How are you managing?

publication date 04.12.2009

Proceedings can be expressed (for easier memorization) acronym 3P - identify, understand, advise.

In Moravia, this is the question with which you tend to approach a good friend. Translated, it means something like „how are you doing, how are you, how is life or how successful are you?“ Even a nonspecialist might grasp how many highly technical points drawn from the sphere of systems and management are encoded in this seemingly plain phrase.  

Related articles

Management system, 6S and 3P

Most of us, subconsciously, recall the system of management based upon the generally acknowledged and utilized ISO standards outwardly manifested in the form of a printed certificate. It is, doubtless, one of about three hundred methods the company is supposed to use to attain zero level of waste products now being referred to as non-conformities. This system, elevated to a marketing advantage or a tool helping the company management do quality work, can only be fully utilized if handled by the right people. People with the gift of managing themselves and others as well. Therefore, if we want to grasp and take full advantage of a quality management system, rather than the standard´s (perhaps wrongly) established interpretation of „a system to manage quality“, we have to penetrate „the human system“ first. 

Yet before that, we will deal with the terms „system“ and „management“ which have become so commonplace and frequent that when you come to really think of them, outwardly, they do not seem to bear any meaning at all. Similarly, such terms as „safety“, „quality“ „process“ etc. are mere clichés with pseudo-professional appearance. 

It can be asserted that every system is characterized with the 6S abbreviation. It is actually equal to Sum of Set-up Segments (thought to be parts, items, components) Sensibly Switched in a System. A working system, we should add.  

And what is management? It can be described with the 3P abbreviation (in Czech), making it easier to remember:3P or (the equivalent to)  Learn, Understand, Tell or, better still, Advise.

The Human System , T.I.C.O.

On the outside, man is manifesting themselves through more or less inborn and nearly invariable features we call, again in an abbreviated form, T.I.C.O., and because they are mutually related and meaningfully interconnected, we can also call them a system, hence „the human system“. It mainly states what a particular person is like and what they can do. In the first place, it is their Temperament, Intelligence, Character and Other abilities, endowments and gifts. Naturally, it is necessary to deal with what the person wants and what has them eventually act in such a way as may not always be in keeping with what they are like and what they are capable of doing. In the event of them being „unwilling and incapable“, we should manage to „control“ them, as their needs, values, ideals, interests and attitudes mostly do not tend to be in line with real possibilities. 

Measured by what we can do and what we are like, we are all predestined to play certain roles, to be involved in certain activities, to achieve certain degree of success and, ultimately, to relish some satisfaction with our own performance and the performance of others.

It has become all too familiar everybody will eventually, in the course of time, occupy a position where they are no longer competent, a situation we should try to prevent. In the first place, the thing is to choose the right people for the right working positions and depart from the false idea that everybody can learn and do everything, with managing somebody or something being the simplest thing of all. Let us start from the fact there is always the need to have somebody „ in control“, that we already understand what a „system“ is and what „management“ is and that we agree, unwillingly though, that each person has certain invariable qualities on which we are going to base our further considerations. 

Properties of the Nervous System

Temperament is the first of the inbred properties of nervous system in our „human system“ which predicates about our endurance, excitability and the ability to suppress emotions, etc. In terms of occupation, it determines stamina, reactions, resistence to stress, emotionality and presumed behaviour. By means of a simple test or a series of tests accessible on the Internet, you will identify your own temperament - whether you are the person of the sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric or melancholic character. These categories, however, do not tend to have sharp edges and - under certain circumstances - they mix. As the famed Hippocrates put it 400  years B.C., „There are four bodily liquids whose relationship determines our reactions“.  The basic reactions and expressions, nevertheless, will outweigh the rest.

  • Sanguine person - gutty, jovial, outgoing, optimistic, yet by contrast, also volatile and futile, a typical successful lover or mistress. It is called „straw fire“, as it is fast in flames, but dies down soon. 
  • Phlegmatic person - composed, indifferent and tolerant, yet also lazy and passive, „cut out“ to be a diplomat by profession, they follow the famous watchword „Take it easy!“.
  • Choleric person - resolute, independent, passionate, yet partly also furious and bossy, a typical leader „running their head against the wall“, on the other hand, they say „the sun does not set over their rage“, they soon get over their bad temper. 
  • Melancholic person - serious, faithful and responsible, while also reserved and pesimistic, a thinker much sought-after, a man of „great insight“.

This knowledge may be put to work almost instantly for your own benefit and to greatly help you learn about the reasons why other people behave in a particular way. How a person behaves as a memeber of a certain work group is perhaps the most interesting and no less important question. If two people of the sanguine character are involved in a negotiation, it must be shorter rather than longer, as they both loathe lengthy and apparently empty negotiations, they are motivated by a change. In order to get a choleric person´s cooperation, they have to „promise“ them troubles and obstacles to overcome, and they will go for it while playing everything down. A man of the melancholic character requires time and patience, as they are cautious and distrustful. A phlegmatic person can be persuaded with facts, however, the right timing and knowing their „Achilles heel“ are of the essence. You will surely think over the ways in which people of choleric and melancholic temperaments should deal with the other temperament types. It is not easy, but it is bound to bear fruit. 

Intelligence is an ability to use reason based on learning, understanding and adapting to circumstances. It profoundly effects the entire complex of psyche, behaviour and conduct. Here, too, the Internet will offer us many a test, including a nationwide one, as it were. These measurements, though, are very deceptive and mostly incorrect. They provide a sort of mean value. Intelligence has, nevertheless, a number of levels, and a genius musician, for instance, may not have any imagination or mathematical abilities at all, thus getting incorrect values in the test despite being highly above the average in his or her respective field. 

Character: the word character represents our imprint, our personal logo. It is a system of specific features based upon moral maxims that determine our relation to the environment. They are our acts and actions performed within the ethical bounds.** Character can markedly strengthen or, conversely, weaken the other character features of a person**. The character features show on the outside as certain attitudes and expressions towards oneself and others. These features also express a person´s relation to the work they do, and affect their world outlook. However, they are closely interconnected as is reflected in the well-known proverb „he that will lie will steal and even kill“.

Other features: the ability to manage is a significant inborn feature that we are going to deal with as part of this subject. It is just this sphere where there is the most massive damage and the least success.

Dominance - reasonable self-confidence, inner and outer assuredness and self-respect, we say „he is up to the job“, he or she wants to be seen and is seen. 

Creativity-imagination and inventiveness, finding roads to solutions and targets. It is also an ability to see problems realistically and analyze them. The following features are deemed to be very desirable: 

  • Having the guts to bear the risk - it includes taking the risk catiously, judging all the pros and cons, finding the optimal quality/cost compromise, having reserves, making provisions for a possible failure. 
  • Adaptability - the ability to adapt to changes, the courage to get rid of the old stereotypes in thinking and conduct, greater flexibility in attitudes, yet not „trimming the sails at all times“.
  • Vision - wanting and being able to take a sober look at their own future or the future of their department, company, trade; viewing the targets and purposely searching for roads to these targets.
  • Motivation - the ability to have unceasing enthusiasm, concern, robust ambition and self-assertion, living the feeling of usefulness, proving their qualities. 

There are certain features of character that are regarded as very inapt for management positions, for instance: troubles with self-control, inclination towards the feelings of self-pity, frequent interpesonal conflicts, low vitality, lack of will to assert authority, indifference and selfishness.  

Obviously, it is also necessary to deal with the significance of a particular position and establish essential prerequisites that absolutely have to be fulfilled; what is not so important to be utilized as part of the „human system“.  It has to be considered whether the position is in research, trade, production, whether it is a teamleader or a director, age structure of teams, how the department is currently performing, etc. 

A candidate´s degree of introversion and extroversion must also be considered; you are bound to find it out as early as in the opening test of temperament recommended. A seventy percent melancholic and phlegmatic persons are likely to be strongly introverted, considering every discussion as an attact on their selves. The degree and level of excitability of the nervous system are directly related to the aforementioned test, too. 

A Lesson Learned

For an efficient and successful management system of high quality, you need to know the main component - the human system. It is advisable to know that  the ability to successfully manage others is one of the inborn features and, thus, cannot be learned through practice. If you have a melancholic person study for the MBA degree and appoint him or her as general manager of a trading company, in all likelihood, you will not sell much. It would be different, though, with a research institute position, for instance. 

Good auditors of accredited organizations, who certify quality management systems, are very well aware that the company´s management system is primarily about people working in that company, and only secondarily about the quality of the company´s goods and the success itself. The result of good management is, ultimately, a measurable success, with stress being on the word measurable, for we know that what is not measured „will degenerate“!

And beware! If the desired success is not delivered, it will usually come only after failed negotiations with and among workmates in connection with mistakes made in appointing the wrong people to leading positions.  If it happens, it must always - and on principle - be regarded as a BIG own mistake  – it is only in appointing the right personnel to the management posts that you can find roads to improvement and achieve the hoped-for result.

By way of conclusion, let us add that the „meeting“ question: „How are you managing?“ put in the annotation paragraph makes a tremendous difference, and is worth being dealt with thoroughly.

Marek Mitáček, Lucie Zapletalová

Comments on the article

Specialization

Method

Norm

Advisors

Advisor ideas

„A consultant's mission is to identify suitable ways of solving his or her clients's problems and create systems to work for people.“ more >>

Jiří Střelec Jiří Střelec

If you are concerned with a person, worker, manager being able to develop themselves on their own, it is not appropriate to give them “advice“, but to show them possible directions. Then the person alone will choose such a road to walk as is close to their heart. One which is close to their abilities, one that they are inclined to walk down. It is up to the OwnWay consultant to search and show such roads as will help people resolve their problems. Roads invariably require a system. Whether it is a system for personal use (in private life, family) or corporate use. All these systems are supposed to be easy to use, usable … well, simply for the folks.