By Pascal Dennis
Been thinking a great deal about this.
Fred Taylor was the genius who, essentially, invented Industrial Engineering.
Taylor's innovations around time & motion studies, standardized work and scientific management helped to revolutionize manufacturing.
But by all accounts, he was a lousy manager.
(If you're interested, Kanigel's The Enigma of Efficiency is a fine biography)
So, he set out to revolutionize management too. His rationale appeared to be:
"If I'm a lousy manager, it must be because current management practice is all wrong!"
In Joe Juran's mind, Taylor's approach essentially separated planning from production -- a Faustian bargain if there ever was one!
Productivity soared, but at a terrible cost: the alienation of front line team members.
There was another unseen & equally terrible cost: the illusion of top-down control.
"We can manage from a distance, by the numbers."
The thing is, you can't. You have to go see; you have to get your hands dirty.
You have to understand your business in a visceral way.
Thereby, leaders have a chance at "grasping the situation" and developing strategies that make sense.
And more important, leaders thus have a chance at deploying the strategies so that everybody is involved.
A wise man once said, "Any damn fool can make a plan. It's the execution that screws you up!"
People are smarter, better trained & more capable than they've ever been.
Only a damn fool would fail to engage them.