Gareth Chick, Director, Spring Partnerships
Time and motion studies have thankfully gone the way of other outmoded management practices, since they were based upon a profound lack of trust in people, and were used as a very blunt instrument by managers who simply wanted to exercise ever greater control over their ‘human resources’. Very Frederick Taylor. Very 1950s.
And yet how are we to improve things if we don’t measure efficiency? How are we to know that everything is as it should be if we don’t check up on people? The mantra ‘I trusted my people to do the job right’ is not going to save any manager from the chop in the face of catastrophic failure. The problem of course is that we often shy away from checking up on people, for fear of them playing the ‘you don’t trust me’ card at us. And aren’t we supposed to be modern, inclusive, delegating leaders these days? Surely double checking and being a pain in the arse is ‘old school’ management?
One of my very first bosses Michael Munn (a brilliant retailer, but quite a difficult guy to work for) had a mantra:
“in management, you never get what you expect, you only get what you inspect”
and while as a natural truster of people part of me railed against this as being a pretty negative view of people at work, I have to say I have had occasion to rue the day I didn’t heed Michael’s words.
And so I set out to establish processes that both trust people and check up on them – to establish performance management processes that both motivate and control. The key for me lies in the word ‘performance’.