Mark Thomas and Management!
10/01/2012 - "Mark Thomas and Management!" by Donal Carroll

Mark Thomas and Management!

 HNY all!

This blog started off as an attempt to re-invent ‘management’ to get beyond its traditional face of command and control. But having read ‘The People’s Manifesto’ by comedian Mark Thomas -where in the midst of the economic crisis, he asked audiences around the country for better policies to get us of the mess, in the safe knowledge that they felt they could run the country better than any government - something more interesting emerged, I hope.  

 The five ‘policies’ I developed are prompted by ideas from the book but are underpinned by my own assumptions about traditional ‘management’; these are broadly that: (i) when you get a manager, you get an ideology free (buy one get one ‘unfree’) and this unacknowledged limitation is its greatest barrier and (ii) traditional management is a form of gambling where only fools bet against the house – the gamble ultimately, is that change will occur from doing exactly the same thing.

The first policy is from ‘The People’s Manifesto’ followed by my adaptation.

 A Party manifestos should be legally binding

Management decisions should be legally binding – but only when accompanied by a betting slip with odds for their effectiveness, which gives them the same reliability as BR announcements at Clapham Junction –or less

 B Models should be chosen at random from the electoral roll

Managers should be chosen from anywhere in the organisation. This means organisations must have a transformative culture for their staff (so together they are more than the sum of their parts) just as they have for their customer’s experience; this culture should reveal the poverty of ‘talent management’ and injected ‘empowerment’  

 C As well as maternity/paternity leave, employers should give conception leave

The same for managers – they are allowed back only if they can bring new ideas and amore learning-experimental mindset

 D Goats are released onto to House of Commons floor but MPs are forbidden from referring to them  

The elephant in the management decision-making room that change occurs by doing more of the same becomes a noisy goat whose smell can’t be ignored so its source must be tackled   

 E Rename Windsor as ‘Lower Slough’

Rename traditional management as ‘Lowering aspirations’

 F The garment trade must print the age of the person who made each item on the label

Organisations must publish names of managers responsible for bad service and their excuses eg ‘It’s never the right time to change/improve’ or ‘Who am I to lead improvement?’

 G Politicians should wear the names and logos of the companies they have a financial relationship with, like racing drivers  

Managers should wear the name of their internal sponsor on their shirt every time they push decisions based on formal power

 I am not doing justice to the sheer inventiveness of Thomas and this public political exercise.  There are some side-splitting ideas, for instance: Every time there is a barney in the House of Commons, they should play the Benny Hill theme tune; randomly arm OAPs; CEOs found guilty of fraud must dress as pirates in their next job. And some immensely sensible ones:  renationalise the railways; introduce a Tobin tax on currency transaction; have a maximum wage.

Finally, one I couldn’t quite shoehorn in above: In traditional management, the favourite manager’s game is short selling other managers.

 What do you think?  Any other ways to reinvent ‘management’?

All best for 2012 


Visitors' Comments on this Post

28/07/2012 Comment posted by Kristal
No one has really conemmted on the part of #5 about routines. I find that loose\' routines are almost a necessity in the work environment. It seems almost human nature (for most of us, anyway) to need some sort of routine to structure our days and our work. How many times have you heard about someone retiring and floundering for a bit until they found a new routine for him or herself?I like the idea of providing loose, overarching routines as a manager. Sort of along the lines of Each week, you need to make sure x, y, and z get done. You should roughly plan to spend 40, 40, and 20% of your time on those items. But within that structure, anything can and may happen.
28/07/2012 Comment posted by Pim
Actual decision-making needs to be dirpsese. Teams are wonderful, but those teams need to be able to make actual decisions (purchasing, policies, procedures, whatever) instead of leaving actual decision-making in the hands of one or two as happens too frequently (hi library directors!) There is a balance that needs to be achieved. Two many layers is of course bad, no one can get anything done, but if too few people have decision-making power, teams are ineffective and nothing gets done either. So more people with the ability to make decisions, purchases, set policies, etc. Fewer layers, more decision-makers.
11/01/2012 Comment posted by Claudia Crawley
Hilarious! They say \'many a true word said in jest\'. So are you really just jesting? Having had many year\'s experience of management, and now doing something different, I feel managers shouldn\'t be blamed for all an organisations ills. After all, it takes 2 or 3 or more, to tango.

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