The managerial beethoven error, by Kroese brands & behaviour

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Information about The managerial beethoven error, by Kroese brands & behaviour
Business & Mgmt

Published on July 13, 2009

Author: KroeseBB

Source: slideshare.net

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Managers often wrongly assume that a company’s results are closely connected to strictly directed and monitored processes. Nothing is further from the truth. The ability to create distinctive value is determined by the flow of creativity and the spirit of cooperation. These are the factors that truly deserve attention.

The Managerial ‘Beethoven Error’ Managers often wrongly assume that a company’s results are closely connected to strictly directed and monitored processes. Nothing is further from the truth. The ability to create distinctive value is determined by the flow of creativity and the spirit of cooperation. These are the factors that truly deserve attention. In ‘Our Inner Ape’, biologist Frans De Waal captivatingly explains the connection b e t we e n t h e b e h a v i o u r o f a n t h r o p o i d a p e s a n d h u m a n s . T h e b o o k d i s c u s s e s h o w h u m a n m o r a l i t y wa s e x p l a i n e d a l o n g t i m e a g o i n t e r m s o f c u l t u r e a n d r e l i g i o n , r a t h e r t h a n i n t e r m s o f e vo l u t i o n . N a t u r e s u g g e s t s t ha t h u m a n s h a v e n o m o r a l i t y , b u t i n v e s t i g a t i o n h a s s h o wn t h a t e v e n a n t h r o p o i d a p e s u n d e r s t a n d t h e c o n c e p t o f m o r a l i t y . A c c o r d i n g t o D e W a a l , t he a b o v e - m e n t i o n e d m a n a g e r i a l a s s u m p t i o n i s born out of confusion. Because natural selection is a cruel and merciless process of elimination, the reasoning is that beings created by this process must also be c r u e l a n d m e r c i l e s s . T h e p r o c e s s h a s t h e r e f o r e b e e n c o n f u s e d wi t h t h e e n d product. De Waal refers to this as the ‘Beethoven error’, as in his time, this m u s i c a l m a e s t r o c o m p o s e d f a n t a s t i c a n d i n s p i r i n g m u s i c . H o we v e r , yo u wo u l d n o t have expected this type of person to be as scruffy and dishevelled as Beethoven wa s , n o r wo u l d yo u h a v e e x p e c t e d h i m t o l i v e i n a h o u s e a s d i r t y a n d s m e l l y a s h e did. De Waal’s biological perspective refers us to a mistake that business leaders often make. They are expected to contribute to the development of the o r g a n i s a t i o n a l o n g wi t h t h e i r d e p a r t m e n t , t e a m s o r b u s i n e s s u n i t s . I n d o i n g s o , they often have the tendency to develop new processes; consultation structures are put in place, rules for reporting are established and all kinds of regulations a n d r e d t a p e a r e d e v i s e d , wi t h t h e a s s u m p t i o n t h a t t h e s e m e a s u r e s wi l l i n e v i t a b l y lead to improvement. Nothing is further from the truth. One of the most important s u c c e s s f a c t o r s wi t h i n o r g a n i s a t i o n s i s t h e e n t h u s i a s t i c s u p p o r t o f e m p l o y e e s . Processes do not inspire employees, but the sense that they are personally involved in the realisation of a vision or goal certainly can. C o n s i d e r a m a n a g e r wh o g i v e s h i s / h e r s a l e s t e a m t h e a s s i g n m e n t t o d e v i s e n e w ideas every month for the purpose of increasing turnover. For this purpose, a 1

r e g u l a r m o n t h l y m e e t i n g i s a r r a n g e d , a t wh i c h i d e a s a r e wr i t t e n d o wn , p r e f e r a b l y beforehand, and presented. After every meeting, the minutes must be recorded, decision lists made, points of action defined etc. Does this pre-programmed m e t h o d t r u l y s o u n d l i k e a g o o d wa y t o a l l o w i d e a s t o f l o u r i s h ? F u r t h e r m o r e , a r e the sales personnel likely to remain motivated throughout the financial year? C o m p a r e t h i s wi t h a t e a m l e a d e r wh o f o c u s e s h i s / h e r a t t e n t i o n o n b o o s t i n g t h e team’s enthusiasm to increase turnover. The team leader gives the team r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e r e s u l t s , a n d a l l o ws t h e m t h e s p a c e t o d e c i d e f o r t h e m s e l v e s h o w t h e y wi l l d e v i s e t h e n e c e s s a r y i d e a s a n d p l a n s , a n d h o w t h e y wi l l g o a b o u t t h e i r wo r k . I t i s t h e t e a m l e a d e r ' s t a s k t o c o a c h , g u i d e a n d e n t h u s e t h e t e a m i n t h e i r wo r k , s o t h a t t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s a n d c o o p e r a t i o n c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e d e s i r e d r e s u l t . W h a t d o y o u t h i n k t h a t t h e d y n a m i c wi t h i n t h i s t e a m wo u l d b e ? M a n a g e r s wh o e m p l o y t h e l a t e s t l e a d e r s h i p t e c h n i q u e s wo r k a c c o r d i n g t o t h e p r i n c i p l e t h a t p e o p l e wi s h t o b e c h a l l e n g e d b y t h e i r wo r k i n g e n v i r o n m e n t . E m p l o ye e s n e e d g r o wt h a n d i n s p i r a t i o n , a n d d e r i v e m o t i v a t i o n f r o m t h e s e n s e t h a t t h e y a r e c o n t r i b u t i n g t o t h e d e v e l o p m e n t o f t h e b u s i n e s s , n o t f r o m f o l l o wi n g s e t p r o c e d u r e s . S u c c e s s f u l l e a d e r s wo r k t o wa r d s a v i s i o n a n d a c l e a r g o a l . T h e y focus their energy and attention on the desired result, not on the process. They e n s u r e t h a t t h e i r t e a m s h a r e s t h e s a m e g o a l , a n d t h e y c o a c h t h e i r t e a m t o wa r d s t h i s g o a l , b o t h i n d i v i d u a l l y a n d i n g r o u p s . T h e y l i s t e n t o wh a t i s h a p p e n i n g wi t h i n t h e c o m p a n y, t h e y a s k q u e s t i o n s , t h e y b r i n g p e o p l e t o g e t h e r a n d t h e y c r e a t e t h e r i g h t wo r k i n g a t m o s p h e r e ( a r e we h a v i n g f u n a t wo r k ? ) . M o t i v a t e d e m p l o y e e s wi l l devise good processes themselves in order to contribute to the results. As a successful project manager at a factory once said, “When I allow the employees to focus on delivering the products to the customers on time, they are smart enough to order the necessary components on time.” I n n a t u r e , t h e o r g a n i s m s t h a t s u r v i v e l o n g e n o u g h t o r e p r o d u c e wi l l s u r v i v e , a n d h o w t h e y g o a b o u t d o i n g i t i s l e f t t o t h e i r o wn d i s c r e t i o n . I t i s f o r t h i s r e a s o n t h a t nature has such a fascinating degree of diversity. The same principle applies to t h e b u s i n e s s wo r l d ; t h e r e i s a n i n e x h a u s t i b l e s o u r c e o f h u m a n c r e a t i v i t y f o r t h e realisation of success and this creativity can assume innumerable forms. Success cannot be guaranteed by a particular process, or as De Waal puts it, “Processes a r e n o m o r e c a p a b l e o f d e f i n i n g t h e p a t h wa y t o s u c c e s s t h a n t h e i n t e r i o r o f a r o o m i n V i e n n a i s c a p a b l e o f t e l l i n g yo u wh a t s o r t o f m u s i c c a n b e h e a r d emanating from it.” Theo Kroese (theo@kroese-bb.com) is a business economist and founder of Kroese brands & behaviour bv. 2

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