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Management 102

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Say What?

A few years ago International Business Machines (IBM to the youngsters) came up with a slogan they plastered on all their walls. It was just one word, a devilish word, because it is so easy to dismiss but yet defines who we are. The word is:

THINK

Now don’t start laughing to yourself because we know that we all think, but do we really?

The idea IBM was trying to get across was that we need to give more thought to what we do and especially to what we say about our existence. Look at it this way...

The past few decades have made it easy to be a manager despite the fact fewer people really care to engage in meaningful work. Success has come to many businesses because of a growing economy. Great expectation abounded to those educating themselves (or so they thought) to become fatter cats merely because they had great intentions or were led to believe their studies confirmed their destiny. Unfortunately, when the bubble burst, there went the dreams that were in reality hallucinations 

There just isn’t a substitute for getting your hands dirty. You shouldn’t even be considered capable of managing a burger joint if you have not turned over more than a few patties. 

Years ago I participated in a program launched by a Dr Louis Sullivan called Opportunities Industralization, where we were trying to get more minorities in the Denver area to be part of the work force. For my part I could offer almost unlimited opportunities in the service station business (as it was then) without anyone leaving home but there was one requirement, and that was each participant started at the bottom. But all my prospects wanted to start as Managers. An entry level job was degrading. Hard on the manhood.

In public life we have the same problem. One day you are a candidate for a position that has no job requirements, and if elected you become a manager or as some have called them, manglers. The result is we have lots of OJT (On the Job Training) at the taxpayers’ expense. When I was trying to help Cliff Chapin with county personnel problems it was evident that few, if any, elected officials knew the first thing about managing people. A proposed manual would only be a guide and then it had to first be read (FIRST problem) 

The same goes for this latest caper of generating ideas for running the county by setting up a committee. No matter how well intended that idea may be leadership isn’t found in a committee report. The County Commissioners should generate their own ideas for, after all, they are the elected and responsible. There isn’t anyone on any committee that is accountable  to anyone. The so called Think Tank mentality is like offering to hold a guy’s coat while he fights someone. Or as my Okie friends used to say, “They don’t have a dog in this fight.”

You campaigned for the job, you spent money (hopefully lots of yours) to get the job. It is incumbent on you to do the homework. If it is burdensome you should not have worked so hard to get the job. And you can’t run on your past. You bring to the job certain skill sets that hopefully are not geographically oriented. To have a vested interest in what you believe, you should do the work yourself. Outside stimulation never is quite the same as what you tell yourself. The committees’ report will always be just that with ownership optional.

Admittedly change can be difficult. But change is as certain as death and taxes. The best way anyone can navigate through life is to do what IBM said so long ago...THINK. Think about what you are doing and when you have done then do it over again You are not going to over do it if you are the one digging and scratching for solutions. After all, that is your job.  

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Author info

Paul Rechnitzer Paul Rechnitzer Transplanted 30 years ago, Paul is a retiree from the oil business who knows no other place he would rather live and breathe local history.

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Say What, think, management, politicians

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