Managing on Purpose is a concise yet comprehensive overview of what it means to be a manager. It is written for everyone who is charged with achieving results in an organization, especially results achieved through the efforts of other people. It contains both subject matter and questions designed to educate and train managers in the basic parameters or dimensions of their jobs.
Individuals will profit from the book if they are:
- Supervisors or managers who want to learn each of the dimensions of their jobs, from communicating with their people to understanding the laws and regulations that affect their organizations.
- Supervisors or managers who need a way to prioritize competing demands on their time and energy.
- Stakeholders who want to ensure that all managers and supervisors in their organizations are exposed to the same knowledge base, and who possess the skills and abilities needed to achieve organization goals.
This book will help readers create their own management agendas, and carry them out in satisfying, purposeful ways.
Excerpt from Managing on Purpose:
14 managing and technology
“Technology” refers to any extra-human phenomenon or device that enables us to perform work more accurately, quickly, conveniently or efficiently than we could on our own. By this definition, a tractor is more technologically advanced than a horse and plow. A shovel is a technological advance over a person’s hands. A pen is more advanced than a stick or a fingernail; a word processor more advanced than a manual typewriter. You get the idea.
In this light, it’s both foolish and meaningless to ask ourselves if we’re “for” or “against” technology. We’re for it. In discussing technology in this chapter as it applies to us as managers, we’re talking about matters of degree—about those dimensions of technology that both help us and have the potential to do us harm, and how much or how little we’ll decide to let them.
If you’ve been out from under a rock at all for the past couple of decades, you understand what we’ll call the technology explosion. The next time you find yourself in front of the TV with a notepad, write down the number of ads touting the arrival of the next and greatest smart phone (I hope smart phones aren’t obsolete by the time this Second Edition comes out). In that area, and others, the appeals are seemingly endless for us to buy the newest and fastest. If you are daunted by this development, you’re not alone. It seems impossible for us to learn everything and keep up.
Living with the Inevitable
But, we have to (keep up that is). If you are in a position of authority (e.g. a manager or a supervisor), you have to be what we used to call, in the Dark Ages, “computer literate.” Today, an example of the way you need to manifest that literacy may be through the ownership and operation of a smart phone (and/or whatever device replaces smart phones tomorrow). Your having a smart phone and/or its future cousin(s) is simply an expectation that your manager has; he or she needs to know that you are available to receive and transmit information through whatever marvel of technology is available as you read this. I still rely on the tin cans and the string, but I realize I need to make some changes.
I take this kind of time to lay out some technological facts of life because they comprise a train all of us absolutely have to get on. If you haven’t gotten on yet, or all the way on, you may be something like me. If you are like me, you remember the good old days. You can tell stories about using dial telephones. You can explain what a “party line” was. You can remember when “texting” wasn’t a verb. This is all well and good, and we can tell our children and grandchildren stories about it.
But we can’t let “it”—a potential to minimize and under-use technological developments—follow us into the workplace. We can’t do that if we in fact want to work. This is another of those rock and hard place facts of life I referred to earlier, one that operates with an unyielding, unremitting logic of its own. Technology, in fact, has taken on an ever-evolving life of its own, one that we need to live in, understand and use if we are to manage successfully.
I’m not talking about personal opinion here. I’m talking about what we could call “The Technological Imperative.” Employers have a right to expect that their people employ any of these “extra-human phenomena” at their disposal to carry out their assignments—as quickly and cost-effectively as they can.
Are you with me on this one? You have to be, and I don’t care how old you are or what your current assignment is. I promise you that you have no stronger aversion to and apprehension of technology than I had/have, nor will you have more difficulty overcoming them than I’ve had. To the degree that I have, so can you. We simply no longer have a choice.