In a broadcast on business channel CNBC, the leader of a major flight attendant’s union discussed the financial plight of
her members’ employer, a well-known
airline. Throughout the interview she
consistently referred to her union as
“we” and the airline as “they.”
The hostility between employer
and employee came through loud
and clear. Plainly, management did
not have everyone pulling on the oars
toward the same finish line. In point
of fact, the management of that nearly
defunct airline has failed to manage.
Understand this important point.
People, by nature, resist being managed. They are not like machines
that are set up, tested, and produce
consistently for hours, even years. On
the other hand, you cannot motivate a
machine to go beyond the call of duty,
make one plus one equal three. Only
people can accomplish that.
The key to extraordinary achievement is what famed management
consultant Marvin Bower called
activating people – getting them to cut
loose and excel. Don’t forget that you,
as a manager, create performance and
reach your objectives only through the
actions of your people.
Bower notes that there are eight
principle means to get people going:
Orders – Commanding another to
Penalties – Threatening or impos-
ing punishment for poor performance.
Advice – Suggesting, rather than
ordering, a specific course of action.
Constructive Job Attitudes – Providing freedom to act, opportunity to
advance, and a sense of achievement.
Rewards – Paying for achieving
target results with money and/or advancement.
Personal Commitment – Stimulating interest in the job and company.
Self-Government – Creating a small
unit environment where effort is connected directly to success.
Leadership – Inspiring effort and
The first seven of Bower’s methods
form a continuum ranging from strict
command-and-control (orders) to empowerment (self-government). But one
element is common to all – a requirement for communication. No matter
which approach is chosen, you must
articulate the message to your audience.
Getting that communication right
requires some thought.
Here are 12 principles to follow:
1. Develop the Message – A key role
of managers is to define (a) what the
company is aiming to realized and (b)
how those objectives generally will be
achieved. That message should have
three essential parts:
- What are the objectives.
- What your people have to do.
- How your people benefit.
2. Sell the Message – Every employee deserves to hear your company’s
goals and how they can contribute.
Yet it goes beyond that. Employees
Activate your people to succeed
must ‘buy’ your message just like your
customers buy your product. That step
takes what management guru Adrian
Slywotzky calls internal marketing.
Your customers don’t buy your prod-
ucts or services simply because you
offer them. It’s no different for your
employees, your ‘internal customers’.
You must deliver a convincing argu-
ment that entices them to act.
by Art Raymond
firstname.lastname@example.org RAYMOND’S VIEW
People, by nature, resist being managed.
; Want more? Read more Art Raymond columns
Over 48 years Art Raymond worked with manufacturers of
furniture, cabinetry, and other wood products around the world
to solve management and technical problems and to grow their
businesses. As the capstone to his career he served Hooker
Furniture Corporation as Senior Vice President, Operations
retiring in 2013. Contact him at email@example.com.