Accountability vs. bureaucracy
August 10, 2002
If accountability is one of the basic feature of hierarchical corporate relationships, then also think about bureaucracy, which has as one of its defining characteristics a lack of acocountability.
Metrics are also important for good management - will come back to this.
Invisibility - or actually, transparency - in the sense that light should not pass unimpeded but be let through - seems to be close to the core of what good management is (I realize that is a big claim).
Strict management impositions, like Grove’s Late List, seem to serve only to chafe people and cause them to resent management (not a huge problem in electronics, but can you imagine trying that at Wal-mart?).
I also didn’t buy into Grove’s idea that meetings are the medium through which management is conducted. Meetings seemed to get in the way by taking workers away from their work/frame of mind. It is easy for management to be disruptive.
Perhaps instead of being this meta-layers (coming back to the idea above), management should be somehow integrated into the actual work (in a sense the way “teaching” should be integrated with “learning” - these are two separate, often complementary processes).
If you wanted to draw this analogy out, what if management were teaching, and work, learning? Or what if management were learning and work, teaching?
Maybe if I think management and work should be integrated, I should stop thinking of them myself as separate things.
And then a bigger question would be - what does it mean to teach and what it means to learn? Learning probably means something like “understanding and applying”. If you learn to row, you understand the processes and judgments involved there and are able to reproduce them independently. Then what do “understanding” and “applying” mean?