Sunday, 19 February 2012

Management: Don't Forget The Real Work



DON'T FORGET THE "REAL WORK"

A short however critical lesson!

"Real Work" is term coined by Abraham Zaleznik (Professor Harvard Business School) to describe management activities related to producing products and services, offering them to a market and making sure we satisfy our customers. 

He contends that many managers spend too much time focusing on organisational processes and politics (the "rituals of psycho-politics" - roughly defined as "the art and science of asserting and maintaining dominion over the thoughts and loyalties of individuals...") or the pursuit of social expectations in the workplace.

As Zaleznik suggests managers need to exert considerable effort doing the "real work of thinking about and acting on ideas relating to products, markets, and customers"

Functional and technical competence needs to be developed. This important issue and you should do considerable research on competence modelling as part of your early time in management and this issue will be covered more fully later when I upload "COMPETENCE". The real work of the manger according to Zaleznik should always include 'the thinking that informs and directs action'. 

The next article on management is:
FAMOUS GURUS THOUGHTS ON MANAGEMENT
Main website is at: orglearn




20 comments:

  1. I agree more time is spent in dealing with organizational politics and in doing this most managers forget what they really need to accomplish in alignment with corporate goals.

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  2. I think it is important to have a balance on meeting short-term goals ("real work") and long-term ones, such as planning for the future, being a liaison with other divisions, administrative aspects that might have tangible effects down the road. The real question is how much work is focused on creating value for the company and how much of a person's efforts are focused on getting ahead in ones career. They aren't mutually exclusive but sometimes they can work in opposition to each other.

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  3. Interesting read, every action starts with a thought.

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  4. Interesting. In thinking about it I am realizing that so much of what has gone on in offices I've been a part of has in fact been related to politics and personalities rather than creating real value for customers and stake holders.

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  5. 1) Really like short, pithy, on-target blogs. This one qualifies.
    2) Love such blogs that get me thinking. This one did.

    Thank you, Ric. This starts my day off right!

    Sarah
    MySmartPuppy.com

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  6. Managers, like anyone else engaged in producing a product, value, or service, need to focus on the green light stuff, the things that truly matter in terms of measurable output related to his and the company's goals. However, as you pointed out, individual managers often get mired with concerns that are important for the whole team (organizational processes and politics) to function but don't directly contribute to production or achievement of goals. The key is focusing on what your refer to as "real work" and finding the right balance to not allow minor functions from interfering with the achievement of goals.

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  7. The only thing that consumes more time than office politics is Facebook and at least you can block Facebook.

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  8. Good point Emmanuel. And this is so true Ric: many managers focus on asserting and maintaining dominion over the thoughts and loyalties of individuals. And that's hardly good managing. Some sales managers I've worked have been almost anti-productive in their endeavours to dominate the team's thinking. Best one I ever saw led from the front, set himself a higher quota than anyone else. His team rocked with respect, positivity and productivity.

    Thank you Ric

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  9. The moment that managers loose contact with the workplace and only circle in the 'higher levels' of a organisation, then they should stay alert that there were not new levels created to delegate the same work to, as done before without these new levels. More levels brings more time consuming and more workforce costs without any use.
    This sound very logic, but many organisations and administrations go bankrupt on the extra layers of burocration who has lost contact with the workplace.

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  10. I 'think' that the thinking that informs and directs action may actually be the thought itself. Perhaps I've read 'As a man thinketh' by James Allen to many times... LOL :)
    Great post!

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  11. Interesting blog. Managers/leaders have to be in touch but improvement is often in the eye of the beholder. We are implementing an open book management system, some staff are all for it, other taking a wait and see stance. I think leadership is driven from the heart and vision of its leaders.

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  12. ok trying again as it didn't go up last time.
    I believe management equals service, you service your staff to enable them to get their jobs done, you service your boss to help him achieve his targets and in between time you work out how to do both.

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  13. Good insight into the time wasting that can occur when you take your eye of the ultimate goal or target. Effective management is ensuring all the staff reach their potential whilst still delivering seemless service and grade A product. It rarely happens! Further, on the job training often falls short of desired levels and fades over time. Humans appear to be programmed to run at a certain rate for a period then slacken off with a worrisome curve.

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  14. Interesting blog post Richard. I agree that too much managers doing the wrong thing. They should put more time in managing the company and employees. Helping them to improve, to develop themselves.

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  15. Agree with you Ric, but from my own experience, in real life you have to do both. I was a manager in local communal firm. I was always with my workers, and as a handy man, had to try everything: driving a truck, planting trees, ... had to try every new tool. What I got ?
    Most of the stupid workers don't respect me anymore, and even start to think that they can do my job ( they don't know what I did to buy new truck, how I get new contract for us and so on ).
    And local politicians don't like that, too, so I get fired.
    I don't feel sorry at all, cos they gave me a chance to work what I love, woodworking and last two years internet marketing, but...

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  16. managers, in itself mean they have to manage.....If they are not thinking on that side, they are not doing justice to their job....The best thing they should be doing is as Erik Van Erne said, with whom i agree, "they should put more time in managing the company and employees. Helping them to improve, to develop themselves."

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  17. Managers must display their own knowledge of the work to the workforce so they are admired for what they can accomplish by their workforce as well. Too often managers forget to show their workers that they do know what they are doing, and this will endear them to their workers.

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  18. Richard Thanks very interesting article!

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  19. Hi friends,
    I 'think' that the thinking that informs and directs action may actually be the thought itself.so thanks for it.........

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  20. I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff on your post.
    ___________________________
    project managers

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