Management? It's Not What You Think!


A lot of things have been said about management over the years: that it’s an art, not a science; that it’s a science, filled with “best practices” and systematic steps anyone can use to get great results; that it’s the fuel that powers successful organizations. Only one thing is for sure: there is no one, easy definition of whatever it is that managers do!

Henry Mintzberg, one of today’s most respected and controversial thinkers on management, has joined forces with other ...

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A lot of things have been said about management over the years: that it’s an art, not a science; that it’s a science, filled with “best practices” and systematic steps anyone can use to get great results; that it’s the fuel that powers successful organizations. Only one thing is for sure: there is no one, easy definition of whatever it is that managers do!

Henry Mintzberg, one of today’s most respected and controversial thinkers on management, has joined forces with other leading business figures to provide a provocative and unusual mix of writing on management. Management? It’s Not What You Think! gets readers thinking as they never have before about the practice of management. Readers will find differing perspectives—and plenty of food for thought—on topics including management terminology and buzz words; myths and maxims; MBAs; management fads; leadership; strategy; and much more.

Presenting articles, book and journal excerpts, letters, web selections, and musings, these pieces will have readers pondering, laughing, and sometimes even crying (for poor old management itself!). This irreverent, highly relevant, and insightful book will inspire managers of all types, spark debate, and renew their passion and interest in doing what they do best… managing.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“…collection of business nuggets…skewers jargon, game leaders and business school players, and various fads that are repackaged to become new fads." IE Industrial Engineer

“It’s a collection of short, opinionated, often-funny pieces from a wide variety of sources that throws cold water on a lot of fashionable management theory with a bracing dose of reality.” —Accounting Today

"...the most down-to-earth management book that I have laid hands on...I loved it!" Advance for Medical Laboratory Professional magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814416846
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 9/15/2010
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

HENRY MINTZBERG is Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies at McGill University in Montreal and the winner of awards from the most prestigious academic and practitioner institutions in management. He was ranked in the top ten in the Wall Street Journal’s list of influential business thinkers.

BRUCE AHLSTRAND is a professor of management at Trent University in Ontario.

JOSEPH LAMPEL is a professor of strategy at Cass Business School, City University London.

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Read an Excerpt

Management: is it what you think it is? And is it only about thinking?

Frederick Taylor gave us time studies a century ago; strategic planning came along a half-century later. Both have left us with the impression that management is all about thinking – systematic thinking. Well, think again a about the art and craft of managing – the seeing and the feeling and the doing, beyond the thinking and the analyzing and the planning.

This is the intention of this book: to get us all thinking again, opening up perspectives on this fascinating business of management, for managers themselves, those who work with managers, and anyone who aspires to join their ranks.

We do this through all sorts of pithy and provocative pieces. Some will make you laugh, others may make you cry (for poor old management itself).

Some will seem wacky, irrelevant, irreverent – good, they are meant to be unsettling, sometimes even to make you angry, so that the irrelevant becomes relevant and the irreverent can sometimes be revered. We’d like you to see and to feel and to do management as you have not before.

Alongside articles from newspapers and excerpts from books and journals a you will find quotes and poems, outbursts, letters and Web things. We have put in whatever we could find that feels interesting, provocative and above all insightful.

For convenience and coherence, we have clustered all this into chapters.

These make a little sense, but you needn’t take them too seriously. Read as you wish, jump around (just as do so many managers) and skip what you care to ignore (unlike successful managers).

The first chapter is a ‘management mosaic’, meant to unfreeze you a little about what you think management is and what you think managers do – especially if you are a manager. Then we muse in Chapter 2 on the

‘management of meaning’, about how words are used and misused to represent the practice of managing.

Then it’s on to leadership. These days, how can any book about management not leap into leadership? But beware: this chapter is called

‘Misleading management’. You just might discover that leadership, too, is not what you think.

Myths abound in management, so Chapter 4 gets into these – fads, clichés a metaphors and more. Maxims, too, abound in management, so Chapter 5

presents lots of these, and what’s wrong with them – including some maxims about such maxims.

Look left or right these days and there you will likely see an MBA (or maybe just look in a mirror). So we consider these masters of managing in

Chapter 6. If you happen to be the one in the mirror, cover your eyes.

We live in times of great change. Have you heard that before? Not as in

Chapter 7. Called ‘Metamorphosing management’, it might just change how you think about change.

To close the book on how to carry all this positively forward, Chapter 8

suggests various ways to manage modestly. Time to think about how to take management well beyond thinking.

Excerpted from MANAGEMENT? IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK! by Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand, and Joseph Lampel. Copyright © 2010 by Henry Mintzberg, Ltd., Bruce Ahlstrand, and Joseph Lampel. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

All rights reserved.

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Table of Contents



The manager as orchestra conductor. Peter Drucker, Sune Carlson and Leonard Sayles 5

Management: be careful what you think. Henry Mintzberg 6

What Management says and what managers do. Albert Shapero 15

Management and magic. Martin I. Gimpl and Stephen R. Dakin 18



Problems, problems, problems. Raymond Smullyan 25

Accenture’s next champion of waffle words. Lucy Kellaway 25

Mana-gems 27

Subject: new element for Periodic Table 29

PowerPoint is evil. Edward Tufte 29

Planning as public relations. Henry Mintzberg 32

The opposite of a profound truth is also true. Richard Farson 33

Systematic buzz word generator. Lew Gloin 35



There are no leaders, there is only leadership. Richard Farson 39

Conversations from the corner office. John Mackey talks with Kai Ryssdal 41

A star executive does not make a company. John Kay 44

Rules for being a heroic leader. Henry Mintzberg 46

A descent in the dark. R.R. Reno 47

Leadership and communityship. Henry Mintzberg 48



Outsourcing the outsourcers 55

Spotting management fads. Danny Miller and Jon Hartwick 55

Musings on management. Henry Mintzberg 58

To err is human. Spyros G. Makridakis 67

CEOs: some gamblers. Henry Mintzberg 69



Laws and rules: from A to Z 73

Parkinson’s law. Cyril Northcote Parkinson 75

Maxims in need of a makeover. Justin Ewers 77

Why most managers are plagiarists. Lucy Kellaway 81



Managers not MBAs. Henry Mintzberg 87

Harvard’s masters of the apocalypse. Philip Delves Broughton 91

Games business schools play. Andrew J. Policano 94



‘Change management’ is an oxymoron. Jim Clemmer 99

Senior managers aren’t cooks, they’re ingredients. David K. Hurst 100

Staying on track. Anon 100

Backing into a brilliant strategy. Richard Pascale 101

A modern parable. Anon 104

Wither our wiki, worldly, wounded world? Jonathan Gosling 105

Crafting strategy. Henry Mintzberg 107



Ye gods, what do I do now? Ian Hamilton 113

A long overdue letter to the board. Henry Mintzberg 113

Here’s an idea: let everyone have ideas. William C. Taylor 115

Managing quietly. Henry Mintzberg 118

Managing without managers. Ricardo Semler 122

Index 127

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