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Innovative Management & Leadership Resources

    

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Incorporated 1966

      

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Major Innovative Concepts, Models, Methods, and Tools

  

Managerial/Leadership (Integrative) Process Model

    This is a newer and more insight-generating model of the traditional managerial/leadership (integrative) or POSDCORE process model, where the basic functions are arranged into this sequence: Plan-Organize-Staff-Direct-Coordinate-Report-Evaluate-Control). This version goes several important steps beyond. First, it inserts “analyzing” and “decision making” at appropriate points in the process, showing that the managerial or leadership process is essentially the analytic approach to problem solving. Second, it enables the introduction of various fresh insights and innovative practices.

 

Importance

    The model is actually the “core” of the processes portion of the Unified Practice of Management™ models in the book, Next-Generation Management Development. In addition to illustrating that the managerial/leadership or integrative process is actually the analytic approach to problem solving process, it also shows that the analytic approach is used for structuring and increasing the effectiveness of strategic and annual planning processes, “change management” processes, project management processes, communication processes, and learning processes (because planning and problem-solving situations are major modes of learning).

   Several related figures, including the “Relationships Among the Processes” figure, also show that―especially during team planning, problem-solving, and decision-making processes―participants are almost certainly performing most if not all of those processes at the same time! So they can use the same analytic approach to structure how they are communicating and what they are learning during those major think-work processes. It also means that by learning how to structure any one of these processes, one is also learning the basics of structuring the others. And it further means that each time one of these processes is taught, covered, and/or practiced, there is an opportunity to relate it to the others and reinforce the learning and skill development involved in all of them. That is an extremely important aspect of effectively developing and reinforcing practical management and leadership skills!

   This model is also significant because it helps explain that managerial and leadership styles can be described and defined in terms of how superiors interact with and behave toward subordinates while performing (or getting performed) the integrative functions.

 

The Managerial Target®

    Back in 1976, this was the very first circular rather than grid-based managerial/leadership style model. Today it is the only four- (rather than two-) dimensional model that is descriptive, explanatory, and prescriptive all at the same time.

 Importance

    The “Target” has two important advantages over other managerial/leadership style models:

   First, it is the only model that describes and explains personal influences on styles in terms of levels of four groups of specific traits or inputs: (a) task-oriented motive/attitudinal traits; (b) task-related capabilities/competencies; (c) people-oriented  motive/attitudinal traits; and (d) people-related capabilities or competencies. In other words, it shows that various combinations of levels of both motivational factors and capabilities influence managerial and leadership behavior (styles) in various ways (in addition to many non-personal socio-technical influences).

   Second, a five-style model, it enables instructors to relate managerial and leadership behavior to many other managerial and interpersonal phenomena: (a) integrative functions; (b) life positions identified by Berne (1961, 1963, 1964); (b) associated ego states (I’m OK, you’re OK) popularized by Harris (1969); (c) interpersonal styles such as those indicated in the Interpersonal Target™ (a version of The Managerial Target®); and many others. In other words, by interrelating all these models and concepts, it is possible to do what cannot be done with the situational leadership model: provide insights into how all of the following influence managerial and leadership behavior: (a) managerial and leadership responsibilities; (b) levels of personal traits; (c) attitudes about oneself, (d) attitudes about others, (e) attitudes about what others can do for oneself, and (f) attitudes about one’s relationships with others. [Imagine trying to interrelate all the models just mentioned with the Situational Leadership four-style (four-quadrant) grid model. It simply cannot be done.]

  

Advocacy of “High Task, High People” Style Over Situationalism

    “One best style” versus situationalism is a years-old debate. However, I think I have actually figured out a way to deal with it. The discussion appears in full in my forty-page, academically vetted article with the short title, HT,HP v. Situationalism [or the longer title, Describing, Comparing, and Reconciling ‘One Best Style’ and ‘Situational’ (Contingency) Theories].

   Situational leadership asserts that there is no “one best” leadership or managerial style, so one must use one of four possible styles (or some combination thereof) to fit different situations―situations involving subordinates’ “maturity level” with respect to each of their tasks. Regardless of the many significant flaws identified in the article, situationalism has become and remains very popular.

 The “High Task, High People” Approach and Its Importance

    I have developed, and always advocated using, what I call a “High Task, High People” (or “one best style”) approach to managing and leading people. This team or participative approach has been advocated by many management and leadership gurus. The case for these “one best style” approaches is fully described and explained in the above-mentioned article, which can be summarized as follows:  As shown using Raymond Miles’ Human Resources model, it is possible to behave in a highly task-oriented and highly people-oriented manner at the same time. The reasons: (a) while task-oriented behavior is aimed at producing high productivity, it can also contribute to significant people-related results such as high job satisfaction and morale; and (b) while people-oriented behavior fosters people-related results such as high satisfaction and morale,  it can also contribute to significant task-related results such as high performance or productivity. So task-oriented behavior can also be people-oriented, and people-oriented behavior can also be task-oriented.  (To a great extent this amounts to applying the Golden Rule―or even Platinum Rule―in organizations.) Thus, since it is both desirable and possible to behave in a highly task-oriented and a highly people-oriented manner at the same time, then why not do so? Why not always aim at being highly task-oriented for the sake of people as well as for the sake of productivity, and at the same time aim at being highly people-oriented for the sake of productivity as well as for the sake of people?

    Although I’m fully aware that promoting HT,HP and the underlying “one best style” concept amounts to “swimming against the stream” these days (because of situationalism’s popularity), I will continue to do so because of the justification in my forty-page article. If it doesn’t convince people, I don’t know what will.

 

Fully Integrated Management Training and Participative Organization Development Project

   Studies by ASTD have shown that people who receive formal (management) training tend to forget about 85-90% of what they learned within around thirty days. (Others’ estimates are similar.) If accurate, that means that millions upon millions of dollars are wasted on management education and management and leadership training each year!  

   Because some recognized those phenomena years ago, and because I had explored in depth how many task-related, organizational, individual, social, and outside factors all influence managerial and leadership behavior, back in 1976 I designed a training program that can most powerfully be used as the core of a fully integrated MD/OD project. The seven training modules are presented for everyone from the top executive or leader down through supervisory-level personnel (one module at a time). Following each module, and using the concepts, principles, and practices covered in it, bosses meet with their immediate subordinates―starting at the top and working down―to participatively analyze and then plan what they should start doing, quit doing, or do better to improve the influences of socio-technical factors affecting their motivation, attitudes, knowledge, skills, interpersonal interactions, and performance.

 Importance

    The integrated MD/OD project has brought about significant changes in important socio-technical factors that have been (a) causing organizational problems involving motivation, attitudes, interactions, and performance, (b) impeding the development of a team, participative, or HT,HP atmosphere and working relationships, and (c) undermining the reinforcement of learning and skills development. In addition to vastly improving boss-subordinate relationships, organization-wide performance of integrative functions, and inter-departmental interactions and cooperation, these are a few more things that it accomplishes and help make it work so successfully:

   A. Compared to other programs, it covers more of what people really need to know in order to make what they’ve learned actually work.

   B. It gets everyone involved. Since superiors know what their subordinates have learned, they can help reinforce learning by setting a good example and by expecting subordinates to apply and practice what they learned. And since subordinates know what their superiors have learned, it mo­ti­vates superiors to apply and practice what they learned so as not to look disinter­ested, unin­volved, lazy, or foolish to their subordinates.

  

The Unified Practice of Management™ (UPoM) Model

    More than one academician has called this model a “field theory of management.” As mentioned above, a Harvard B-School professor has said that “no one has ever written (developed) anything even close to it.” The reason: It interrelates―and then integrates within one (two-page) model―more than one hundred major management and leadership concepts, processes, models, methods, and practices. It takes into account all the following: (a) managerial and leadership functions and process; (c) related analytic approach, learning, communicating, and other mental processes; (c) how managerial and leadership behavior (styles) relate to those processes; (d) individual motivation and  behavior  concepts  and principles; (e) interpersonal relations concepts and principles; (f) systems thinking (learning organization) practices; how knowledge management can be effectively integrated into a strategic planning process; and much more. It contains only those concepts, models, processes, and practices that are compatible with each other. It shows how they all fit together, how they are all directly or indirectly related to each other, how they complement or supplement each other, how they can be used in logical sequences, and how they can used together more synergistically and powerfully than ever before to help maximize organization development and performance.

 Importance to Business Schools

    Business schools primarily teach marketing, production, finance, IT, control systems, etc. Thus, they use capstone courses―generally involving business games (simulations)―to get students using what they learned about those functional areas in a less disjointed and more integrated or systemic manner. However, very few (if any) capstone the general management processes knowledge and “soft skills” such as interpersonal, leadership, and facilitation skills (as well as advanced analytic, planning, and decision-making skills). (Such skills do develop to some extent, but more or less as a result of “incidental or concomitant learning.”) The Unified Practice model, which summarizes (capstones) my entire management/leadership training program (that was designed to help develop thinking, interpersonal, and leadership knowledge and skills), provides both a vehicle and a framework for doing just that.

   Since the business world is clamoring for business schools to develop students’ “soft skills,” you might think that the B-schools would almost universally want to incorporate the education, training, and skill development involved in those areas into a general management skills training program (e.g., a one- or two-semester elective course). For example, if business schools are going to teach team or participative management, it would probably be a very good idea for them to create one or more courses to develop the process knowledge and interpersonal skills necessary for managers to effectively facilitate their future subordinates’ participation in analyzing, planning, problem-solving, and decision-making sessions. A few B-schools have begun to offer courses in leadership, but, at least to my knowledge, only a very few offer courses designed to actually develop the soft skills.

   I further believe that business schools should be presenting students and executive education participants with a unified practice of management model (and the applied system) that ties all those areas together―so that they leave with an overall framework for (a) organizing what they have learned, (b) applying it in a more integrated, synergistic, and powerful manner, and (c) fitting anything new they might subsequently learn into a more meaningful and useful framework.

            

Comprehensive and Detailed Checklists (Indices) of Factors or Variables

    Back in 1968, so that I could perform analyses without having to revisit many cases and case notes, I developed a five-page checklist of the major factors covered in all my business school’s hundreds of  marketing cases and technical notes. Over more than 30 years, that list evolved into the CD-ROM’s 186-page index or outline consisting of approximately 3,500 factors in as many as eight categories, sub-categories, etc. [It contains not only factors/variables, but also possible answers (more factors) to the question, “What is our/the situation with respect to this category of factors or this more finite variable?”]  It is a “portable analytic tool” that is more or less equal to (and in many areas surpasses) all those B-school cases. I also developed checklists or indices of factors involved in production/operations, finance, and organizational behavior.

 General Importance

    Marketplaces and organizations are phenomenally complex. Literally thousands (probably millions) of factors or variables are operating in them, the net effect of their countless interactions being whatever has happened or is happening. Not surprisingly, then, I am fervently against applying the KISS Principle (Keep It Simple, Stupid) when performing organizational analysis, planning, decision-making, and problem-solving processes.  (In  my  opinion,  KISS has hindered  professional  management  for  about  forty years.)  I can even refer to studies containing convincing evidence that applying the concept of Occam’s Razor (“the simplest solution is usually the best”) more often than not leads to inadequate and faulty analyses, flawed plans or solutions, and poor decisions.  [After all, William of Occam (1287-1347) was a theologian who knew nothing of multi-variate systems and their analyses.]

   Unfortunately, human beings’ (even experts’) knowledge of factors or variables in any area is limited. No one can know all the possible variables that might be considered and found to be causal or influential in a given situation. This, I believe is one of the two major mental constraints on our ability to analyze, plan, and make decisions as effectively as we might. One of my answers: use extensive checklists of factors to help people think about many potentially causal or influential factors that they would not otherwise think about―so that they “line up all the right ducks” first before pushing numbers associated with the wrong or less important variables.

 Potential Importance to B-Schools

    Business schools primarily teach marketing, production, finance, IT, control systems, etc. Unfortunately, MBA grads will soon forget the hundreds of marketing (and other) cases they studied. (Fortunately, however, they will probably retain skills associated with the use of the methods and tools they covered.) All those cases dealt with many issues and problems―all of which involved (“revolved around”) and could be reduced to specific factors or variables (or categories thereof). The types of checklists I developed over so many years are the kinds of practical tools that MBAs should be able to take with them when they leave their school.

    Using specialized checklists of factors for various functional areas (marketing, organizational behavior, etc.) is a matter of transforming management knowledge services (education, training, consulting) into management knowledge products. That transformation is occuring at an accelerating rate.

 Importance of the Marketing Checklists in Particular to Many Companies

    A number of small- to medium-size companies have been interested in the facilitation of their strategic planning processes. Partly in order to develop their sales personnel into marketers, they have been willing to have me use the marketing and external factors checklists to facilitate comprehensive and in-depth analyses (meta- and micro-analyses) of their industry, marketplace, business environment, and marketing programs and practices. The results have always surpassed their expectations.

   In many other companies, however, the marketing and sales people have resisted such a project. The reasons they cited were not necessarily the reasons that some acknowledged later: First, some were afraid that the analysis and planning process would uncover something that they themselves should have thought of or recognized. Second, some were afraid that, by doing a thorough analysis and identifying all the things that they should be (should have been) doing, they would make themselves unnecessary. (Actually, the opposite has always been the case. By identifying so many possible strategies, tactics, and big and small projects that could be implemented, they would actually have been providing themselves with perpetual job security.) Third, even though many managers are being paid the big bucks to think, many just do not have the will and/or time to think that much. (As Henry Ford once said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is; which is the probable reason so few engage in it.”)  And fourth, many did not want to be away from their job for, say, twenty days over several months, even though they would be using that time to perform the analytic, planning, and decision-making aspects of their jobs more effectively and beneficially than ever before).

  

Zero-Base (Meta-)Systems Analysis (methodology, tools, materials, and facilities)

      [Please first read the article entitled Qualitative and Diagrammatic Knowledge Bases. Then read 0-Base (Meta-)Systems  Analysis, which is fully titled, Performing ‘Zero-Base Systems Analyses’ (ZBSAs) to Maximize Strategic Planning Effectiveness and Develop a "Learning Organization on Steroids.”] 

    Operations researchers, city planners, and others already do analyses of large systems of variables for their own purposes. However, people in marketing, human resources, and other less quantitatively-oriented areas are far less inclined to do so. Our zero-base meta-system analysis approach is for them. This approach is described in more detail in the articles cited above.

 General Importance

    For the reason just mentioned, I developed my own consulting and facilitation methodology. It involves using the detailed factor checklists mentioned above to analyze situations, and, in the process, develop Qualitative Information Bases (QIBs) consisting of essentially unstructured tacit information just “harvested” from people’s heads. (Again, checklists help compensate for people’s limited knowledge of all the possible factors they might consider.)  It also involves using a large (e.g., 256 square foot) TeamThink Wall™ along with the checklists to develop Diagrammatic Knowledge Bases (DKBs) that visually present both qualitative and quantitative information. (Especially if you’re going to get people thinking about hundreds upon hundreds of factors and associated facts, you must provide a means for them to deal with the second major mental limitation―the mind’s inability to handle more than five to nine factors or bits of information at a time.)      My second remedy: a wall diagram such as the one pictured below, which can display an enormous amount of both qualitative and quantitative information, thereby keeping one’s mind from having to juggle, interrelate, and otherwise deal with it on its own. Indeed, it enables people to handle hundreds of times more petinent information than ever before. And visual tools also help to record and reinforce the learning that is taking place.

  

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Potential Importance to Business Schools

    Business schools and/or their executive education divisions could construct “integrated thinking/learning centers” where giant walls (like the pictured white­board wall) would be used to handle whole meta-systems of factors (e.g., full-blown marketplace analyses rather than the limited number of factors in most marketing cases or problem situations). They might even use 256 square foot rear projection walls to establish teleconference-enabled “virtual campuses” around the country or the world.

 Potential Importance to the Government and Military

    Entities such as the White House military and healthcare assistants, thinktanks, anti-terrorist and intelligence agencies, and others could use specially-designed rear projection walls (perhaps using the projection system I designed) to help visually analyze phenomenal amounts of information in one continual, 256 square foot Diagrammatic Knowledge Base. [In fact, I have already developed prototype DKBs of, for example, (a) world-wide and theater military operations (for joint commands); (b) world-wide and domestic terror threats (for ODNI, etc.); and (c) disaster preparedness and management (for FEMA).]

    Over about one full year, I also developed several spreadsheet databases of healthcare industry data and an absolutely enormous, computerized Diagrammatic Knowledge Base of the entire healthcare industry and its external environment. It shows 81 different types of entities, major relationships among those types, the major organizations or companies within the 81 types, factors or variables relating to those entities and organizations, and considerable data associated with all those factors. The amount of both qualitative and quantitative information presented visually in this diagram is staggering. Nonetheless, it would help people analyze (handle) hundreds of times more information during planning, problem-solving, decision-making, or policy-making processes than ever before. Given the mind-boggling com­plexity of all the healthcare problems facing the country, such a tool could be extremely helpful.

    I should probably mention that some people have expressed concern that the amount of information on these wall diagrams will absolutely overwhelm people. NOT TRUE!  Because, from the very beginning of the analytic and diagramming process, the analysts and planners involved actually participate in deciding what information to show and how to diagram it. Therefore, since they are totally familiar with everything on the wall, they are eventually able to sit back, consider what’s going on and why, and figure out what to do about the many factors or variables involved. They can also consider what might happen (and ripple throughout the meta-system) if (a) they were to implement some planned action, (b) some event were to occur as a result, and/or (c) something outside the organization might possibly occur. In other words, they are also able to consider many possible scenarios (of acts and events) and minimize having to deal with the unanticipated consequences of actions that people euphemistically call “unintended consequences.”

  Just imagine all the complex, knotty problems that tools such as these could help the country―and even the world―solve far better than ever before!    

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Copyright © 2018 by R. D. Cecil and Company             Last edited or revised:  7/21/2018