The first confusion: the similarities between management and leadership
Management may be a glue that combines society and organization, but leaders decide where to go and who to go with.
Warren Bennis, founder of organizational development theory, once said: “Leaders are doing the right thing, and managers are doing things right.”
I would add another difference: the word “management” is often used to describe the organization of systems or things, and the term “leadership” we usually refer to people.
Think about it, in organizations that usually treat people as the primary or sole resource, such as universities or professional groups, often appoint senior positions with principals, deans, partners, or “monitoring” that I have served; However, in areas where the system is a key factor, such as the catering, transportation, or infrastructure industries, these are collectively referred to as managers.
The vocabulary we use once again shapes our way of thinking.
Management language is the language of engineering. It regards people as the human resources they use and the organization as a machine that can be precisely adjusted, controlled and oriented.
Although no one likes to be managed by themselves, they never feel that being led by others is detrimental to their dignity. This is because leaders realize that people are individuals who have their own ideas, and they need to be persuaded, motivated, and guided.
Leaders talk about vision, mission and passion, while managers care about goals, control and efficiency.
Managers rely on the power of positions and administrative authority that are granted, and leaders need to rely on their own efforts to obtain that authority. For every organization, both management and leadership are needed, but they are all used in the right place.
Too much management and too few leaders will create the kind of organizational confusion that is highlighted in the survey. In addition, the systems on which the organization operates must be well designed and managed. And those well-designed management systems must be operated by leaders to provide core and energy. Unfortunately, most of the time, the demand for bureaucracy is absolutely dominant so that the need for leaders is ignored.
For example, we will not say to lead a bureaucracy or a system. However, it must be emphasized that the organization is a community rather than a machine, the machines need to be managed, and the community needs leadership led by management. Political historian Giles Radice investigated the strange combination of managing countries at different times in history. The first pair he examined was Churchill and Attlee, who together led the major leagues that ruled Britain during the Second World War. They needed each other: Churchill was a great persuader and The dreamer, Attlee is the implementer, the empowerer and the natural chairman.
Both of them are required: Churchill is clearly the leader, but the lack of managerial leaders is ineffective; Attlee establishes and maintains a system that keeps the country running, in the sense that he is the manager.
They are wise men who know their talents and limitations. Few people can do the roles of leaders and managers at the same time, although both are crucial.
Successful managers in politics and business often find themselves in the role of leader, although they have a good grasp of the system and details in the past, but this is far from replacing the current leadership vision they need and The ability to persuade. A leader who does not have an implementer is also likely to fail.
There have been too many writings about leadership. For me, these can be summed up in one sentence. This is the advice I have heard before to a friend who wants to be a leader: “Know yourself, understand you. Where you want to go, know the people around you, stay humble and listen.”
The second confusion: exists between trust and control
Trust is more cost-effective but control is safer, perhaps we think so. I am very fortunate that the first official job at Royal Dutch Shell was as the manager responsible for the marketing company in Sarawak, Borneo.
It is a country of the size of England, and there is an asphalt road 30 kilometers away. At the time I was 25 years old, I knew almost nothing about management, oil, marketing and Sarawak. There was so much to learn.
That was in 1958, my office in Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, was almost inaccessible to the headquarters in Singapore. The once-a-week letter became the best communication tool, and my supervisors rarely came. They had no choice. Only believe me.
It was terrible at first, because I couldn’t ask anyone, but after making one mistake after another, I found an advantage: whenever I realized the mistake, I could correct it immediately, and I found it before the headquarters. .
I grew up very quickly and will soon be able to complete tasks within the required time and within the required budget, and maintain a record of no stains known to the company.
If they supervise me more closely, then I will be reprimanded and even recalled without any doubt. Their trust in me is a certain risk, but it is also more troublesome, and it will undoubtedly be more rewarding for me.
Modern information systems mean that people can keep a close eye on all the details of every step of the operation, but if they are used indiscriminately, they will inhibit initiative and breed resentment and distrust.
Some people estimate that 27 million employees around the world are being monitored while using the Internet, and no one wants to be constantly on their own.
People are surrounded by too many rules and systems, which makes them stop thinking.
The third confusion: the difference between efficiency and effectiveness
They should be the same, but in practice they behave differently, efficiency starts from the input, and efficiency depends mainly on the end result. As Peter Drucker said: “No work done efficiently is useless, otherwise it means that it should not be done at all.”
Conversely, I don’t think you should do something that should be done because it is too expensive and may be less efficient. Due to the demand for efficiency, the UK’s prison system had to cut costs, so they cut down on activities deemed unnecessary to keep safety at the necessary level.
This is problematic. As journalist and blogger Simon Corkkin points out, non-essential activities include education and gardening, which have been proven to be the most effective way to prevent prisoners from committing crimes after they are released from prison. method.
In other words, in order to improve efficiency, the money saved has led to more prisoners returning to prison, which in turn increases costs in the long run.
The desire to improve efficiency is understandable, but it leads to organizations tightening activities and cutting costs, leaving less room for unplanned or uncoordinated actions. This can lead to confusion. The core layer of the organization is worried about losing power, so that it needs to increase control and become more centralized, and individual unit dissatisfaction will be given up and will give up trying.
Just as more and better ideas are needed, efficiency becomes the enemy of creativity.
The pressure to improve efficiency has also led some people to advocate “reduction theory”. This view is that the whole is only a partial summation. Splitting a system into independent units and optimizing them can get the best results, and this may eventually Complex networks that lead to interconnections between departments, and the inevitable increase in transaction time and transaction costs.
“Reductionism” may be effective in the engineering field, but it is a dangerous paradox in the organization. If you want to verify, you can try to have your proposal checked by the 12 different departments involved. For those who are deeply frustrated by the conflict between efficiency and effectiveness, I suggest that they try the “doughnut” thinking.
Manage new mode: “doughnuts”
In my opinion, all work and team projects are “doughnuts”. This is an English donut, the kind of jam sandwiched in the middle. Jam represents the core elements of the work that an individual or group requires. If this is not possible, you and your team will face failure.
But there are other factors besides the core elements of the regulation, and there is dough around the jam, which is a space reserved for new initiatives. Efficiency doesn’t like these gaps, so the content is stipulated so that more space is included in the core. In extreme cases, the entire “doughnut” is the core, and every behavior is well defined and predictable.
But it also led to the emergence of unexpected and creative initiatives. Efficiency will stifle individual creativity and initiative.
The preferred solution is compromise. The center of the organization controls the core work and delineates the outer layer of the “doughnut”, limiting the scope of active creation, but still leaving room for innovation for individuals or groups.
So how does the organization ensure that the initiatives that are actively created are consistent with organizational goals? You can only trust an individual or group to understand the company’s goals and corresponding values, and intuitively know what is the right thing to do.
In this case, the leader must ensure that their goals, objectives, values, and standards of success are well understood, and that all the necessary information about cost and profitability can be provided to those involved. It is also very important to ensure that individuals and groups have the capacity to fill the “doughnuts” and prove through their past records that they are trustworthy.
“Doughnut” management requires investment in employee development, which may be expensive in the short term, but ultimately trust is cheaper than control.
In the “doughnut” culture, evaluating a person is the result, not the method, and the efficiency is not the efficiency. Efficiency should be servant, not Lord. New technologies can now make both efficiency and performance effective.
In some call centers, technology is used to reduce operator discretion and increase control, or to monitor results and disclose necessary data, which can promote individual initiative.
Some commercial organizations have used the “doughnut” model to the extreme, effectively empowering individual units to run their own businesses or open up new areas, but if they need to invest, they still have to get approval from the company.
Haier regards this as the core of his organizational philosophy.
Haier’s founder and boss, Zhang Ruimin, began dismantling the company’s hierarchy in 2009 and now has 2,000 self-managed teams.
Any employee can form their own new ideas by examining customer opinions and market information, such as a new device model or a new feature of an existing model. If approved by management, employees can create and manage their own teams to implement the project. Of course, this requires convincing professionals to contribute their time, but team members have the right to share a portion of the profits that are ultimately obtained.
In 2013, Zhang Ruimin got rid of the old hierarchical structure of 16,000 employees. Now he and a small group of executives pay close attention to this de facto small business association, or in my words, “doughnuts.” It seems that more Chinese companies are running the “doughnut” model, and they often allow many innovative projects to compete for customers, thus pulling customers into this innovative process.
The “doughnut” model also helps solve the problem of distribution and authorization.
It is not a true authorization to assign certain special tasks to employees and supervise their deliverables. Authorization is the transfer of responsibility for a work area to employees, and the work process is determined by the people involved. This is a whole “doughnut.”
In other words, the core of “what to do” is already set, but leaves room for them to decide the best way to accomplish it. When people accept responsibility, they often find it frustrating to find that they accept only a task of distribution, or a donut filled with cores.
“Doughnuts” depend on trust and mutual cooperation to be effective, which limits the scale because people cannot trust or rely on people they don’t know or have never seen before.
I have said that leadership means knowing your followers. If too many people are involved, it means that there are too many people who need to understand and trust, which is very difficult to do.
The “doughnut” model is an important part of an excellent management system, and “doughnut” leadership is the key to its effectiveness. The organization of the British army is based on the “doughnut” model. There is 3 teams at the grassroots level of an infantry battalion, each with 8 people.
The commander of each platoon is well aware of all the soldiers under his command and can rely on them in combat situations. Over the years, despite fundamental changes in technology, such organizational arrangements have proven successful in a variety of situations.
Over time, various organizations have become more complex and confusing, looking for economies of scale and seeking control through more complex systems, such as complex hierarchies and multiple coordination groups. Most of the time, the efficiency gained in this way can’t make up for the enthusiasm, energy and initiative lost in the work.
It’s time to abandon old ideas and start thinking about a simpler second curve (about the way you organize your work and the workplace). Finally, I believe that good management is essentially just some common sense, but people don’t use it.
In the face of colleagues who work with you, if you have more interest, more modest humility, more willingness to listen and a desire to finish his work satisfactorily, you have leadership. I call it the “doughnut” concept because I believe that images are often more powerful, more memorable, and less aggressive than words.
Donuts are commonplace in everyday life, and management should be the same.