The Feedback

It’s never easy for an executive to keep his or her ear to the ground. So what’s the best technique for doing it and listening to the troops? That’s what we asked last week. Reader Cengiz Pak had this to say:

Going to Gemba and building a communication is a key point to manage the situation. The best method I know is ‘not thinking the answer while listening.’

When we learned of the loss of high-tech manufacturing jobs in the United States, we wondered whether anything can be done to retain them—and, if so, what? Reader Sergio was a little skeptical of the premise of our question. [EXPAND More]

Applying management practices and principles that worked during the industrial revolution to our current knowledge work era is precisely what Peter Drucker tried to warn us against.

And we couldn’t resist flagging a piece by Dan Mulhern in the Huffington Post that cited Drucker’s questions about the purpose of management in the context of Mitt Romney’s time at Bain. “To whom is management accountable?” Mulhern quoted Drucker as writing. “And for what? On what does management base its power? What gives it legitimacy?”

Reader Jack Bergstrand responded:

This is certainly an interesting debate. The opportunity from my standpoint—as difficult as this is—is to try to move beyond capitalism versus socialism and try to achieve capitalism with social responsibility. Ultimately, this is a choice we need to take personal responsibility for—being neither wealth re-distributors nor pigs at the trough. Drucker was very insightful on how to think about this. [/EXPAND]