The One Minute Manager
WHEN the young man arrived at the manager’s office, he found him standing and looking out of the window. When the young man coughed, the manager turned and smiled. He invited the young man to sit down and asked, “What can I do for you?”
The young man said, “I’d like to ask you some questions about how you manage people.”
The manager willingly said, “Fire away.”
“Well, to begin with, do you hold regularly scheduled meetings with your subordinates?”
“Yes, I do – once a week on Wednesdays from 9:00 to 11:00. That’s why I couldn’t see you then,” responded the manager.
“What do you do at those meetings?” probed the young man.
“I listen while my people review and analyze what they accomplished last week, the problems they had, and what still needs to be accomplished. Then we develop plans and strategies for the next week.”
“Are the decisions made at those meetings binding on both you and your people?” questioned the young man.
“Of course they are,” insisted the manager. “What would be the point of having the meeting if they weren’t?”
“Then you are a participative manager, aren’t you?” asked the young man.
“On the contrary,” insisted the manager, “I don’t believe in participating in any of my people’s decision-making.”
“Then what is the purpose of your meetings?”
“I already told you that,” he said. “Please, young man, do not ask me to repeat myself. It is a waste of my time and yours.
“We’re here to get results,” the manager continued. “The purpose of this organization is efficiency. By being organized we are a great deal more productive.”
“Oh, so you’re aware of the need for productivity. Then you’re more results-oriented than people-oriented,” the young man suggested.
“No!” the manager resounded, startling his visitor. “I hear that all too often.” He got to his feet and began to walk about. “How on earth can I get results if it’s not through people? I care about people and results. They go hand in hand.
“Here, young man, look at this.” The manager handed his visitor a plaque. “I keep it on my desk to remind me of a practical truth.”
People Who Feel Good About Themselves
Produce Good Results
As the young man looked at the plaque, the manager said, “Think about yourself. When do you work best? Is it when you feel good about yourself? Or when you don’t?”
The young man nodded as he began to see the obvious. “I get more done when I’m feeling good about myself,” he responded.
“Of course you do,” the manager agreed. “And so does everyone else.”
The young man raised his index finger with new-found insight. “So,” he said, “helping people to feel good about themselves is a key to getting more done.”
“Yes,” the manager agreed. “However, remember productivity is more than just the quantity of work done. It is also the quality.” He walked over to the window and said, “Come over here, young man.”
He pointed to the traffic below and asked, “Do you see how many foreign cars there are on the road?”
The young man looked out at the real world, and said, “I see more of them every day. And I guess that’s because they’re more economical and they last longer.”
The manager nodded reluctantly and said “Exactly. So why do you think people are buying foreign cars? Because American manufacturers did not make enough cars? Or,” the manager said without interrupting, “because they did not make the quality car the American public really wanted?
“Now that I think of it,” the young man answered, “it’s a question of quality and quantity.”
“Of course,” the manager added.