We all want a comfortable and productive future life. We can work towards it if we think it through.
Management is the ability to understand the future possibilities and organize methods and products and resources to optimize the preferred effects. Management is the method of establishing a beginning and then evolving a future that we want and can achieve. Management at any level of ability adds value.
While much of management theory aims at business and other institutions, some of the ideas easily transform into the everyday life of individuals. Here are two from W. Edwards Deming:
- “Without theory, there are no questions.”
- “A goal without a method is nonsense.”
In the individual context, theory can begin by addressing strategy. The answer to the “W” questions.
- Who am I? Who else is involved?
- What do I want?
- What do I have to get it with?
- Where do I want to be?
- When should things happen?
- Why do I believe or want these things instead of some of the other possibilities?
A clear understanding of the fabric of the management problem will make it easier to go to step 2. Implementing.
To paraphrase Deming, if you don’t have a way to implement, you don’t have a goal, you have a dream or a wish.
Implementing in the personal sphere can sometimes involve products, or methods assisted by others. A retirement plan, insurance of many kinds, a budget, a method of educating one’s self, counseling to overcome weaknesses, spiritual development, community growth. All are possible, and well-executed decisions make personal fulfillment more likely.
Be cautious of over-managing problems and opportunities. There are many things that do worse under the wrong form of management. Deming has addressed that.
“It is a mistake to suppose that if you cannot measure the results of an activity, you cannot manage it. The fact is that the most important losses and gains cannot be measured, yet for survival they must be managed.”
Raising children. Having strong relationships. Leadership.
Over-management and over-measurement are symptoms of impatience and inability to trust. Neither of those characteristics lead to success. Be cautious of seeking things that are impossible within the time frame you would like to see. You cannot grow good vegetables if you pull them up every Thursday to see how they are doing. Nature has its own time.
Our lives have rhythm and flow. The lives of others need not define how our rhythm and flow should happen. That Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg left Harvard to start hugely successful businesses need not govern your life or mine. We have other strengths and missions.
We have a duty to find ourselves, our ambitions, our strengths, and a way to connect those to the world around us. A world that we understand too little in the beginning, but with thought and a little help from mentors, parents, friends and specialized professionals. we can achieve a union of our strengths, weaknesses and the world about us.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org 866-285-7772