Simple Model of Management

A Simple Model of Management

A manager has the responsibility that products are delivered, or services are performed, but he's not supposed do that work himself, as he has workers to actually do the work. If he works, he's also a worker. If he manages, he's a manager. Basically, management is 'waste' as it doesn't directly deliver the products or the services. Hopefully for the manager, he's 'necessary waste' if he educates, coaches, supports, or otherwise helps the workers to do their job so much better than they were already doing themselves, that they earn the manager's salary in addition to their own. After some time, however, the workers have been educated and coached so well, that they don't need the manager anymore to earn that excess of salary, so the manager becomes real waste, unless he thinks about additional ways to make the workers even more effective and efficient, so that they keep earning his salary in excess of what they would earn themselves without the manager.

Deming teaches us that the workers have only little influence (say, 15%) over their own shortcomings: most of the problems (the other 85%) of getting optimum results effectively and efficiently are caused by issues beyond the control of the workers. These are caused by 'the system' as Deming called it, the system being the responsibility of management. Management actions can be: education of people, better tools, better environment, better raw materials, preventing problems before they become a problem for the workers, ...., whatever is needed to help the workers, doing their best, to succeed better.

The manager, however, is a poor guy having fallen upwards (ok, perhaps not so poor), so he also cannot control all sources of problems. He has his own 15% of shortcomings plus the 15% of his people. The other 70% are beyond his control and are therefore to be handled by the next level of management, for whom he is a worker.

This continues till we reach the top manager, who has nobody to help or direct him, so he has 100% responsibility for his own failures, and for all the other failures as well...!

One of the problems with management is that most managers never have been taught this simple management model. They are busy with very important things like "strategies", "meetings", meddling in the responsibilities of people below them, being very busy because so many things seem to go wrong. If they only started with their main task: facilitating (teaching, coaching, removing bottlenecks) that the people below them can do and are doing the right things right.

If management would simply first do these things, they would get a lot of time to do all the other important things, however, now these other things have relevance, because at least the work that generates the salaries is going well.

See also the "Local Loop Principle".