December 18; Education Makes For A Contented and Competent Business MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:365 Daily Bible Verse &One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching,
rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped
for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
Education Makes For A Contented and Competent Business
“If the Governor could do just one thing for you,” I asked, “what would be at the top of your list for our people?”
It was my first introductory meeting with the human resource directors representing the dozen agencies and employees in the secretariat. I couldn’t promise a review of the top 10 list of needs, but could start with one thing. And maybe concentrate on one task.
I was expecting the usual litany of ‘more vacation days’ (less work; same compensation) ‘pay raises’ (more money; same work) ‘more benefits’ (more compensation; same work); etc. and etc..
Your Business Professor was wrong. (This happens a lot.) It wasn’t more money or less work. The women—and all the HR directors happened to be women—responded as if with one voice, “training.”
I was expecting a list of union-like demands. But no, the management and staff wanted more education to get better at their jobs. To be more competent.
Pursuit of knowledge and continuous improvement makes for a more efficient business. Sharpened skills enable the team to do the job right when things go right. But more important is when things go wrong.
At the old Naval Fighter Weapons School, known also as Top Gun, Naval Air Station Miramar, San Diego, there is a sign that reads,
Under pressure, you do not rise to the occasion;
rather you sink to your level of training.
The staff knows well that advanced training will indeed help the company and help everyone do well and look good. But the learning will also save them from embarrassment when things do not go well. No one wants to be the dunce who screwed up. Everyone wants to be a hero in an emergency.
Management is normally defined with four parts: plan, organize, lead and control. But Peter Drucker had a fifth: to develop people. (Drucker 1954)
Managers, too, must be trained as much as coached. The retailer Sears understood this in the early 1900’s as their mail order catalog customers moved from the farms to in-person purchases in the cities,
Retail selling also meant getting store managers. Mail-order selling did not prepare a man for the management of a retail store.
The greatest bottleneck for the first ten or fifteen years of Sears’s retail operation—almost until World War II—was the shortage of managers.
The most systematic innovations had to be in the field of manager development; and the Sears policies of the thirties became the starting point for all the work in manager development now going on in the industry. (Drucker 1973)
The choke point is trained managers and staff. Further, bible teacher Randy Yeager writes,
There is no problem that can confront the pastor / teacher or evangelist that does not have its solution in the Word of God. Those who are frustrated by problems which they cannot solve are frustrated, not because the answer to their problems is not in the Word of God, but because they have not studied it enough. (Yeager 1998)
Dr. Yeager could have easily been writing about management training.
I was stunned at the HR managers’ reply. We talked more about what that would look like and I mumbled something about “seeing what I could do…”
Which meant that I didn’t have a clue.
But I learned that we in the state government had some convoluted agreements with the local community college system and public universities. My staff figured out a way to get it all paid for without legislation. (I still don’t know how they did it. I am sure it was legal.) I also learned that a bureaucracy could accomplish anything that it wants to get done.
Even getting new skills. Even I learned something.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
(Drucker 1973) p 54
Randolph Yeager, The Renaissance New Testament, Vol. 15, page 561