Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Intentional management 38: adding people and their management into the equation 1

Posted in HR and personnel, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on January 10, 2017

This is my 38th installment in a series in which I discuss how management activity and responsibilities can be parsed and distributed through a business organization, so as to better meet operational and strategic goals and as a planned intentional process (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and its Page 4 continuation, postings 472 and loosely following for Parts 1-37.)

There are two fundamentally distinct points of orientation that can be pursued, when organizing and presenting a more general theory of management:

• You can orient your discussion and frame it primarily from the perspective of what would be operationally and strategically managed and carried out, and with that framed in terms of business processes and systems of them that would be followed, and in terms of supporting resources that enable them. And this would mean focusing on primary, more routinely followed plans and procedures, and on exception handling and contingency planning, and the range of related issues that enter into this general narrative.
• And alternatively, you can orient your discussion and frame it primarily from the perspective of who would participate in all of this activity, and focus on the human behavior side of it. That means focusing on the hands-on employees and managers in a business as they contribute their efforts to the carrying out of this work, where the work itself is considered more in terms of their job descriptions and their goals and stretch goals in fulfilling them, and in how they do or do not take the initiative when faced with the unexpected.

I began this series by primarily pursuing the first of these two bullet pointed approaches and have continued along that line from Part 1 until here. I begin switching orientation in this installment to more fully consider the second of those bullet points too. From this perspective, you can view the first 37 installments of this series and their more What and How discussion of management and management systems, as background context for when considering the Who of this. And my goal in pursuing this line of discussion here is to round out and complete, at least a first step presentation of an intentional and contextual management framework as a whole. A true general theory of management has to in fact, address the issues and perspectives of both of the above bullet points.

With that noted, I begin to more fully explore the Who side of this approach to management. And as a starting point for that, let’s begin by considering the fundamentals:

• I have repeatedly argued a case for viewing Human Resources as a more centrally important functional area in a business, and in the same way that other more commonly recognized core functional areas are (e.g. Finances, as a second more cost-center example.) And I have attempted to justify that conclusion through a flow of ongoing case study example-based reasoning that I have been presenting throughout this blog, and certainly up to here.
• If Human Resources should best be considered such a core functional area in a business or organization,
• And if the most senior managing director of that department or service should be a member of the executive level strategy team there, for their key role in shaping and managing (centrally important) personnel policies and practices,
• Then managers and senior managers in Human Resources in general should know and understand management systems if they are to effectively contribute to this higher level strategically oriented management activity.
• And the assessment of role and involvement that I make note of here certainly should be considered valid when a business’ personnel are in fact deemed to represent one of its most important assets – and when that frequently expressed sentiment stands for more than just marketing hype.
• So the first 37 installments to this series actively belong in the Human Resources and Personnel related postings directory that I offer in this blog, as offering a set of basic background resources on management theory and practice to people who would look there for resources. And this posting and the subsequent follow-up installments to it that will follow, belong in the Human Resources and Personnel directory here too for their more direct personnel policy and practice relevance.
• And to flip that bullet point’s line of reasoning around, the whole of this series also correspondingly belongs in a Business Strategy and Operations directory too. The goal there is that everyone on the executive strategy team in a business should start on the same page and with a similar approach and a similar basic vocabulary for discussing operational and strategic issues. That obviously does not have to mean the approach that I have been offering here, but whatever more comprehensive approach is followed, everyone in the room, involved in shared strategic decision making responsibilities should do so in shared terms and with shared underlying assumptions in place.
• My goal for this posting is to set the stage for offering a more complete such shared framework that can be turned to as needed.

I begin addressing intentional management from a Personnel and people management perspective, by returning to the fundamentals as to what an intentional management approach seeks to accomplish as a systematic methodology:

• Bottom line, this approach seeks to arrive at and pursue a management system that would be optimized for any specific business under consideration, with its particular business model and overall mission and vision goals, and its marketplace and general context, and with its corporate culture in place. And this approach would at least ideally offer a relatively clear path forward for planning out and executing upon business growth.
• And this approach as considered from a Human Resources and Personnel perspective, seeks to develop and implement a combination of personnel policy and practice, and employee and team management, that enable realizing those goals,
• And for all of the various individuals who have to actually carry out that work, and as non-managerial hands-on employees and as managers of all levels and throughout the table of organization,
• And for the functional teams that they work within in doing this,
• And for the organization as a whole.

I began addressing the first of of this set of bullet points in Part 1, with a brief orienting discussion of an historical default management model. And I am going to continue this posting’s line of discussion in a next series installment, and from that same baseline management model; I will in fact use that as a default model starting point here too. Then I will begin adding in complications that would stress simple adherence to this default model (exactly as I did in Parts 2-37.) And in anticipation of discussion to come, this is where scalability per se, and change and uncertainty enter this narrative, among other complications. And they do so on the Who side of this overall narrative, just as they do on the What and How side as already looked into. I will begin to more formally present and discuss on these issues in my next series installment here.

Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings and series at Business Strategy and Operations – 4, and also at Page 1, Page 2 and Page 3 of that directory. Also see HR and Personnel and HR and Personnel – 2.

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