output is of equal quality, Portugal is […]

I See You

Recognition Connectivity between human beings is the beginning of synergy.  It is written in our genetic code and expresses itself in our drive to join with others and be part of a group.  This is how we are wired.  It makes sense that the most effective management styles leverage this aspect of our species’ psyche. I […]

The Burden

We all carry a mental burden A burden of things we worry about: We worry about our pension We worry about where we are going to get lunch from We worry about buying a present for our mother’s birthday We worry about our next performance appraisal We worry about.. I think you get the gist… […]

Preventable Harm

A definition: The unintended physical injury resulting from or contributed to by medical care (including the absence of indicated medical treatment), that requires additional monitoring, treatment or hospitalisation, or that results in death. A simpler definition: A medical accident. A few statistics: The medical industry 2014: The estimated number of premature deaths in US hospitals […]