Saturday, November 24, 2012

Management lessons from the Third Reich

"At headquarters, where everyone lived under the tremendous pressure of responsibility, probably nothing was more welcome than a dictate from above. That meant being freed of a decision and simultaneously being provided with an excuse for failure." page 394, "Inside the Third Reich", Albert Speer

The above quote shows how easy is for one to use any hierarchical structure in order to abdicate form responsibility. That is probably one of the main reasons for striving for flatter organizational structures and self-organizing teams. By visualizing the flow of work on a Kanban board it is much more difficult for a team member to hide behind the organization.

"The communications apparatus at headquarters was remarkable for that period. It was possible to communicate directly with all the important theaters of war. But Hitler overestimated the merits of the telephone, radio, and teletype. For thanks to this apparatus the responsible army commanders were robbed of every chance for independent action, in contrast to earlier wars. Hitler was constantly intervening on their sectors of the front. Because of this communications apparatus individual divisions in all the theaters of war could be directed from Hitler s table in the situation room. " page 395, "Inside the Third Reich", Albert Speer

The above quote shows how one can be lured by present day technology and easily revert to micromanagement. Today with the likes of Skype, video conferences etc. it is much more easier for a manager to micromanage. Mission orders should be used instead!

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