This site provides a new foundation for accomplishment and effectiveness in management, a foundation that does not involve or require managing people. This new foundation is based on an understanding of organizations as performance networks in which it is the quality of the deliverable transactions between groups and individuals that determines whether a task, goal, or project is successfully achieved or accomplished. By deliverable transactions is meant what parties deliver to each other in terms of their communications (e.g., requests, authorizations, promises), their products (e.g., reports, analyses, prototypes), or the services they provide (e.g., IT repair, training, consulting). The quality of transactions refers to the degree or extent to which what is delivered is complete, accurate, on time and does what its suppose to as agreed to between the parties involved.
In this new foundation, management involves creating, maintaining, and managing agreements rather than people. The focus shifts from “What is it about them?” in terms of their personality, motivation, etc. to “What is missing in the management of our agreements?” as the basis for improving and maintaining performance. In this new foundation, we engage with people to create agreements and then manage those agreements, not the people who made them.
The material presented here is the basis for all the undergraduate, masters, and executive education courses and programs I taught for the last 25 years of my career at The Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University in Columbus. OH. It is also the foundation of my wife Laurie’s management consulting work. The principles and ideas here have been put into practice successfully by hundreds of practicing executives, managers, and employees in virtually every type of organization imaginable. Regardless of your position in an organization, if you depend on others to provide you with information, resources, data, or anything else in order to accomplish your job, then the material provided here will help you be more effective and successful.
On this site, you will find a blog with postings that pertain to, complement, or develop the new foundation for accomplishment. You will also find a page on our award winning book The Four Conversations: Daily Communication that Gets Results. And, you will find copies of academic and practitioner articles which provide background for material presented, particularly in the area of managing organization change.
A WORD OF CAUTION. The ideas offered here require a shift in understanding both the nature and basis of individual and group performance in organizations. Traditional approaches assume that performance is a function of individual/group characteristics and attributes (e.g., motivation, personality, skill, etc.) and that the way to attain reliable performance is by manipulating people through motivation, inspiration, threats, cajoling, etc. There is no question that personal capabilities contribute to performance, but they are not the total picture. The material presented here starts from a different perspective and as such challenges some of the received truths and accepted wisdoms of traditional performance and management. We have found that it takes managers earnestly engaged in learning and applying this material days and weeks of practice and engagement before they become accustomed to and proficient with it. And when they do, they are amazed at the difference it makes in obtaining reliably high performance from those they depend on, even from those who historically have been unreliable, without any additional changes in such things as their authority or performance management systems. If you are looking for quick “tips and techniques” to improve or tweak how you manage, this may not be the place for you. However, if you are looking to add a different dimension to your effectiveness in accomplishing the things you want and need to accomplish, a dimension that produces reliable high performance, and you are willing to challenge your assumptions and beliefs about what makes things work, then this is the place for you.