Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

A Crisis of Management not Economics Add to ...

To add one other thing, part of the problem is this whole phony separation between leadership and management. The idea that somehow they are the big shots who do all of the leadership, and it is everybody else who does the scud work as managers. Nobody wants a manager who is not a leader, and nobody should want a leader that is not a manager. A leader who is not a manager does not know what is going on. Also, just one last point, we make a lot of fuss over micro-managing, meddling in the affairs of your subordinates. Macro-managing or macro-leading is a much bigger problem: people who are managing at such an abstract level that they do not know what is going on and that includes all of those bankers that bought all of that mortgage junk.

KM: They are just so disconnected from the business that they just go out there and do a lot which is not connected to which they should be focused on?

HM: Yes, they are disconnected from everything but the bottom-line and the numbers.

KM: You are saying that we should not look to American management. Is there somewhere else that we should look to?

HM: Well, I think that there is a lot of sane management around. There is still sane management in the United States, but unfortunately a lot of it has to be found outside of the publicly-traded corporations, although there are exceptions, because of the pressures. I publish with a company called Berret-Koehler and it is wonderful. I just love the guy who is running it, and they are concerned, they are committed, people are enthusiastic, they belong. So there are lots of organizations like that. Historically that was American management but they have lost it in the big corporations, or at least in most of the big corporations they have lost it. What was called Japanese management, which people forgot about, was still the idea of engaging and working with your employees. Toyota has maintained that and look at how Toyota is absolutely creaming General Motors right now.

KM: What should a manager do, what should an executive do? What is your idea of their role these days?

HM: There are lots of roles for executives, but a big one is to bring out the energy that exists naturally within their own people. They are stewards, to use a term that has been used by other people. They are stewards of the organization. Sure there is a strategy element, and a direction element and a decision-making element but a lot of it, especially in so-called knowledge-worker organizations such as high-tech and so on, is to energize or to bring out the energy that the people have naturally. This means that it is not hard to do if you respect them, and that is a big part of what I think. So, we could use a lot more modest managing. I think that we should close down MBA programs, at least with regards to the training of managers. MBA programs train financial analysts, they train people in the business functions but they are absolutely dysfunctional for management. They distort the practice of management because they take people, and I am not talking about e-MBA programs with older people, I am talking about traditional MBA programs with younger people. They take people who have not managed, or who have hardly managed and then give them the impression that they have taught them how to manage because they did a bunch of case studies. I mean, George Bush did a lot of case studies, and Iraq to him was a case study and he knew nothing about Iraq. He probably still knows nothing about Iraq. So, they are not trained to understand and respect their businesses, they are trained to flip from one case to another and it is very dysfunctional.

KM: How do you train managers then? If that is not a great way, what is the right way?

HM: You take people who are managers, number one, and you build on their own experience. You build on their own natural experience; you have them spend a lot of the time in the classroom reflecting with each other, often in small groups, on their own natural experience. We have developed all kinds of programs, we have a Masters program called the International Masters for Practicing Management, and we have a healthcare version. We have something called Coaching Ourselves where people can do it on their own, inside their own organizations and so on.

Single page

Follow us on Twitter: @GlobeBusiness

 

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories