This site provides a new foundation for 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.
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 managers and executives in virtually every type of organization imaginable.
On this site, you will find three things:
- A blog with postings that add to the foundational material presented
- Copies of academic and practitioner articles which provide background for material presented, particularly in the area of managing organization change
- Content chapters which develop the various aspects of the new foundation we call “Stop Managing People” in a manner similar to that of the courses and trainings I led.
A WORD OF CAUTION. The approach to management offered here requires a shift in understanding both the nature and basis of individual and group performance in organizations. Traditional management assumes 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 these. There is no question that these factors 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 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 used to 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 are notoriously unreliable. If you are looking for quick “tips and techniques” to improve your management, this is not the place for you. However, if you are looking to add a different dimension to your management, a dimension that produces more reliable performance, and you are willing to challenge your assumptions and beliefs about what makes things work, then this is the place.