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The Journey: ‘Management + Motivation’

To ‘Leadership + Inspiration’

- Sachin Karve

 

“Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their jobs done.” – Peter Drucker.

 

The above statement first shocked me especially since it comes from one of the Guru’s of Management. However, after some thought and considering the realities of today’s corporate world, I soon realized that the statement had a lot of truth in it.

 

Management is probably one of the most misunderstood or rather half-understood concepts, and people have often applied it as per their own perceptions. I guess one of the reasons for this problem is that most of the Management experts in order to sell their services have attempted to make the concept very difficult to understand. The intention may be to make people feel that oh!! Management is so difficult a concept, that we need an external consultant to explain it to our people.

 

The only person I personally came across, who had a very clear understanding of Management theories, was Prof. Dr. Shriniwas Gondhalekar who taught us Productivity techniques and the Japanese Management principles. He was deeply influenced by the work of Deming, Taiichi Ohno and others, and he effortlessly passed it on to us. Later in my career, I came across Mr. Shashank Vaidya, who was a living example of all these management and Leadership concepts. In a true sense he appeared to be ‘Leadership’ Personified.

 

Management and leadership have been explained by several people over the years. There are hundreds of books available on this. However, a very few touch the core of the issue. The rest just reach the periphery.

 

I was once reading ‘The Leaders handbook’ by Peter Scholtes, where he gives a very interesting account of how management emerged…

 

“On October 5, 1841, two Western Railroad passenger trains collided somewhere between Worchester, Massachusetts and Albany, New York, killing a conductor and a passenger and injuring seventeen passengers.  That disaster marked the beginning of a new management era." 

 

He goes on to explain how the term "Management" was unknown in the days of cottage industries.  As business grew and became geographically disperse in the 1800's, a way to run these businesses had to be found.  But there were no models outside the church and the military, so investigators into the train-wreck disaster looked to the Prussian army for a model.  And there they found the classic organization chart - the one we know so well today.  Scholtes calls it the "train-wreck" chart.  It was revolutionary at the time.

 

If we read management theories that emerged from 1900’s to date, we would come across a number of individuals who tried to understand how people could be made to perform at the workplace, and as the industry grew and matured, many of these models proposed grew and developed as well.

 

There were some models which were incorrect (Not actually incorrect, but probably had a short term impact, and could not be very effective considering the larger perspective) while there were some which even today are applied successfully.

 

In the early 1900’s, scientific management was proposed by F W Taylor, where the focus was on production lines, using Money as incentive for work. However these theories had problems of their own, and though lines moved increasingly quickly, workers could stand the pace for only a couple of years. Why it didn’t matter much was that, at that time, there were many others ready to take their place, and so production never stopped.

 

Around 1920, Henri Fayol came up with ‘Universalism’ where the process approach was highlighted. Concepts such as Planning, Organizing, Staffing, Commanding, Coordinating and Controlling were proposed. We all know that these laid the foundation of Management principles as we know them today.

 

At around the same time, Max Weber realized the need to achieve consistency which gave rise to need for rules and regulations. He came up with the theory of bureaucracy (Before bureaucracy became a bad word!!)

 

The idea was to make all tasks routine, each person an expert in what he was supposed to do, and all transactions documented and standardized.

 

Regular activities were distributed as fixed official duties. All activities followed the organizational hierarchy. However, in this officials started operating as formalistic personalities without becoming emotionally involved. 

 

In the 1930’s and 40’s, Elton Mayo came up with the Human relations theory. The Hawthorne experiments monitored the impact of various conditions on productivity, considering experimental and control groups. The results were surprising, and highlighted the fact that 

People are not the rational and economic beings as assumed by classical theorists

Social interaction was important, and people work well if they feel valued. The need for control and freedom were also apparent.

 

In 1950’s and 60’s, Maslow’ motivation theory made people understand the hierarchy of needs and what motivates people to perform. The Biological needs(Hunger, warmth, rest), Safety needs(Protection from danger), Socialization Needs (Love, affection, affiliation), Self-esteem Needs (Autonomy, dignity, respect) and finally Self-actualization needs(Realize one's potential through competence, creativity, and achievement) were identified.

 

In 1960’s and later, Peter Drucker introduced the concept of MBO(Management by objectives). His focus was on Strategic management,

Setting objectives for staff, and assessing achievement. The emphasis here was on decentralization of functions, and also authority and responsibilities.

 

Peter Drucker was helping organizations prepare to deal with sudden changes and take advantage of new situations. He was helping organizations create a Competitive advantage.

 

Around the same time, Douglas Mc Gregor was working on people management and identified two different approaches that Managers has towards their employees. The X and Y Theory of Management emerged. The theory proposed that X type bosses believe that People have an inherent dislike for work and will avoid it whenever possible. People must be coerced, controlled, directed, or threatened with punishment in order to get them to achieve the organizational objectives. People prefer to be directed, do not want responsibility, and have little or no ambition. With Theory X assumptions, management's role was to coerce and control employees.

 

In contrast, Y type bosses believed that People by default had a desire to perform and excel, take responsibility, and therefore, do not need to be controlled and monitored. This approach in true sense is the ‘Leaders’ approach.

 

Soon, WS Ouchi, in 1980s suggested the Democratic approach: Theory Z (Neither X Nor Y, but instead Z)

 

In the period following 1980’s and later, people started realizing that organizations that wanted to have a long term strategy could not afford to look at ‘People’ lightly. This would have to essentially be a high focus area.

 

People such as Ken Blanchard and many others highlighted the need for organizations to move from Management to Leadership. He taught people the secrets of One-Minute management. These were simple things that make a huge different at the workplace. He was one person who really made Management Simple. (This is one of the traits of a leader. Leaders are great simplifiers.) The book Heart of a Leader has been a true inspiration to several leaders across the world.

 

Today, there is a major shift in the way people look at Management. Earlier, everyone was talking about motivation. Today, the same people are talking about Inspiration. In fact the flaw with management and Motivation is that first of all, people don’t like to be managed, and then, ‘Motivation’ happens by an external stimulus, and though it can create an impact, once the stimulus is gone, the performance would come down. As against this, Inspiration was found to be far more effective mainly because the source of inspiration would be within people, and therefore they did not need any external stimulus to keep their performance alive.

 

People realized that the need of the hour was not mere Managers, but people who could go beyond, and become Leaders.

 

According to me, today the industry needs to understand that Managers at best will create good followers. Never good leaders. Leadership is however something that ends up creating Leaders and not followers. Leaders have the ability to initiate a chain reaction and be a catalyst to create a large number of Leaders in turn all over the place.

 

Even today, Leadership as a concept is also Misunderstood by many. People think that leadership is all about People focus. That’s not true. Deming was the first one to suggest that if a leader wants to really create change at the workplace, he needs to first set the Systems right. Lousy systems combined with Brilliant people don’t work, he said. But fantastic systems and average people will still be able to perform. He emphasized the need for Leaders to maintain a balance between System and people orientation.

 

The emphasis on Leadership + Inspiration has started growing, and today it is beyond doubt that what we need is Leaders who can transform their workplaces, processes, people and most importantly—Themselves.

 

The principle that drives Transform to Lead is that ‘Transformation always starts Within… Not Without. The objective of ‘Transform to Lead’ is to bring Leadership principles to people. Make them so simple that everyone can relate to them. Keep all Jargon and nonsense out of it, and let people know how to effortlessly transform themselves first and then set out to transform the world. 

 

 

- Sachin Karve

Trainer & Consultant

Transform To Lead

 

 

 

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