Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sher Value: Management Ethos

These days it doesn’t take much for someone to spot a well run company from a terribly run company; all you need is good eyesight. As I move into helping my wife create a new angle to management training by using horses to learn management skills, because horses never lie, I am noticing more things. My vision was always good to spot management practices, but then sometimes we miss out the small detail, and it is there that difference lies.

My case in point of good management manners comes from Dubai Holding, and its many subsidiaries, and I have had the pleasure to visit, on a number of occasions its Chairman and many of its rank and file management and staff. Did you notice they ALWAYS walk you to the elevator and will say their good byes there, even if it’s the Chairman or a manager of small unit of this giant company. Now that is a fascinating management habit, it warm, it’s engaging and most of all a great habit to have. I am told that then they have internal meetings, after the meeting is over everybody, and I mean everybody, will collect their own litter like coffee cups etc and put it away and tidy up the meeting room. No one leaves the room till this is not done. I think this is such a refreshing approach to management, team building and camaraderie that it is almost bespoke and is the hallmark of a company destined to achieve a great deal more.

I have also seen many other companies who could learn from these examples. There are numerous examples of bad management practices too. You walk into some offices and you feel that air of management neglect. The place reeks of it, people’s hollow smiles, and the silent fear are all visible. One has no option but to stand back and evaluate how a company that cannot take care of its people progress. I often have argued that before we are about being in a business we have to first accept we are in the people business.

Many companies have got this wrong, they will under pay, mistreat and allow the worst sort of politics and practices to come into the office environment and then they wonder why people do not work for the company with zeal and enthusiasm.

I am indeed impressed that a huge company like Dubai Holding has developed a management ethos that is so powerful and visible from the outside. It is all the more important because being what Dubai is all about it highlights the management ethos that almost becomes a trademark of its own. Indeed some of the best management practices are rooted in a sense of humility and sincerity. One has to hope now that others will notice and emulate this example of good management. The dividend of this is unseen and unmeasured but trust me its perhaps the strongest item on the balance sheet of the company: Management Ethos.

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