ASK JUST ABOUT ANYONE to give you the definition of “management” and you will get as many different interpretations as the number of people you ask. If taken a step further to inquire what the central or even different components to management are, you may end up running in circles. Authors George R. Jones and Jennifer M. George, when writing the book Essentials of Contemporary Management in 2007, finally came up with a clear and concise description of this topic. They describe management as “The planning, organizing, leading and controlling of human and other resources to achieve organizational goals efficiently and effectively.”
While nearly any business can invent, manufacture, deliver and sell a product or service successfully in the marketplace, various elements and combinations of management will always be the central component of success for nearly every type of organization. Management in industry is required in various forms. Regardless of the scope or size of the business in question, the concept of proper management almost always remains the same.
The way a potential product or service is envisioned, the manner in which a business plan is implemented, the target audience being sought, and the selling or provision of the final product necessitates managerial functions at each level for success to be realized at its highest level. From the local entrepreneur to the largest global player in the biggest of industries, the equivalent fundamentals of management still apply. As an organization grows, new and more complex layers of management can appear to accommodate the diverse and demanding aspects of the operation.
A FIRST-HAND CASE STUDY. Years ago, I was recruited by an organization in the credit and financial literacy arena to take on a large-scale, nationwide project. This very public position required expert knowledge of the industry, vast media and public speaking skills and the departmental management of a sizeable workforce. Looking back at the success of the project and the organization itself, it was clear that defined management was the central component of the organization’s success. This chosen direction was not only a preference by executive management, but a prerequisite for survival in an industry that dictates this course. It was here where I actually witnessed the value of the management component of an organization’s direction, and ultimately about its success and the aversion to failure. This first-hand experience became the blueprint for my future dealings, as it showcased the impact of the power and effectiveness of a solid management component.
The industry I was hired into was constantly bombarded with habitual change. Compliance issues, government rulings, new statistics and the status of the economy were only a few of the countless factors demanding attention from key individuals in the organization on a constant basis. These central players operated as managers on all levels and maintained a massive responsibility with that ever-changing landscape of the industry’s outside environment. Numerous non-programmed decisions were also essential elements of each manager’s job description, and with that task came enormous accountability.
It was immediately obvious that the organization functioned with a standard form of hierarchy, which was most likely, true of any other business of their size. The decision-making process followed the appropriate chain-of-command very proficiently. The results achieved, however, were staggering. In analyzing the essential facets of quality management, the organization could have been easily identified as a learning organization, which empowers its managers to be creative, innovative and even self-sufficient at times. This successful process was achieved through a team environment on almost every stage of the company’s chain of command.
BUILDING A FOUNDATION. The foundation of success through organizational learning can most commonly be traced back to the organization’s early existence. The executive leaders charged the most effective managers with implementing an unwritten rule, which was not only to encourage creativity through new ideas and the provision of valid feedback when necessary, but rather, to unofficially mandate this particular process vigorously throughout the entire workforce. What ensued was a domino effect of fresh ideas, unique perspectives, and new strategies. This new-found resource was received by executives with unparalleled exuberance. The biggest benefit conversely, resulted in an extra sense of responsibility by the employees in knowing their efforts were being not only recognized, but implemented as policy. It could be argued that this outcome even established a sense of ownership by the subordinates, thus creating an unexpected loyalty to their craft.
One major example of this outcome can be verified by the creative thinking of one of the teams. The effect of their creativity resulted in an innovative control system feature that was suggested, designed and put into action on all existing products available through the organization’s multiple websites. The breakthrough design change was a smash-hit, hailed by top executives and consumers alike. It was success for everyone on all sides as sales and consumer confidence skyrocketed. In retrospect, this unofficial policy by executives returned a highly positive (and profitable) result.
Following my departure, the organization was operating at optimum level, but some barriers still existed regarding total organizational success. Because of constant change in the business environment, a changing economy, and constant turnovers in all levels of organizational hierarchy, a steadfast approach toward repeated analysis of management components should be implemented. This is true of any company, large or small in scope or size.
FAILURE OR SUCCESS. Large corporations have multiple layers of management. The local entrepreneur may have only one. However, there is always a single common denominator when comparing the two vastly different organizational configurations: “Management and its proper implementation are critical to survival,” says Mitch Petersilge, a successful entrepreneur in Columbus, Ohio. The dynamics of an organization’s sustainability can vary greatly when it comes to the development, capacity and execution of those elements. Initial factors can include a comprehensive business plan, the decision-making process, accounting and bookkeeping, the hiring of quality personnel, pricing, servicing, and market objectives. Once again, these fundamentals apply to nearly every type of organization, large or small. Equally, as an organization grows, its focus must extend to include additional oversight. New areas of concentration may include expansion to new markets, the economy, market share and the investigation into supplementary vertical markets. Arguably, the central component of management takes an even larger presence for not only survival at this point, but also for auxiliary prosperity.
Like Petersilge’s company, an organization may have only one or a few wearers of many hats. Others may have an extensive pecking order of strong managers in place for corporate-wide leadership purposes. It has been demonstrated for decades however, that the end-product of management done properly, consistently produces affirmative results. Many examples can be immediately identified and are widely recognized by the impact of the organization in American commerce. Names such as Bill Gates, Tommy Hilfiger, Estee Lauder, and Donald Trump are representative of individual entrepreneurs who followed similar plans for success, only to achieve financial victory through solid business practices. Each of these wildly successful individuals has been profiled as text book cases for long-term success.
SUCCESS THROUGH THE FUNCTIONS OF MANAGEMENT. In rare cases, the functions of management can take immediate hold in the marketplace to produce extraordinary results. One particular example is actually part of American pop culture and its story is known to millions of Americans, although the name of this innovator may escape most passive history buffs.
Gary Dahl was working as an advertising executive in 1975 when an idea for a product came to him that he believed could make him rich very quickly. He set a course of action with what he indicated as a good idea and a thorough plan, backed by hard work and good marketing. Dahl was able to offer his product for $3.95 to the public (http://www.petsdo.com/blog/pet-rock-made-man-multi-millionaire-6-months-lives
With almost no overhead expenses, an innovative concept, and an excellent marketing plan, which was Dahl’s expertise, he brought the Pet Rock to the marketplace. The results were astonishing. The Pet Rock was delivered to the purchaser in a unique box and was appropriately packed in raffia for effect. It also included a huge instruction manual, which fully explained how to care for and maintain this inanimate object. The public found the concept hilarious and contagious, passing along their reviews of this unique item with friends, family and co-workers. This further propelled the product to a meteoric rise with word-of-mouth advertising, a completely cost-free device.
In the end, Dahl was able to make over 15 million dollars in a matter of six months, and considering the year was 1975, the adjustment for inflation today would be over 56 million dollars earned. This success story has captivated untold numbers of people for various reasons. The other side of this relevant example would be a solid substantiation of the central component of management at work. Dahl had an innovative idea; he converted that idea into a solid business plan; he worked to ensure his success by creating distinctive elements like the instruction manual to make the product even more exclusive; finally, he managed the process of a brilliant marketing plan for the delivery of his simple, yet basic, product to the public. The results were inevitable.
While nearly anyone can start a business or even be hired by an existing one, success is never a guaranteed outcome. Large and small organizations alike must find the harmonious balance of suitable management on every level and in every phase to either ensure success or to augment positive results. The central component of management requires planning, organizing, leading and controlling of human and other resources to achieve organizational goals efficiently and effectively and is applicable in virtually every aspect of all organizations. Regardless of industry type, and notwithstanding the scope or size of the organization, the central component of management is the cornerstone of success.