"A lot of things have been said about management over the years: that it's an art, not a science; that it's a science, filled with "best practices" and systematic steps anyone can use to get great results; that it's the fuel that powers successful organizations (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 21-30)" Management has been defined by several people in several ways. However, Mintzberg and his co-authors define management as, "Management is a curious phenomenon. It is generously paid, enormously influential, and significantly devoid of common sense (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 31-47)." Management consists of plans and strategies, but many a times we observe that, the managers lack the common sense of managing the things.
Managing inside the organization refers to planning of the objectives, gathering and organizing all the resources, providing instructions to the employees, and making them work to achieve the desired objectives of the organization. However, Mintzberg provides examples of several articles in this book, wherein they have questioned certain aspects regarding management. Minztberg mentions that, "Does anyone want to work for a manager who lacks the qualities of leadership? That can be pretty discouraging. Well, how about a leader who doesn’t practice management? That can be pretty alienating (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 61-67)."
Considering this quote, we will at least get a thought in our mind that, if we are working under such managers that lack the management and leadership skills, it is not worth of doing such a job. There will be lot of confusions and lot of things will bypass, which a given manager will be unaware about. As a result, at the end the organization will suffer. On the other hand, if we have enough experience and are provided with such responsibilities we shall be definitely doing it. It is more important to learn the practical aspects of management so as to overcome the managerial issues faced within the organization.
On the contrary, consider this quote from the book. It says that, "Sit fifty managers down in a room - though why would you want to, right? - And you’ll get fifty different answers as to what management is and what works best (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 71)." It will again confuse all of us. Management is of course managing the things that we see in order to achieve a common purpose goal. But, if we sit for a group discussion, and plan the objectives, we are definitely going to get endless answers, without any proper direction. And, even if we get correct answers, we will not be able to align them to a common direction. So, finally, we will again confuse all of us regarding what management is. It can be a process to communicate, a process to begin the work, a process to manage the resources, and a process to collaborate to achieve the objectives.
Mintzberg, further asks, "How do you view yourself as a manager? Are you the conductor of a grand orchestra? The President? A guidance counselor? A life coach? Or someone with a tiny little fire extinguisher, constantly running around and well, you get the idea (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 59-60)." If we ask this question to you, we would answer positively to all of the questions asked here. A manager is an individual that not only works for the organization or completes his responsibility assigned to him in a given organization. But, he is a person that will assist all his peer workers, subordinates, senior management and rest all other staff members inside the organization. He will provide all the possible help to any of the internal or external entities of the organization. He is not only the conductor that provides ticketing guidance to all the people; he is also the President that manages the entire organization.
But, at this juncture, mintzberg poses another question. He asks, "Should managing and leading really be considered as two separate things? (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 39)" "Do you really need an MBA? (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 80)" Managing and leading are of course two different concepts and a given manager needs to learn both the aspects.
Mintzberg is making a plea for communityship, and even focuses his thoughts on misleading management. He says that, "Misleading Management brings leadership down to earth and raises questions about why great managers must naturally evolve into great leaders (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 91-93)." He even talks about micro-managing in today's contemporary world. Minztberg in his book has provided a lot of articles, which at the end teach a lesson about management. There have been issues discussed such as what the organizations will do without managers. There is a big difference between what managers do and what the management terminology has to say.
There are several myths about managing, which the authors have tried to clear in their discussion in this book. In addition, they have quoted that, "PowerPoint is Evil (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 95)." PowerPoint is a program meant for the presentations on the plans, products, services, and issues. However, the authors believe that, majority of useful information is missed in such presentations. There are no supporting facts and theories included to explain a given issue in detail.
Mintzberg further talks about the theme of change management. Today, we often find that organizations are facing with the issue of change due to increased globalization. Under such conditions, it becomes all the more difficult to communicate the change throughout the organization. Mintzberg asks, "Is “change management” an oxymoron? (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 100-102)" Thus, they tried to address that, if change has to take place, it cannot take place only through management, and if management exists, change cannot easily take place.
It is important for the managers of the organization to communicate the change, explain the new needs of the organization, and accordingly train the employees to fulfill the new objectives of the organization. Mintzberg mentions that, "Everybody knows the price of the products. Everybody knows the cost. The employees know that 23% of the after-tax profit is theirs (Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, & Lampel 111-114)." And, thus, at the end it is more important to motivate the employees so that they can address the change and work as per the new guidelines provided by the managers of the organization. Management is a craft, and can be learnt through practice. It takes time and is a continuous learning process. There will be constantly challenges and issues regarding managing resources and delivering the outputs on time. But, the managers need to remain calm and keep their concentration on their objectives in order to achieve the desired results at the end.
Mintzberg, Henry, Bruce Ahlstrand, & Joseph Lampel. Management? It's Not What You Think! New York: AMACOM, 2010. Print.