In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, I started another blog:

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Management Review

I've been managing people, in some capacity, for over thirty years. This management ranged from being the lead man of a two man crew, to 58 employees working to bring a closed shipyard into a working shipyard. I've learned a lot, and with this knowledge, I've learned some things that are good and things that are bad.

The basic premise of management is to coordinate, and be responsible for a task. It's pretty simple, but as the size of the task grows, errors are compounded and the final costs for these errors can lead to disaster. To add insult to possible injury, you're not just coordinating the task, you're making judgement calls on the individuals that are part of the project. Since everyone is different, everyone has to be treated differently. When a project reaches a certain size, the project manager reaches a point they have to trust their lower management people to make these calls and only meddle when the project is jeopardized by these decisions.

One of the worst things that can happen is having an incompetent person in charge. If this person has the most authority, the entire project is almost doomed to failure. The basic good management skills are lacking, so the entire endeavor is like a ship without a captain to make the final good decisions. Lower management, with the usual politics and self-determined importance, fails to realize the final goal. Different units of management will eventually start bickering, which can lead to intentional efforts to circumvent the success of another unit. Petty rivalry can turn into all out wars. At this point, the project starts failing; especially if the highest authority fails to recognize and correct the problem. Costs rise, corruption becomes acceptable and morale declines.

Poor managers are surrounded by people that make them feel comfortable without regard to their qualifications or the path to the position. Favors are granted, which are unethical, or directly violate standard business practices. Decisions are made, and policies implemented that have no basis in experience, or show any thought of unintended consequences. The reactions can be as minor as petty bickering to key necessary people leaving to prevent being involved. Their reputation may be at stake, or they know the only way is down and leaving before the drop is the best time to leave.

So, why am I writing this post? I'm not seeing sound management by the current administration. Fiscal responsibility is ignored. Petty administrators are leading key departments. Favors are given by creating czars positions, which not only cost beyond what is necessary, the people with these positions were given the power which is not theirs to hold. Costs are ignored and many lower managers are misusing funds for personal gain. Otherwise, the entire United States is being run by some of the poorest managers I can think of and it's on my dime. Even worse, the costs will extend to generations yet to be born. In the business world, the business that operated in this manner would have never reached this point. Those responsible would be bad news in the business world and their careers would have ended.

While Congress controls the purse strings, and the Supreme Court acts as the final arbitrator, the final day to day business of this country is the responsibility of the President. It they don't have the experience, the result is what we are now experiencing. We reached this point because too many voters didn't pay attention to what was said before the last election and fell for the empty rhetoric that leads bad managers to key positions. We're all paying for this now, although I don't take responsibility. For those that did, and still think your decisions is correct, then you need to think carefully of the consequences. When there are bad managers, the end result is all resources are depleted, opportunities are lost forever and the people that are most responsible suffer the least and do so with arrogance until there's nothing left. Until that time, they'll do anything to continue their power, even if it destroys the lives of anyone that gets in their way. They accept no responsibility and they have no qualms about their actions.

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