The Smart Manager

By Craig Kitch


Some years ago, a very high-profile rock and roll band checked into my hotel for six weeks to record a new album.  Their manager had made the arrangements, paid for the rooms and asked me contact him if the guys needed anything extra.  It was exciting to have them in the hotel, even though they were gone most of the time. The one time I knew I would see them each day was between 7 and 7:30 in the morning.  The black stretch limo they had rented would pull around to the back of the hotel and, as the doors opened up, out would pour cigar smoke, liquor bottles, the band and some rather questionable looking women.  These guys were partying like, well, rock stars.

A couple of weeks into their stay the band manager showed up and asked if they could extend their visit at least two more weeks.  Apparently the boys were having such a good time that they were not getting any work done in the studio.  I amended the reservation and asked the manager how he was planning to get things settled down to actually get the work done.  He smiled and said: “Oh, they’ll be all business by Thursday afternoon.  That’s when their wives are showing up from England”.  I could not contain my laughter.  Now, that’s a smart manager.

Managing people is often more art than science.  Jujitsu is an art of weaponless self-defense, developed in Japan, that uses throws, holds, and blows and derives added power from the attacker's own weight and strength.  Someone who is well trained in the skill can literally wear down an opponent without breaking a sweat.  Rather than arguing, threatening and demanding obedience in the situation above, the band manager had simply identified the momentum already operating in these guys lives and used that momentum in his favor.

The best managers don’t quote chapter and verse from the rule book and they seldom threaten their team members to get obedience.  Rather, they learn to recognize the forces at work in the group, identify the true motivators and then use the naturally occurring momentum to gain compliance.  In short, great managers have learned to work smarter instead of harder.  Heavy-handed demands seldom work in the long run and certainly never bring about maximum productivity.  You cannot motivate people to do what you want them to do.  People are already motivated to do what they are doing now.  Great managers learn to use the existing motivation to bring about the desired outcome.

Source: Craig’s Blog


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.