Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top Gun is Fantasy

The Five Dumbest Management Concepts of All Time

Five. Many traditional business leaders have a militaristic view of the way the business world works. A glance at the titles of popular business books-Marketing Warfare, Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Guerrilla PR-offer ample testimony for this widely held viewpoint. We’re told that we must imitate generals and warlords if we want to be successful managers.

Taking all this to heart, many executives talk as if they were planning the next world war: “This product will do major damage in the marketplace! We’ve armed our sales force. We’ve targeted the right set of customers! The new ad campaign will explode into the territories! This is going to be a major victory! Our troops are ready!”

Military-minded managers also find it all too easy to become control freaks. Because they see themselves as generals and officers, they tell people what to do. They think that good employees should shut up and follow orders. This behavior destroys initiative as people wait around for top management to make decisions.

People actually do this? Perhaps I've been lucky and never had the misfortune to work for guys like this. Maybe I just haven't been paying attention.

Most actual officers I served under did not act like that. Oh, we were not drinking buddies, and once the Man said 'jump' we asked 'how high'. Before that, if the situation allowed [1], opinions were solicited, people were listened to.

Civilians: man y'all got whacked notions of what the military is actually about.

[1] If the lieutenant orders 'Corporal, take out that enemy machine gun', well there isn't a lot of room for debate: the gun has got to go. The majority of of day-to-day work in the military is .. just work. Trucks are driven, airplanes are fixed and flown, boxes are stacked, computers are programed. It's blue and white collar work, but everyone is younger than average, in decent shape and wearing bad haircuts. Also, they cuss a lot.

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