Managers – via 1988 Wall Street Journal

Posted September 13th, 2009 — Filed in Bud's Musings

After reading my musing “Animal Health Care in Crisis” (posted 9/5/09) a subscriber sent me a copy of an article he had from the Wall Street Journal.  He said it was from 1988 or 89.  It pretty well explains why we keep doctoring and growing the “ livestock health crisis” instead of working on ways to prevent it.  I will not copy all of the article but I will be careful to not change the meaning.
The Heading was “Before Spending $3 Million on Leadership, Read This”
The title was  “Manager’s Journal”  by Jack Falvey.

“General Motors recently discovered it lacks management leadership. In order to correct this deficiency, it has invested $3 million-plus on a program called “Leadership Now.” Unfortunately for GM, it soon will discover that it cannot spend its way to instant leadership. Calling in the industrial witch doctors to rerun sensitivity-training games out of the 1960s isn’t going to save GM or any other company.”

“Leaders are not developed through behavioral-science exercises or by reading the tea leaves of attitude surveys or by Outward Bound-type nature adventures. . . . “

“Going at it remedially won’t work no matter how creative the exercises, the name of the program or the budget committed. “Leadership in Five Years” would be a better name for the GM program. . . .”

“Strong leaders in corporate America have become an endangered species. Enter the trainer-witch doctors with their instant programs. Fortunately, most companies can’t afford the fees, but heaven help those who work for the ones that can. . . .”

“The instant-results school of management has had its way for far too many quarters. People deserve solid professional management and leadership. They deserve to be told what is expected of them. They deserve to be rewarded when they produce and are encouraged to try some better approaches when they fail. . . .”

“The business schools haven’t been able to teach leadership because it can’t be taught in a classroom. . . But, fortunately leadership can be learned. There is no mystery to developing leadership skills and future business leaders. The mystery is how some of these magic programs are sold to some of our largest companies. Growing leadership talent is not a black art and does not require the service of industrial witch doctors.”

The reason I’m writing this is because we need great leaders and managers not good but great!  There was a time when we trained people day by day and after years the leaders made their way to the top. Then we started letting someone else do the training as we were to busy. That’s when the class room took over, because it was “faster”. Now we have people who have just ‘graduated’ that’s all, they are not leaders. Almost anyone can graduate from a business school.  That doesn’t make them a leader or manager. In fact, that doesn’t even mean they know very much about proper business. There was a time when people spent years learning their trade and yet only a few were good enough to be leaders or managers, now everyone wants to be a manager. In 1988 GM realized that they lacked leadership but their attempted solution was no solution. Now we see what poor leadership did for GM.

If leadership can’t be taught in the class room, what is being taught?   They are trying to teach everyone to be a leader or manager but since that cannot be done the student is being taught to have an agenda, to promote some idea or ideal. Like trying to solve the ”livestock health crisis” with just drugs and technology.  This is why we have fewer and fewer true leaders and more and more people pushing some agenda since they are not capable of anything else.

Some time should be spent on teaching people how to do the work properly then let them work their way up to manager, then leader. If you own or would like to own a business, then learn how to be a great manager and leader. Then take the time to train your employees to be good workers and some may even rise to the level of being managers.

If you work with livestock learn all you can then learn some more, then maybe someday (not tomorrow but in years) you will learn enough to be a great manager. The livestock industry really needs some great leaders and managers. Will we ever learn that this does not come from the class room? Or as the article stated will we only get the leaders and managers that are trained by the “industrial witch doctors”. Now there may not even be anything “industrial” about it just “agenda doctors.”

While we know this is happening it is not all bad for the person who will learn, it just opens up more opportunities. Anytime the major problem is poor management then someone that will learn can be successful with only taking the time to learn the right or proper way to do things. In life almost every thing is good it’s always just how we look at it and what is done with it.