July 21, 2002
At a company like Intel, where technology is really the key (a “technology company”), the engineer is treated like the customer would be a customer-service company like Nordstrom or Walmart. That is to say, everyone reports to them. Is this Sam Walton’s idea of the “servant leader”?
What is management? 1) The act, manner or process of managing… so what does it mean to manage?
1) To direct, or control the use of; handle 2a) To exert control over 2b) To make submissive to one’s authority, discipline, or persuasion 3) To direct the affairs or interests of 4) To succeeed in accomplishing or achieving, especially with difficulty; contrive or arrange
Of these 4, which one do I mean when I talk about management? 1) Direct or control use of - not exactly what I am getting at as I mean management (business management) as being just one aspect of a larger skill of management that does not even have to involve “use”, 2a) exert control over - yes, it has something to do with control but I would think of it more as direction, the way a director directs a mvie. Great managers seem - maybe - to control without exerting cintrol. They do not think of people as dials, knobs, etc. but as responsibile and responsive actors.
Similarly, 2b), to make submissing to one’s authority, fails here since at great customer-service companies it is management who are “submissing” (or better cooperative) to what the engineers, customers, etc. need. 3) To direct the affairs or interests works bettter here as it incorporates this idea of “direction” just as one acknowledges the flow of a river but still might re-direct it (through a dam, say). 4) is the sense of “I managed to” - not what I mean, although there is a common sense implicit there of “managing” an unknown or something adverse.
Maybe that’s why people manage companies or are managers but never say “I manage x number of people”. I mean, having individuals as the object of “manage” doesn’t seem to happen very often.