Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Management 101, 201, 301, and 401

I've seen and read lots of business books that ostensibly have significant insights into the role of management, but here in one sentence is the best summary I can think of. It comes from Dr. Stuart Rosenberg, who is CEO of our faculty practice, Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians at BIDMC:

"The only role of management is to create an environment where people left to their own devices and unsupervised are most likely to engage in behavior that advances the goals of the organization."

He elaborates in a second sentence:

"That means that people have the training, equipment, space, motivation, pay, understanding of expectations, sense of fulfillment and joy, and all the other things that will ensure that their behavior, the only thing that counts, is what we desire for the organization."

(Just as a reminder for those unfamiliar with makeup of many academic medical centers, HMFP is a separate corporation from BIDMC (the hospital), and it serves as the employer for the physicians on our faculty. Stuart therefore is a peer to me, the hospital CEO, and the two of us and our organizations must work with a great sense of interdependence and collaboration to create joint success. I feel very lucky to have a partner of his caliber as we carry out our public service mission together.)

2 comments:

e-Patient Dave said...

This reminds me, clear as a bell, of Robert Townsend in Up the Organization in the Sixties. If you don't have a copy, I may still have mine. Short, and a great read. (Very lippy, though!)

He empowered middle managers before anyone had heard the word, and said his main job was to get people what they needed, carry water for them, and get out of the way.

As he took the top job at Avis (which was being driven out of business by Hertz), people said his first task was to ditch all the losers. Instead within a few years an acquisition team said they'd already found four or five solid candidates for general manager.

Greg D. said...

"The only role of management is to create an environment where people left to their own devices and unsupervised are most likely to engage in behavior that advances the goals of the organization."

My gosh...that statement is an absolute treasure!