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MANAGEMENT MASTERCLASSES I BUSINESS DOCTOR


“We need to be able to vote in and out our leaders if they no longer help add value to the service”


system - that is, humans are able to co-evolve, to self-organise and to create something new that is emergent in the sense that it could not have been predicted at the outset. People (staff) create intricate networks of relationships sustained through communication and other forms of feedback which is called shadow-systems, with varying degrees of inter- dependence. Although heavily influenced by their history, training, education, context and culture they can transcend all when necessary. When they meet a rule that doesn’t suit most are able to explore the space of possibilities and find a different way of doing things, i.e. they are creative and innovative.


The trouble comes when we see staff as resources, cogs in the machine, we tend to treat people like children, telling them when to come in, what to do, even at times, giving permission to go to the toilet, and then of course allowing them to go home at a certain time. The problem then is that if we treat them like children they will act like children. Management regardless of what you may think, treats people like children. We need to stop ‘buying’ time of people in the health professional, for a lot already see health and fitness industry as a vocation, a life style they are passionate about and start buying talent. People who have talent, people skills and are unspoilt by the notions of conforming to out-dated principles such as management. We should for example have talent seekers not HR Managers. We should have Talent keepers, not Team Leaders, or supervisors.


When we start to question how managers at all levels manage, the


task of removing the traditional ‘role’ of


manager, not necessarily the person but the role, can become an extremely difficult one. For this depth of critical thinking causes uncertainty, fear and worry for most managers as they quickly realise when they ask ‘why’ about their role, that they are not necessarily adding value to the ‘customer’ but simply creating more bureaucracy, rules and procedures, which can be counter-productive, and cost time and money.


30 I body LIFE 2 I 2015


Please note here that DNA is not a consultancy, nor I a consultant. I do not offer ‘solutions’ or answers, or even a new model for doing things. Consultants are for the most part a symptom of all things wrong with management. They offer what managers want, a simple solution, which is normally counter-intuitive, in that it creates additional problems elsewhere in the organisation, which in turn needs more external consultancy to help solve these ‘new’ problems, and so the spiral begins. All I do is to remove the notion that management is led from the top-down, and that the only decision makers are at the top. Indeed, its nonsense to read or hear that for an organisation to be successful it has to have a good manager (usually male…another argument, for another time) at the head of its structure. Well actually, the evidence suggests that over the past 20 years, organisations have been successful despite the manager, their systems, planning, and strategising; not because of it. Why don’t we offer solutions? What’s the point of democratising the workforce? Why should I read further? It’s simple. The solutions to every problem will be in the organisation already. It’s called your ‘frontline staff’. They are already your consultants, ready, willing, passionate and hopefully loyal to the cause, the new ones more so as they haven’t yet been worn down by the, yes you’ve guessed it management. That’s if you allow them to say what they think, encourage debate, trust their opinion, and they yours. Management in all sectors, as we all know encourages risk aversion. It also requires conformity and control. Both these issues removes diversity, critically and creativity. It also as we have seen in 45 companies researched, from around the world, the more management you have, the slower the company is to react to customer needs, the more dissatisfaction there is in frontline employees, with a feeling of dis-empowerment and a high level of sickness and absenteeism. ‘Management’ cannot cope with people who answer-back, innovate around ‘rules’ to achieve greater outputs. One fitness employee described themselves as the ‘Duracell Bunny’ seen on TV adverts. They


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