Bear and Bruce

I read a couple of books recently that demonstrate the importance of a major skill in management.  The books were: “Mud, Sweat and Tears” by Bear Grylls and “If Chins could Kill!” by Bruce Campbell (Google them if you are unsure as to their identities).  Not exactly standard management texts you’d think, but you’d be surprised.

Pillar One of Flintloque’s learning tool ‘The Five Pillars of Quality’ TM is “Management Review and Communication”.  It is Pillar One for a reason and is the most important part of a management system.  This is because the primary task of management is to make decisions.  Whether you are a driver, a digger, a pen-pusher or CEO of BP, your most important function is to make decisions…which way to go, where to dig, when to call or how to increase shareholder value.

Now, there is one caveat to this; the decisions made must be “informed” otherwise they are merely the result of opinion and/or guesswork.  As Harlan Ellison put it, “You are not entitled to your opinion; you are entitled to your informed opinion.  If you are not informed on the subject, then your opinion counts for nothing and so it is with management decisions.  I’ve worked with many managers over the last couple of decades and some have been so eager to be seen making a decision that they forget how decisions should be made.  They have come to see making decisions as their job and, unfortunately, in some cases, see telling folk what to do as a validation of their position, and so they forget that the folk at the coalface tend to know more about their jobs (how to drive, dig, deal with customers, etc.) than their managers do.

When helping with an implementation, I emphasise that this is why Pillar One (Management Review and Communication) is so important.  If the “information pipework” isn’t in place, then nothing is going to work properly.  Review involves looking at the data, performing some analysis, deriving information and then (and only then) making an informed decision.  The good managers find out what is going on before leaping blindly into the dark.  Then, having sufficient information to hand, they communicate the decisions throughout their organisation or department, so that everyone knows not only what they are doing, but, most importantly, why they are doing it.

Bear Grylls and Bruce Campbell, though very different people doing very different jobs, both explain in their books what decisions they made in their respective career paths and why.  They started with an idea, found the information necessary to pursue that path, made the decision to dedicate themselves to doing what they were doing to the best of their abilities and, once the decision had been made, informed everyone around them (or those who needed to know, in Bear Grylls’s case!), so that they could help.

So, it makes me proud to know that Flintloque’s system for helping managers to manage better has been deployed by an SAS veteran and a “mid-grade, kind of hammy actor”!