“Demystifying management”- 20 January 2015.
When Arvind Kumar joined as General Manager of the plant, his first meeting with the senior staff left a strange taste in his mouth. Right at the outset, Arvind Kumar started highlighting the important points of the management’s organisational philosophy. The moment he opened the subject, all seniors fell silent, and almost refused to say a word in response. After much prodding, some of them said hesitantly that such issues were out of bounds of the senior managers’ meetings previously and therefore they would not participate in the discussion. Arvind was aghast, but kept discussing the issues and dragging others into the discussion.
That meeting revealed to him a major flaw in the thinking of his predecessors. They felt that management’s organisational philosophy was a matter of secret and never to be revealed to anybody. Poor Arvind would not know how to communicate to the organisation what the management felt on critical issues that linked the organisation closely to the company goals.
Without getting daunted by the revelation, Arvind Kumar started discussing openly various philosophical aspects of the management’s organisational policies. Slowly, all senior managers started taking part in the discussions and debates in that regard and an atmosphere of openness got created in the plant’s offices and shop-floor.
The immediate benefit was not visible, of course. But about 7-8 months after Arvind Kumar came on board, the plant’s overall productivity count went up markedly. When the members of the Board of Directors visited the plant and noticed the rise in productivity and also production, they were all surprised. When they wondered aloud about the possible reason, Arvind Kumar explained how he was trying to demystify the management thinking and how he was involving the senior managers in the higher thought-process.
Every member felt happy, but one. He raised an objection at the next meeting of the Board and forced the Managing Director to summon Arvind Kumar to explain who authorised him to reveal the management’s higher thinking to the managerial cadre.
Arvind Kumar was surprised and dismayed. He explained to the Board what he thought. He said, “Sirs, there is no secret in our philosophy of organisational management. When I introduced the senior colleagues to the idea and thought, all felt elated and realised how to approach the issues of decision-making to step up production. What we see now is only a positive effect on productivity. Subsequently, we will see a positive change in marketing and sales as well. But for that to happen, we will have to wait for some more time.”
The Board agreed with Arvind Kumar, and recorded its opinion in the following words: “The Board is pleased to the positive effect of the effort of Mr. Arvind Kumar in introducing the managerial cadres to management’s thinking and philosophy. The only word of caution for him is that he should be extremely careful in not letting out certain classified thinking to the managers so that our core values could be jeopardised.”
Arvind Kumar was aware of that limitation. This has always been the case with all organisational leaders. They have to keep a strict vigil on themselves when they introduce their managers to management’s higher thinking. They have got to be extremely careful since they run pretty close to core ideation of the management. But if they stay alert, they can avoid any unnecessary exposure. Yet, the exercise if loaded with risks, which good managers often take.
But what matters most is the importance of demystification of management thinking so that all can participate in the actual process of growth.