Just over a month ago, we prefaced the current series on the implications of certainty and blind faith with a reference to a bit buried in an item from The Economist about the employee-friendly policies of the CEO of SAS; here it is again:
The purpose of treating his employees well is to succeed in business.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is what you do, and what you should resolve to do better every day of this and every year. You are not at work to form camps along the battle lines drawn by various management experts. Your job is not to achieve leadership nirvana, nor to bestow the blessings only you can bestow of “empowerment” or the like on your juniors.
Rather, your job is to succeed in business.
Now, of course, you are likely to look for advice and ideas to help you accomplish this, and you are wise to do so. But in the course of this search, I venture to insist that you will also be wise to bear in mind the considerations we spent the better part of last month discussing, beginning with the piece, Radiating imbecility, a month ago today.
The reason is that we need to practice our profession of management on the basis of principles that will, ultimately, help us succeed in accomplishing our organizational goals. When new management concepts or methods are presented to you, you need to evaluate them on the basis of their connection to your bottom line.
The problem is that so many of the glittering concepts offered to us are inflated by brilliant, coherent, and compelling woven arguments that float enticingly before us. They are held aloft by worthy moral and social precepts. They depict our roles and ourselves in enticingly attractive ways. We reach out for them, but they drift away, often with us in aimless pursuit.
Why? Because they aren’t anchored to premises that stand up to the glare of direct examination, or to the atmospheric weight of real work. Unfortunately, for that same reason, they typically fail to accomplish what they promise – for you and for what they promise you will become renowned for. Sometimes, this failure isn’t merely unproductive, it is destructive.
And the worst of it is that so much of it is presented by people with unimpeachable reputations, records, credentials, who express themselves with such unswerving confidence that we – well, see the previously referenced series, starting here, for more on that.
We’ll attempt to close it out, tomorrow, with an essay on how to avoid falling prey to them – or to the temptation to offer them, ourselves. See you then!
Here is a list of all the posts in this popular series:
- Radiating Imbecility
- Rays of hope
- Pulsating inconsistency
- Radiating confidence
- Blind faith
- Mirror, mirror . . .
- Socratic genius
- Socratic ignorance
- Socratic method
- First principles
- The Socratic attitude
- Why we do what we do
- Recon by fire
Today’s tip: Nobody trying to promote a particular management theory or methodology is likely to be actively striving to deceive you, as in the clever video offered in this post by Cam Beck at ChaosScenario, but the lessons it suggests and that are drawn and elaborated so insightfully by Cam are well worth looking at in the context of our current discussion. Please do stop over to view the piece.
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