December 12; Does The Manager Ever Run Out Of Work?
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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December 12

So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and
to distinguish between right and wrong.
For who is able to govern this great people of yours?

1 Kings 3:9

Does The Manager Ever Run Out Of Work?

Conundrum

Charmaine worked in the Reagan White House in human resource management. The president took seriously the maxim that personnel is personnel. His guideline was to hire the right people who shared his philosophy of governance and execution.

The managers Reagan had hired were experienced in making the tough calls.

And the more senior the manager the harder the calls got going up the organization pyramid.

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“Command focus!” the advisor kept repeating to the CEO. And like all good counselors he had the ‘what’ but not the ‘how.’ Execution is what is left to do when the consultant departs.

The advice to focus is still good. Top managers are distracted by problems and opportunities. D. Michael Lindsay, Ph.D., writes about the CEO experience,

“Every day, there were 15 things I could do that would’ve been rewarding…and I could only do 7 of them.”


This challenge of managing so many different responsibilities was consistent across the leaders I interviewed. One former governor describes his work as a “ blizzard of daily information, challenges, information, questions, decisions.”


“We all have infinite jobs,” one telecom executive said, “I could work 24 hours every day and never be done,” With so much on their plates, leaders need to have systems in place to make the most of their limited time. (Lindsay, 2104)

“I’m down to working half-days,” said the harried manager, “7 to 7.” The old joke underscores that managing doesn’t really end. There is always something that can be done to advance organizational goals.

Management is like housework with children at home: it never ends. Indeed, for managers of all genders there is no such thing as a clean house and an empty in-box.

The work is without end. So what does the manager decide to act on?  The hardest, the impossible decisions. Dr. Lindsay, who studies power, writes,

Andy Card, one of the longest-serving White House chiefs of staff in U.S. history, summarized his position…saying, “ Most of the job is putting out fires.”


Card defined his primary role as making sure the president was never “hungry angry, lonely, or tired.” As gatekeeper for the world’s most powerful man, Card fiercely protected the president’s time.


“I don’t believe,” Card said, “the president should ever make an easy decision. If the president is making an easy decision, the chief of staff probably hasn’t done his or her job.


“Presidents make only tough decisions.” (Lindsay 2014)

As the chief of staff, Card made sure that only the biggest challenges reached the president’s desk. Card gave President Bush only the hard decisions. Routine and lower risk decisions were pushed down or allowed to be made further down the hierarchy.

So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours? 1 Kings 3:9

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D. Michael Lindsay, Ph.D., View From The Top: An Inside Look At How People In Power See And Shape The World. Wiley. Page 58.

D. Michael Lindsay, Ph.D., View From The Top: An Inside Look At How People In Power See And Shape The World. Wiley. Page 90.

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