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Leadership & Business Wisdom

LM
Fundamental of Communications

To improve communications, work not on the utterer but recipient.

It is the recipient who communicates. Unless there is someone who hears, there is no communication. There is only noise. One can perceive only what one is capable of perceiving. One can communicate only in the recipients’ language or in their terms. And the terms have to be experience-based we perceive, as a rule, what we expect to perceive. We see largely what we expect to see, and we hear largely what we expect to hear largely what we expect to hear. The unexpected is usually not received at all. Communication always makes demands. It always demands that the recipient become somebody, do something, believe something. It always appeals to motivation. If it goes against her aspirations, her values, her motivations, it is likely not to be received at all or, at best, to be resisted.

Where communication is perception, information is logic. As such, information is purely formal and has no meaning. Information is always encoded. To be received, let alone to be used, the code must be known and understood by the recipient. This requires prior agreement, that is, some communicate.



Rules for Staff Work

Staff work is not done to advance knowledge; its only justification is the improvement of the performance of operating people and of the entire organization.

First, staff should concentrate on takes of major importance that will continue for many years. A task of major importance that will not last for-ever – for example, the reorganization of a company’s management – is better handled as a one-time assignment. Staff work should be limited to a few tasks of high priority. Proliferation of staff services deprives them of effectiveness. Worse, it destroys the effectiveness of the people who produce results, the operating people. Unless the number of staff tasks is closely controlled, staff will gobble up more and more of operating people’s scarcest resource: time.

Effectives staff work requires specific goals and objectives, clear targets, and deadlines. “We expect to cut absenteeism in half within three years” or “Two years from now we expect to understand the segmentation of our markets sufficiently to reduce the number of product lines by at least one third.” Objectives like these make for productive staff work. Vague goals such as “getting a handle on employee behavior” or “a study of customer motivation” do not. Every three years or so, it is important to sit down with every staff unit and ask, “What have you contributed these last three years that makes a real difference to this company?”


Turbulent Times Ahead

It turbulent times, the first task of management is to make sure of the institution’s capacity to survive a blow.

In turbulent times, the first task of management is to make sure of the institution’s capacity for survival, to make sure of its structural strengths, of its capacity for survival, to make sure of its structural strengths, of its capacity to survive a blow, to adapt to sudden change, and to avail itself of new opportunities. Turbulence, by definition, is irregular, nonlinear, erratic. But its underlying causes can be analyzed, predicted, managed.

But its underlying should – and can 0 – manage is the single most important new reality underlying a great deal of the turbulence around: the sea-change in population structure and population dynamics, and especially the shift in population structure and population dynamics in the developed countries of the West and Japan. These shifts are already changing the modes of economic integration throughout the world. They are likely to lead to a new “transnational confederation” based on production sharing and market control, replacing in many areas the old “multinational corporation” based on financial control. They are creating new consumer markets and realigning existing old consumer markets. They are drastically changing the labor force to the point where there will only be “labor forces,” each with different expectations and different characteristics. They will force us to abandon altogether the concept of “fixed retirement age.” And they will create a new demand on management – as well as a new opportunity – to make organized plans for redundancy.


The New Entrepreneur

History moves in a spiral; one returns to the preceding position, but on a higher level, and by a corkscrew-like path.

We are again entering an era in which emphasis will be on entrepreneurship. However, it will not be an entrepreneurship of a century ago, that is, the ability of a single man to organize a business he himself could run, control, embrace. It will rather be the ability to create and direct an organization for the new. We need men and women whop can build a new structure of entrepreneurship on the managerial foundations laid these last eighty years. History, it has often been observed, moves in a spiral; one returns to the preceding position, or to the preceding problem, but on a higher level, and by a corkscrew-like path. In this fashion we are going to return to entrepreneurship on a path that led out fro a lower level, that of the single entrepreneur, to the manager, and now back, though upward, to entrepreneurship again. The businessperson will have to acquire a number of new abilities, all of them entrepreneurial in nature, but all of them to be exercised in and through a managerial organization.

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