2009-11-22

f-Laws of Management

I was going to copy and add my own, but the truth is you'd all be better served by going to the source of f-Laws and I don't have to plagiarize or quote.
f-Laws are a series of common management flaws that seems to permeate today's companies.
I encourage everyone who works with more than a couple of people to read the big book or even the FREE little book.


Example - Word for word copied from the Little book.

Russell & Herbert f-Law:

The more important the problem a manager asks consultants for help on, the less useful and more costly their solutions are likely to be.

Consultants begin their engagements by gathering very large amounts of data, much more than can be transformed into useful information. No wonder! Their fees are proportional to the amount of time they devote to a problem, not to the amount of good that they do.

The most successful consultants are the ones who are smart enough to see what managers want and give it to them after an extended effort, and do so in long, impressively formatted reports. They provide sanctions for a fee.

The principal finding obtained by all studies conducted by consultants, regardless of the issues involved, is the need for more study. The success of a consultant’s effort is not measured by the amount of good it does for the client, but the amount of good it does for the consultant.


Sally - Response:

It’s astonishing that, in these days of obsession with return in investment, consultants are not held to account more than they are. There are three reasons for this:


  1. Executives are seduced by data – the more they have, even if it’s useless, the more it makes them feel in control.
  2. The CEO or someone else very senior usually hires the expensive consultants. Who is going to challenge the CEO’s decision?
  3. Consultants set themselves up as experts. This provides the executive with another hiding place. “If the expert says so who am I to disagree”?

Consultants - unlike the rest of us - do indeed manage to escape being accountable. The higher their fee, the less accountable they become. The more complex and costly their solutions, the more unlikely it is that they’ll be challenged.

Who’s going to want to point out that some senior executive’s decision to hire consultants has been a huge waste of money? 


The best organizations, by the way, are more likely to use internal consultants, form employee problem-solving teams or hire customers and suppliers to solve problems for them.

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