Sunday, October 09, 2005

MICMNGT - How Well Do You Know About Emerging Organization and Management

Our class was basically divided into two groups and we had 2 sets of questions that we had to answer with Always True, Mostly True, Mostly False, and Always False. While one group reported, another group would critique. Hm. Easy enough.

Except it was total chaos. I noticed that the two groups would actually be saying the same things but would argue incessantly, not because they disagree but because they were arguing on different levels. Sometimes the critiquing group would interpret a statement differently from the reporting group. What was actually frustrating was trying to make the other group see where we're going without debating heatedly. And that was where we began to see the importance of having everyone on the same page. There has to be a meeting of the minds, so to speak. I suppose this was like a classic example of how politics would work when it comes to combining different departments in one conference or something. Given the difference in our backgrounds, there would indeed be different levels of interpretations.

But there was one statement in that session that had me changing my opinion from Mostly True to Mostly False. It goes: "People should be monitored in their area to ensure efficiency and effectivity." I answered Mostly True because being well-acquainted with Gantt Charts, I know how important it is to set timelines, deadlines, deliverables, and responsibilities. I am the type of person who would follow up tasks on a daily basis or even a weekly basis as opposed to a person who would check up on you nearly every hour -- unless, of course, the project is alarmingly delayed. Our professor said that monitoring isn't what's being done now. The trend nowadays is reviewing. While I thought I completely understood what that meant, it wasn't until a week later I would see an example of it.

I asked a particular director (of a multinational company that manages an international chain of hotels) how his boss, the Senior Vice-President, would give tasks. Would he be someone who gave out specific tasks with specific deadlines, or was he the type to give out a general directive and it's up to you how to do it or map it out? Being the SVP, he was the latter. That was when it hit me. An SVP who is based in Atlanta wouldn't have the time, nor the inclination, to monitor his people, who happen to be living across the world. Given a general task, with very basic and rather vague idea as to what the task was about, the director used his resources (the people) to pull out the information that he needed. He was given a day to complete the task, but he was able to come out with the project proposal because he made good use of the network of people within the company. I realized then that this was what my professor was talking about. Upper management do macromanagement, not micromanagement. Middle management are the ones who will be making sure that the details are ironed out, but it's the upper management that comes up with the general direction. And no, this kind of management isn't about monitoring. It's about gauging a worker's performance based on his track record (reviewing), and how he pulled and managed the information he acquired. Besides, with the kind of technology we have now, constant monitoring isn't really that much of a viable option anymore, especially in a company that relies heavily on information rather than manual labor.



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