The Management Myth

This is a good article in The Atlantic – The Management Myth.

Most of management theory is inane, writes our correspondent, the founder of a consulting firm. If you want to succeed in business, don’t get an M.B.A. Study philosophy instead

Philosophy is important. A key question should be – how do we know? With our prospective clients we’ve noticed that those who aren’t interested in working with us usually think there’s no room for improvement – however they have no way of knowing that. In fact everything they say indicates there is room for improvement. Since the areas we help aren’t part of the core business we believe it isn’t a priority for the business, which is why they should hire an outside expert. Businesses hire outside people to do their taxes. They also focus on their core competency – they don’t try to deliver their own packages overnight they use fedex. However these outside experts usually don’t understand the business of their clients as well as their clients – so they have to be careful to not fall in the trap of cookie cutter recommendations and leverage the knowledge and expertise of their clients.

It is interesting how in many fields people will talk about and do what sounds good without actually checking to see what the results really are.

It is particularly interesting his comments about Taylorism – people might want to read John Taylor Gatto’s Underground History of American Education. Many of the ‘features’ of schooling come from the assumption that ordinary people are too dumb to do things well and must be trained by experts, when in fact ordinary people can do quite a lot once they put their mind to it.

The article notes how many consultants don’t show or track results. At Berlin Pacific we actually track the results of our projects. We can prove bottom line results. And of course we charge for it.

People may also be interested in Theory of Constraints/TOC and Market Based Management. Both are focused on making money – i.e. cash flow. That is probably why Koch industries has revenue of around $100 billion. The Measurement Nightmare goes in to some detail as to how measure performance – it and The Goal are great TOC books to start with.

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