Tuesday, June 19, 2012

More on Management

U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Jan Shultis
Yesterday I noted that one of my favorite business books is available on Kindle and added a couple of quotes from the book, Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits.

Thinking it over, I left out my favorite quote:
Excellence: Or What the Hell Are You Doing Here?

If you can't do it excellently, don't do it at all. Because if it's not excellent it won't be profitable or fun, and if you're not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing here?

More than that, one of the fundamental concepts of Mr. Townsend's work is the importance of management's primary job - that being giving the employees the right tools they need to do their jobs.

Not tools that "sorta maybe kinda" allow them to get the job done (often by using
work around" of their own creation), but the right tool in the right hand at the right time.

Not tools that have the "potential" to get the job done in some idealized future, but tools that work right now - tested before they are introduced to the workforce.

Any lessons that you choose to take from that concept and apply, say, to the Littoral Combat Ship, well, that's entirely up to you.

Of course, there is this from Phil Ewing:
“We’re making it up as we go” and “We don’t even know what it is yet!” are two Big Navy rallying cries for LCS, and they’re also two reasons why the program continues to have so many skeptics in and out of uniform. People want a ship to be a ship, not for a multi-billion dollar defense program to be a free-form jazz odyssey.
You know, what prompted some of my return to Up the Organization was our conversation on Midrats a couple of weeks ago concerning "Disruptive Thinkers" and by Galrahn's post over at the USNI Blog, Diversity Is Currently Dead in the DoD, Redundancy Reigns, referring, of course, to intellectual diversity - replaced, at least in Galrahn's view, by apparent "group think."

Which leads me to another Townsend quote:
Disobedience and Its Necessity: A commander in chief [manager] cannot take as an excuse for his mistakes in warfare [business] an order given by his minister [boss] or his sovereign [boss's boss], when the person giving the order is absent from the field of operations and is imperfectly aware or wholly unaware of the latest state of affairs. It follows that any commander in chief [manager] who undertakes to carry out a plan which he considers defective is at fault; he must put forth his reasons, insist on the plan being changed, and finally tender his resignation rather than be the instrument of his army's [organization's] downfall. citing Napoleon, Military Maxims and Thoughts

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