Management – how do you measure up?

Peter Drucker noted that there were three major dimensions of management: defining the specific purpose of the organisation; making the work productive and achieving and managing social impacts and social responsibilities.

Arguably, your work as a manager will be all the easier if:

  1. Your organisation has a clear mission and purpose and it is clearly understood by everyone who works in it.  If the mission is vague people will create their own purposes, tasks and responsibilities some of which may not achieve a lot.  On the contrary if the mission is clear people will automatically be better placed to make good decisions about what to do and just as importantly what not to do.  Far too often I see job descriptions and lists of tasks that have little to do with the organisation’s core purpose.
  2. People understand what it takes to be productive and achieving.  This is not the blind following of rules that many bureaucracies insist upon.  It is about delivering real value and that is always judged ultimately by satisfied customers whether they be patients, students, clients, service users and so on.  If your productivity and achievement orientation is off the mark you’ll just experience high turnover of staff because if people’s work has little real meaning they eventually walk away.
  3. Your organisation faces up to its social responsibilities as an employer and user of scarce resources.  Doing harm to the environment or working with resources in an unsustainable way are two ways where it is possible to avoid social responsibilities.  If this aspect of your work as a manager is out of kilter you may well experience covert resistance to your plans.

So, how do you measure up?  Which of these three dimensions makes your life a little harder?  Do you pay equal attention to each of these three dimensions or is your time focused on just getting things done?  Which of these areas are you overlooking?

The why we do things has become a critical focus for many organisations as several commentators have noted.  Drucker was one of the first to focus so hard on why we do what we do and his work has resonance now in 2014.

I raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society in the UK – a very small donation at would be most appreciated.

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