Management is a very widely used word and concept. However, not many people take the time to sit down and think about what is management and what is it supposed to do. Some people are too busy managing I suppose!Interestingly, the Oxford Dictionary says that the word management is derived from the Italian word “maneggiere” which means to handle a horse. Some managers may insist their job is still related to the original meaning of its derivation.
The concept of management is very hard to define. A good way to think of it is to describe it as getting people and resources to work for common interests. As corporations have grown, management has taken on a different meaning of “the bosses” – particularly in an “us and them” type of scenario.
Somewhat challengingly, the common interests mentioned above vary depending on where you sit.
The owners’ viewpoint – it is ultimately to make an acceptable return on whatever they have invested in the business (otherwise they should close down and invest their funds with Warren Buffett).
The customers’ viewpoint – to produce a product or service that works as supposed and costs a fair price (otherwise they will satisfy their need somewhere else).
The employees’ viewpoint – to get paid a fair remuneration for effort expended with acceptable conditions to work in (otherwise they will go and work elsewhere).
Other stakeholders’ viewpoint – to make sure that the business aligns with their interests (extremely varied but for example: that a business does not create excessive pollution in the course of producing and shipping its product or service).
So really the job of management (whoever this may be – the executive committee in a large corporate or mum and dad in a small business) is to achieve alignment between these interests. As you can imagine, achieving this alignment is extremely challenging and there will always be countering positions – like staff saying you don’t pay enough but investors demanding a higher return).
So when you are in management – just think back to these 4 areas and try to keep alignment and balance as far as is possible and decisions in the job may seem to become clearer and easier.
Marshall Vann – Realistic Business Solutions
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