Without doing the proper research, I would have to guess that fewer than 1% of the managers in large corporations are decent managers. They are usually finance or salespeople who know nothing about leadership and real management of people. Most feel they are gods, that the company is theirs, and do not realize that their real job is to serve the workers in the company and the stockholders.
Apparently Sam Walton was an example of a good manager, and I can name a couple more, but that is all that I know about.
But again, I haven't really studied them all. Yes, Enron, etc. are horrible examples of bad managers - crooks actually.
What is really funny/sad is that the only people really schooled in leadership and judged on their leadership skills are the military leaders. Now, does it make any sense to have CEO's and COO's with no leadership skills or training?
I also think that all candidates for such offices need to be evaluated by shrinks and detectives for untreated personality disorders, ethics, honesty, etc. before being given the position. Privates in the army with sensitive jobs have to have extensive background checks, but not CEO, CFO, or COO's. Its nuts.
Finally we are definitely seeing eye to eye in this area ..Science and engineering is basically there to solve problems and managers to facilitate that process and not to add to the bureacratic difficulties which often happen with people management..
The wastage that goes on with loss of time in solving people problems is often invisible and yet time consuming.. also info sieving for the right answers amidst tons of irrelevant info. in this day of instant avalanche of info..is an art and a science..
Good managers with a pragmatic head are hard to find..yet these guys at the top are paid top dollars even when they do a bad job...that is when I feel the sleeping shareholders esp individuals and not instituional ones have to educate themselves and do something about that..see all the downfall of Emron etc..it is the overpaid fat cats up there that are ripping shareholders off doing a lousy job..till it is too late..We want value for our money..as consumers, as shareholders , as the ultimate victim of bad management..we are at the bottom end of the food chain and the command chain who are the real victims...are we starting a revolution here?? lol
Bonnie" "But today alot of the savvy young engineers are pursuing MBA degrees to become managers with technical skills"
Yes, I did that too. It doesn't work. There is not enough time in the week to manage and keep up with designs and technology. Just keeping up with technology takes about 15-30 hours per week, in additon to your real duties.
Also, by studying management, you realize that upper level management knows little about modern management, so that often just makes you even more unhappy with them.
Within a few years after graduation, a engineer has lost most of his technical skills; becomes obsolete, unless he continues to read and understand the trade developments. In fact, you learn more out of school that you ever would learn in school because schools are usually several years behind the state of the art. Few managers have the time.
Generally speaking, most managers in engineering companies were people that were not great engineers, even if they had the degree. In other words, if you can't be a good engineer, at least you can be a manager. This is especially true in the government.
www..agreed with what you say about the dichotomy in management and technical staff. But today alot of the savvy young engineers are pursuing MBA degrees to become managers with technical skills..and they are in high demand.. I am very keen that the school curriculum give more attention to the hard sciences here in UK . Historically British society have been one that respects men of letters rather than sciences..hence engineers are never as well paid as managers..but today there is a growing demand for both skills and there are never enough of men who are good at both..it has to do with the school curriculum which has failed to adddress that issue.
Problem solving has to do with experience and training. All the degrees in the world won't help unless they are able to solve problems using all the skills they have mastered. Unfortunately problem solving skill is rarely taught well at school which often tend to only provide set information and fact for regurgitation to pass exams. The true test of all work force is not just discipline, hardwork but also creativity , initiative and intelligence in solving problems and delivering the goods.. A highly professional labor force is the invisible oil in the economic machinery of successful enterprise. Read 'The seven cultures of Capitalism'- a thorough book on management culture in 7 developed countries and how capitalism as an ideology is defined in these different countries.
There is even a bigger problem in almost all major corporations and governments than those stated in previous posts.
It is the lack of a dual career path - 1. Technical, 2. Managerial.
When computer technology was young, good technical experts made much more money than their "managers", and respect went with the pay. A manager did not tell the technical experts how to design or program, etc. The managers were really administrative and project managers, not command and control managers.
This changed later, such that the manager had all of the decision making power, ever over technical issues for which he was not qualified. In the beginning, the management role was to support the technical effort by providing organizational skills, gather resources and facilities, administrative support, project management and coordination, etc to enable the technical people to accomplish their tasks.
When the dual career path disappeared, many projects and products became worthless or not cost effective . The same thing happened at NASA. I have seen over $300 million wasted when the manager decided the most knowledgeable technical experts were wrong. Apparently it happens almost everywhere in government and in almost every large corporation. There needs to be technical decision makers at every level in the organization, in charge of technical issues, with a side by side working relationship with the ADMINISTRATIVE manager at that level. The savings would be worth 10-100 times the extra cost from my experience.
No manager will ever want to share power with a technical wenie, so the board of directors, etc. must force the issue.
You need a mix, of the young and old. The older should be mentors, advisors, and consultants to the young with the high energy. _______________________________________
wwwww..agreed with you absolutely on that basis but not many of the older echelon are willing learners like you..the Chinese politburo was full of these geriatics and there are still some of them around who are so resistant to any change and there is no retirement age for them , so the country had to wait till they die before any change could be implemented..
I agree about the mix of old and young provided the old are not fixed in their rigid ways insisting on being at the top and being the decision makers..the role of mentoring and advisor is sometimes lost to those at the top who are used to having their power to decide ..the charity I help is suffering from just that aging syndrome where none of them could contribute effectively but insist on being there doing and contributing little..and that could frustrate the younger members who eventually will just drop out..knowing when to take a back seat gracefully is important.
As for Sharp's friend- the Chinese agenda today has always been to replace the Westerner as soon as possible for control sake and they are prepared to learn thru mistakes some of which could be expensive.
Most of my Singapore friends have been headhunted for the top jobs which use to be a Westerner's position. They are all well trained abroad and have had years of experience working in all the large centers in the West.
In the next half of this century , the Chinese will be investing abroad and that is when they will take on the local Westerner to run their companies if they trust them..a sort of reverse cycle will happen and is already happening in various EU and US centers..so it would be useful for Americans and Europeans to start their kids on Chinese .The Australians are the only one who have included Chinese and Japanese as their second languages in their schools
Sharp: "Considering he had an Electrical Engineering degree and 25+ yrs of experience I was surprised that the Chinese would replace everyone...after all how many of their workers could have degrees and that length of experience to fill all the jobs?"
Your friend and for that matter everyone today in the labour force is dispensable, disposable and replaceable..it is the new philosophy not just in china but the entire world
I see this everywhere also, but they are making a big mistake. While its true that some people with lots of years of experience may be inflexible, they are easy to spot.
Experience can keep you from making really bad mistakes that would a younger person, with their optimism would never think about. The possible downside is important.
I entered the computer field when I was 22 and really was only reaching my peak usefulness when I decided to retire. I did keep up with technology all of those years, so I had experience plus 30 years of learning under my belt. I can't tell you how many times I saw people repeat a mistake that I saw 5 or 10 years previously. Without experience, you invent the wheel over and over. That is a waste.
You need a mix, of the young and old. The older should be mentors, advisors, and consultants to the young with the high energy. They should guide, step in on really critical decisions - with a veto if necessary, and sit back and watch the fun begin. This is not happening.
good time to tell a chinese tale here:
A great cook made a delicious duck soup and invited his neighbor to come taste it..he went a way and told another neighbor and he came and ask for some..he then went a way and told a friend about the soup and the friend came to ask to try some, and it was still so good that he went away and told another friend..this went on for a while.the cook was running out of soup so he kept adding water to his pot of soup...and finally the umpteenth friend who is now a stranger comes to the cook and ask to try some of this wonderful soup and told the cook that it was a friend of a friend of a friend who ask him to come and ask for this soup...he tasted it and found it was completely tasteless and asked why the soup is so tasteless..the cook replied: 'Oh, this is the soup of the soup of the soup of the soup of the duck..'
Moral of the story: Chinese are hospitable to all but their hospitality is dictated by proximity and blood relation..a chinese official once told me: 'There is no corruption only connection here in China..' GUANXI is a chinese word for that intimate relationship that could only be nurtured through time and trust and is not built in a single day but through years of deep friendship, hardship and sacrifice..
When I draft a chinese agreement my job is to reduce 500 pages of English legalese to a 5 page document..trust is not written in ink but in the heart when dealing with the Chinese..and that is really tough for me as an English trained lawyer..
Your friend and for that matter everyone today in the labour force is dispensable, disposable and replaceable..it is the new philosophy not just in china but the entire world..our kids will need to be multi-skilled and should expect not to be in the same job for life since their jobs could be replaced oneday by a cheaper labor source somewhere in the world or by machines..hence it is vital that they be drummed with the work ethos that they need to be flexible, trainable at any age,willing to change and retrain anytime and anywhere to keep up with new demands in their job or other jobs that they may need to take on..
'Change is the only constant factor in life..' v wise Buddhist saying..if we fail to change with the times we become defunct and extinct like dinosaurs which could not cope with the demands of their own environment...human resource is the only resource that is possibly the most untapped and flexible resource in the world..and yet the leaders of this world is so totally blind to that fact.
The mind is the most unexplored territory that will remain the main catalyst for change..
Your friend may have 25 years of experience but the question is whether that experience is relevant or does it make him too resistant to change?
Betty Friedan , one of US first feminist has done an indepth study at Harvard with gerontologists on the new revolution she expects from the greying community ..that they are an untapped source of experience which has been isolated from the mainstream community..she advocates that society re-examine how these people (which include us baby-boomers) need to be reintegrated and be a useful source to the community rather than be isolated behind gated retirement homes..our generation will have to lead this revolution if we are to give ourselves a relevant and useful role in th larger community..will our experience be of relevance to a changing world?
good idea to start a new thread here...lol
Minerva415 write: . There are so many interesting places to live: the East Coast - maybe Wash DC? New York - Boston? Even Florida although I'm not sure how I would handle the extreme heat and humidity. Then there's Chicago -..so darn far away from Europe! I have that to consider too - would like to be able to fly back to Europe fairly easily.... not spend endless hours on planes and in airports. ___________________________________
you are so right ..all the points u mentioned have been my dilemma too..I think as we get older travelling does take its toll..I really hate long flights..and jet lag..hence i need to spend at least a month at each place if i need to travel.. Weather is important..love theWest coast, Hawaii..but it is so far from everywhere..just had dinner with a Hawaiian friend tonight and we were lamenting that too..I love cities..so it would be Tokyo, London SF, NY..maybe Madrid, Paris..sometimes..or by the time I am ready to put my feet up ..I might just stay put somwhere and watch it all on TV..lol and be the arm chair traveller..
The Era of Tiananmen is long gone..gone are all the blue dull Mao suits..Shanghai and Beijing make NY seem like smallsville..the Chinese can not get enough of the material life.Shanghai is now a threat to HK in importance as a biz centre and Singapore being much further away is more a hi-tech service center.. We have over 25,000 families located all over in China, since most of us have the added advantage of being bi-lingual. Several of my Singapore friends head foreign corporations there..from advertising to car manufacturing and legal expertise..so for the time being Singapore is good value for the Chinese..a sort of bridging facility to help the Chinese assimilate to the ways of the west since we have succeeded at it longer and has a unique blend of the best of both worlds..in decipline and technology.
The Americans are more welcome than the Brits because of the negative experiences of the Opium war and Boxer revolution historically, so the Chinese are not as warm to the Brits..Anything to do with creative and design skills..which could not be copied nor reproduce as fakes, but important to the growth of the economy is negotiable and trade-able..China's entry to WTO hopefully will give some confidence to the western investor that the Chinese are keen to be a big fair player..so it is very exciting times as far as talent pool and market potential is concerned..but one need to invest heavily in their trust because the Chinese have traditionally kept business in the family and clans and would not trust any outsider..so building that trust requires patience and lots of inter-relational skills..
Got back from Beijing and shanghai last month and heading there soon.. very busy cities..and takes getting use to even for an overseas chinese like me..distribution of wealth is uneven but getting there when free enterprise allows the individual to make their own income and wealth creation opportunities are there..
a talent pool of 1.2 bn is beyond imagination. A friend told me that when they invited the NY Philamonic staff to explore and hunt for talents there, they could not believe the response they got, 2000 candidates line the streets every day for audition , it was overwhelming..and as a consumer market , it is going to be voracious , the chinese as a noveau riche class will be ready to devour anything foreign..so all u need is to sell them this imagined lifestyle ..
The west should not fear them, but work with them to get the best out of them..politics is not important to the Chinese but wealth creation is..they still like to provide for the extended family and create wealth for dynastic line..
Sharp, YOu are right weather is a good reason for escape to another country.
I try to escape grey British winters here..but because the kids hae longer summer holidays we always land up being away then and miss out on UK at its best...
Escape to another place is also a romantic opportunity cos u never know who you might meet along the way..I imagine myself as a Lady samurai in the old days who venture form town to town to stay a little while , get to know the people and solve a little of their problems..and move on..the predecessor to modern global gypsy life..
WE have only one life, live it whichever you wish but never in regret.
I chose love and adventure and was not short-changed..the adventure carries on...the other side of the mountain is always a curiosity for me ..and so I chose to keep climbing mountains and crossing oceans..I have done it for love, and continue to do it for myself as well..and have never regretted this adventure ..nothing venture nothing gain..has always been my motto..and the vast memories I have collected in my adventure makes it all worthwhile, I refuse to go to my diary and write 'ditto ditto' everyday...
Bonnie, you have lead what seems to be one exciting multicultural life. In some ways I am jealous of that life. All that being said and getting back to the topic... My chosen profession prevents me from extreme amounts of travel outside the United States. If I were to find a soulmate who lived in Europe or any other country and it was my decision to move, I would have to abandon my career and establish a new career in another field.
pianist and harpsichordist..her prolific works are on the website ..if you want to listen to her CDS drop me a line..
Go for it, travel the world while you are still young..the danger is you may be so smitten by it , you could never go home again..you get constant itchy feet to pack and go..and you will not know where to retire..and if you marry one of them, your kids will be in danger of becoming expat brats..they travel at a young age, land up in boarding schools and think that everyone is like them jetting around the world..and like mine they are quite rootless and don't really know where home is really..
but the upside is you get a directory of friends from all continents. you learn to appreciate all cultures and people and know them a t a much more intimate level when you learn their language and live in their country for a long spell..the world is your oyster, be the pearl in it, all it needs is a little grit!
considered it, and came close twice in the past (to Germany). Am considering it in the near future too. Would like to try Asia - Korea or Japan. I would consider relocating for the right mate, but would do it on my own as well.
I m not a paying member so can't mail you but I am one of the many expats who work all over the world these days, and there is a huge community of us whose paths constantly cross , hence our network straddle several countries..and the world is that much smaller when you work and live like that...when you realise you take more plane rides than bus rides and see more hotel rooms than your own room..
I am a lawyer..and so was my late husband..our specialty was mainly cutting edge legal deals for multinationals..aircraft leasing, securitisation of mortgages, project financing for Multi-corps in all industries..so it entails working in all the financial centers..his law firm which I now do some work as a consultant, have offices in several major financial cities in the world.so we work and live in several of these cities, usually in 3 -6 year cycles...tho I claim to retire, I continue to be asked to work on one off projects mainly because of my language skills and knowledge of EU and Asian markets..currently involved in a project that will take me all over from Europe to China and possibly US major cities..but this time it is more cultural ..and involves Olympics in China.. leaving next week for Bulgaria where a group of us, mainly lawyers, impresarios and musicians are trying to bring a group of the most talented and beautiful all-girl orchestra to Asia..some of the most talented bankers/legal practitioners that I know also have multi talented skills,a lot are patrons of arts and culture..hence London is one of the most attractive centers for them.The girlfriend of mine (we were law school chums) who asked me to help in this huge project is herself an international impressario/lawyer/composer /concert...
Having lived and worked in so many countries and continents ..I am already making plans to have 3 homes in three continents..I m looking to US as the 3rd ..but can't decide west or east coast..so that I will spend time in all three at different times of the year..once a global nomad like so many of my friends in the expat community , everywhere is home as long as you have real friends and I could never be happy in any place for too long..I work in a sort of 6 year cycle..and travel a lot in a year dividing time between all 3 continents..waiting to explore S. America and Africa...looking for LAT companion for just that very reason...lol