® The Management Game

Remember the Dilbert comic strip? Scott Adam's Dilbert brought into intuitively graphic perspective the frustration felt by the skilled segment of any industry whose supervisors have no clue how to manage them. That is, understand them, get the most out of their skills and work, grow them, reward and coach them, and facilitate their best fit into the organization.

For most of my career in powersports, through the various stages of my understanding of how the layers of staff function, I have continually been mystified by the dreadful lack of effective management, in fact, in many cases the lack of any meaningful cooperation between management and worker. Eventually I came reluctantly to believe in the satirical saying, "the business of America is business." That is, that management is interested only in perpetuating and preserving itself, to the inevitable and sure detriment of their department's product. I used to wonder why supervisors seemed so out of touch with what their reports did, but now I see it as a fundamental difference in objectives. Where you see managers who lack understanding of their departments' assets, what you're looking at are managers who are working to goals having nothing to do with the department's product. They are in fact playing "the management game."

Players of the management game view their staff as important only in terms of how they can make them look good and further their career. in the management game, good ideas seldom come from the rank and file, either literally because of apathy, or politically because only managers are allowed to "have" ideas. That is, they invariably get the credit when good ones surface. Not only the credit, the benefit, the advancement and reward. In the management game, information is power and interdepartment communication is a rare commodity to be wielded like a sword, each manager guarding his turf.

Is there a better explanation for so many conpany surveys revealing a dismal 7 percent satisfaction figure among non-managers? The management game wastes time and resources, breeds apathy and contempt in the rank and file, and advocates "business as usual" instead of innovation, challenge, inspiration and growth. If at your job the management game isn't bring played, count yourself blessed. It is in most places. What a way to run a business!

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