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What the Internet Can't Teach YouAgeless Information for the Information Age
By Lou Pritchett
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 Lou Pritchett
All right reserved.
Chapter OneOn Management
Management: (From Old French ménagement, the art of conducting, directing; from Latin manu agere, to lead by the hand) characterizes the process of leading and directing all or part of an organization, often a business, through the deployment and manipulation of resources (human, financial, material, intellectual, or intangible).
Each morning, millions of managers, from supervisors at McDonalds to Fortune 500 presidents, get up, shave their faces or apply their makeup, and go to their respective jobs—desperately wanting to succeed but becoming totally frustrated. Why? Quite simply because they realize that the old system of mentoring, storytelling, and face-to-face discussions is rapidly vanishing and they desperately miss the days where learning via listening and dialogue was standard procedure.
This book targets the American manager, construed in the broadest sense as any of the millions of entrepreneurs, educators, real estate agents, executives, restaurant owners, travel agents, secretaries, building contractors, druggists, clerks, sales reps, doctors, and anyone else whose job requires them to work with and train people. All share a common goal of getting the best out of their suppliers, coworkers, and employees, but these millions of men and women are finding that the Internet is no substitute for face-to-face dialogue. Instead, they realize that all of the marvelous high-speed technology that is available at their fingertips is a far cry from the touch of a mentor or a boss or a friend who sits with them and works through the issues.
For more than ten years, I searched for a book, any book, that would lay out the pitfalls of the almighty Internet and its beguiling ability to subtly replace one-on-one personal contact and learning. I discovered hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books and articles on everything, including how to manage, how to lead, how to train, how to transform, how to reengineer, how to motivate, how to downsize, how to grow, how to inspire, how to market. I found no lack of good material written by smart people on every subject even remotely associated with the theory of managing and leading both large and small business enterprises.
Astonishingly, I also discovered that there were no books that called attention to the dangers of this new and mind-boggling thing called the Internet replacing the human touch, oral tradition, human passion, and the atavistic pulse within us all that asks, "how may I serve you?" Nor were there any books that summarized the personal and institutional learning of the millions of men and women who had gone before—no one had summarized this ageless information into a simple, easy-to-comprehend guide.
The Internet, for all its wonderful positives, had once again demonstrated the wisdom of the old Jesuit saying, "Your greatest strength, faithfully carried out, can eventually become a weakness." Loosely paraphrased, I believe that the Internet has moved many to use electronic communication only, leaving a frigid void in old-school interpersonal communications where we learned through caring, sharing, and human-to-human dialogue. We are rapidly losing the one-on-one, the storytelling process that the cultures before us so successfully used to transfer rules, mores, acceptable behavior, taboos, etc. to those who would follow. Text messaging, (thumb-to-thumb communication, as my good friend Forrest Cottrell calls it), and e-mailing, as fast and expedient as they are, are no substitutes for face-to-face dialogue and even confrontation.
It is now my hope that this book will accomplish two goals: first, I hope it will share with today's managers some of the ageless wisdom hammered out by those who have gone before; and second, I hope it will sensitize those managers who, today, are trying to survive in this take-no-prisoners environment, to the pitfalls of assigning all of their communications to the computer, for a false god it may be.
When asked to list specifically what resources they manage, most managers name products, machinery, buildings, land, and trucks. Most never mention their key and most expensive resource: people.
"Fish discover water last." Taoist saying
Managers must be customer-driven not product-driven. By design, a product-driven company is internally focused whereas a customer-driven company is externally focused.
"Business is not just doing deals; business is having great products, doing great engineering, and providing tremendous service to customers. Finally, business is a cobweb of human relationships." Ross Perot
Managers must never fail to tell the truth and must demand that their employees always tell them the truth. Failing to be truthful in any environment is destructive.
"Truth is the property of no individual but is the treasure of all men." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Managers must understand and accept that they are not smarter than everyone reporting to them.
Have you ever met one person who was smarter than ten?
"None of us is as smart as all of us." Phil Condit
Embrace rather than resist change. Change is the only constant in the universe, and failing to recognize this fact is a leading cause of corporate failures.
"It's not the strongest of the species who survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change." Charles Darwin
Understand that serving the customer is paramount. Customers demand custom, not generic, solutions to their problems, and they seek products they trust, not just products that meet a need.
"Suppliers have market power because they have information about a product or a service that the customer does not and cannot have—and does not need if he can trust the brand." Peter Drucker
Manage risk rather than avoid risk. You will never steal second base with one foot on first.
"There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction." John F. Kennedy
It is pure folly when managers attempt to overcome any and all objections before trying something new and different.
"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome." Nathan Cummings
Managers must be able to communicate both vertically and laterally. Some managers are world-class in communicating up and down the organization but find it all but impossible to communicate with their peers and counterparts.
Great leaders all have one trait in common: they are, first, great followers.
More companies die of indigestion than starvation. Steve Jobs.
Managers have reached the apex of maturity when they realize that becoming a "builder" is more rewarding than remaining just a "fixer."
The Deadly 90–9–1 Paradigm
90 percent of managers spend today thinking about yesterday.
9 percent of managers spend today thinking about today.
But only 1 percent of managers spend today thinking about tomorrow.
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Alan Kay
Managers are awarded authority from their superiors, while leaders earn authority from their subordinates. It is leaders, therefore, who make the difference.
Managers must never fear criticism; rather, they must welcome it because criticism is the fuel that drives self-improvement.
"You can't operate a company by fear, because the way to eliminate fear is to avoid criticism. And the way to avoid criticism is to do nothing." Steve Ross
One of the cardinal rules of baseball is that the umpire at third base doesn't call balls and strikes at home plate. It's not because he isn't qualified, rather it's because he is out of position. What we see depends upon where we stand, and this principle applies to management as well.
The greatest challenge for management in the twenty-first century will be problem seeing, not problem solving.
Never create an environment where subordinates feel that they must tell you what you want to hear. Management cannot participate in the problem-solving process if they hear only the good news.
"The people to fear are not those who disagree with you, but those who disagree with you and are too cowardly to let you know." Napoleon Bonaparte
Managers must not confuse management and leadership.
Management is of dollars and things. Leadership is of hearts, souls, and spirits.
"True wisdom involves the head, the heart, and the hand." Thomas Berry
Managers must develop a shared vision for the future—one that is shared with employees, shared with customers, and shared with suppliers. Shared visions are always win-win.
"Where there is no vision, the people will perish." Proverbs 29:18
Management must be willing to proactively change the rules of the game. Perfecting a game that is no longer being played is equivalent to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." Lewis Carroll
All business is dynamic, never static. Those businesses that remain narrowly focused on doing things right, as opposed to doing the right things, are doomed.
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Peter Drucker
Good managers never repeat the same action or process and expect different outcomes. Insanity is commonly defined as doing the same things over and over while expecting different results.
"If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted." Francis Bacon
Delegate! The genius of management is the ability to skillfully deploy resources. This means letting go and allowing others to participate in the game.
"If you treat staff as your equals, they'll roll their sleeves up to get the job done." John Ilhan
Permit mistakes! The very best companies have a high tolerance for mistakes because they realize that without the risk of making mistakes, innovation is impossible. Risk taking and mistake making go hand in hand.
"Well, when you are trying to create things that are new, you have to be prepared to be on the edge of risk." Michael Eisner
One of the greatest misconceptions of management is the belief that for them to win others must lose.
"I have found no greater satisfaction than achieving success through honest dealing and strict adherence to the view that, for you to gain, those you deal with should gain as well." Alan Greenspan
There is not a manager alive who knows all the business issues better than the combined knowledge and skills of his or her employees at all positions and all levels throughout the company.
Provide constructive feedback, whether it be criticism or praise. Prompt and honest feedback is the lodestone of sound employee attitudes.
"Sandwich every bit of criticism between two thick layers of praise." Mary Kay Ash
When you shoot the messenger, you instantly stop receiving reliable messages.
"Trust men, and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Trust, as much as capital, is a resource mandatory for system optimization. Trust is the universal language for all successful partnerships! Without trust there can be no cooperation among customers, suppliers, teams, departments, labor, and management.
"If you don't trust your associates to know what is going on, they'll know you don't really consider them partners." Don Soderquist
Many corporate problems stem from management insecurity. What managers should be striving to do is to come to work each day willing to be fired for challenging the system and promoting change.
Managers must never surround themselves with Yesmen and women. Creating an environment where your people always agree with you is a prescription for failure. The greatest gift you can give your people is the freedom to speak out and push back. It is a win-win since you will obtain sound advice, and they will receive the satisfaction of contributing.
All that we send into the lives of others comes back into our own. Edwin Markham
To believe that nothing will work as well without you as it will with you is arrogant ego at work and is the number one creativity killer within an organization.
The most effective managers realize that they have available (free of charge) three human resources: superiors, peers, and subordinates. Those who use only one or two are dramatically shortchanging themselves.
Managers must be willing to share information with subordinates.
The old days of "need to know," where all information was guarded and held close to the chest by managers who feared that subordinates couldn't handle it, are history.
"In the past, a leader was a boss. Today's leaders must be partners with their people; they can no longer lead solely based on positional power." Ken Blanchard
The most effective managers never confuse what needs to be done with what's nice to do.
When the business politics of who you know become more important than what you know, productivity is dramatically curtailed.
It is a reflection of superior leadership when people perform above and beyond because they want to, not because they have to.
"You can employ men and hire hands to work for you, but you must win their hearts to have them work with you." Tiorio
Listen and learn from people many levels below you in the organization; the people near the bottom of the organization know precisely where the problems lie and will gladly tell you if you but ask and allow them to.
"When you confront a problem you begin to solve it." Rudy Giuliani
To learn how to manage you must first learn how not to manage.
It's not what you don't know that hurts you; it's what you do know that isn't true.
There is a night-and-day difference between playing to win and playing not to lose. Ask any NFL coach!
"We lost because we told ourselves we lost." Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy
The worst problem for any manager is not recognizing and accepting that she or he has a problem.
Good managers are good listeners.
They adhere to the subtle lesson of nature—man has two ears and one mouth.
"Know how to listen and you will profit even from those who talk badly." Plutarch
The leader's job is to teach so that people will know, to share so people will grow, and to enlighten so people will have hope.
"A leader is a dealer in hope." Napoleon Bonaparte
Excerpted from What the Internet Can't Teach You by Lou Pritchett Copyright © 2011 by Lou Pritchett. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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