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Selected by Zeeshan Ahmed Khan
Oct 03 - 09, 2005


"To improve communications, work not on the utterer but the recipient."

It is the recipient who communicates. Unless there is someone who hears, there is no communication. There is only noise. One can perceive only what one is capable of perceiving. One can communicate only in the recipients' language or in their terms. And the terms have to be experience-based. We perceive, as a rule, what we expect to perceive. We see largely what we expect to see, and we hear largely what we expect to hear. The unexpected is usually not received at all. Communication always makes demands. It always demands that the recipient become somebody, do something, believe something. It always appeals to motivations. If it goes against her aspirations, her values, her motivations, it is likely not to be received at all or, at best, to be resisted.

Where communication is perception, information is logic. As such, information is purely formal and has no meaning. Information is always encoded. To be received, let alone to be used, the code must be known and understood by the recipient. This requires prior agreement, that is, some communication.

ACTION POINT: Take steps to improve communications by asking recipients to initiate an information exchange. Formulate questions such as, "What objectives do you believe are appropriate for your area of responsibility next quarter?"

Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, practices.


"Staff work is not done to advance knowledge; its only justification is the improvement of the performance of operating people and of the entire organization."

First, staff should concentrate on tasks of major importance that will continue for many years. A task of major importance that will not last forever- for example, the reorganization of a company's management is better handled as a one time assignment. Staff work should be limited to a few tasks of high priority. Proliferation of staff services deprives them of effectiveness. Worse, it destroys the effectiveness of the people who produce results, the operating people. Unless the number of staff tasks is closely controlled, staff will gobble up more and more of operating people's scarcest resource: time.

Effective staff work requires specific goals and objectives, clear targets, and deadlines. "We expect to cut absenteeism in half within three years or two years from now we expect to understand the segmentation of our markets sufficiently to reduce the number of product lines by at least one third." Objectives like these make for productive staff work. Vague goals such as "getting a handle on employ behavior" or "a study of consumer motivation" do not. Every three years or so, it is important to sit down with every staff unit and ask, "what have you contributed these last three years that makes a real difference to this company?"

ACTION POINT: Keep support staff small and few. Establish specific goals and deadlines for all staff work. Make sure goals are linked directly to one or more organizational goals.

The Frontier of Management


"If you think you can win, you can win. Faith is necessary to victory."

WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778-1830), British critic, poet, essayist.

"If I see a good footballer, I like one of that guys who goes in hard for the ball and plays it all the time. Guys who stand on the sidelines, the receivers, are not the ones who will win."

JOHN ELLIOTT, Australian businessman.

"If the customer is faced with two equivalent products, the reason he usually choose one over the other is service. The promise of excellent service is how you win new customers and clients. What many of us forget, however, is that the continued delivery of that service is how you keep clients. It's good business. In the long run, it costs a lot less to hold onto existing clients than to find new ones."

Mark H. McCormack, American consultant.

"If, as a customer, you find the service you receive less than you deserve, it's probably more a reflection of leadership than front line competency. Skills training is critical but nothing will ever replace a great example."

BOB ASHFORD, Australian tourism industry executive.

"In a courtroom, a good lawyer never asks a witness a question to which he doesn't already know the answer."


"In Japan the commitment to quality is so ingrained it's almost like personal hygiene."

LEE IACOCCA, American automotive industry leader.

"Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten."

GUCCI FAMILY, Italian fashion industry dynasty. Family slogan.

"The empires of the future will be the empires of the mind."

WINSTON CHURCHILL (1874-1965), British Statesman, Prime Minister (1940-45 & 1951-55)


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