It is rather presumptuous to attempt to cover all of the subjects that are involved in managing a company in the five chapters of this collection. Peter Drucker, of the Harvard Business Review and countless other authors and organizations dating back to Sun Tzu (~500 B.C.) have developed and shared thousands of works on this subject. The six chapters in this collection do not even begin to scratch the surface of the knowledge developed by all of those sources and the thousands of highly successful managers from yesterday and today. Instead, the six chapters included in this collection are targeted at the challenges that new or smaller companies face on a daily basis. As discussed in the introductory material to this collection, the overall goal is to provide guidance to entrepreneurs and business managers in addressing problems that they may encounter.
It can easily be argued that every chapter and every article in this entire collection could be listed under the “Managing a Company” title of this volume. Certainly the Seven Principles described in this collection are applicable to every private and public company as well as every non-profit organization. They must be embraced by management before they can be expected to be adopted by all employees. The Volumes on Starting a Company, The Top Line, and Support and Development clearly fall under the Managing a Company umbrella as well. The placement of each subject in a particular volume is only a convenient method to help the reader find the material of most interest at a particular point in time.
The six chapters in this Volume and a brief overview of each are listed below.
Chapter 4.01: Growing Pains
When businesses are first started, growing pains are the most obvious as new employees join the organization and prospects become initial customers. Growing pains and, unfortunately, shrinking pains occur in every organization as the organizations go through expansion and contraction. Accepting growing pains as part of the normal business cycle is critical to the future success of the business.
Chapter 4.02: Responding versus Reacting
The instant access to information and disinformation has resulted in the tendency to react to events as opposed to responding to them. It is easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the urgent issues as opposed to the important issues. Furthermore, as we have all experienced, the initial inputs that we receive in many instances are not accurate, resulting in incorrect assumptions and the initiation of inappropriate responses. Formally building a culture and process to respond and not react is critical and needs to be followed at all levels of an organization.
Chapter 4.03: Human Capital Management
Virtually every company uses the line: “Our employees are our most important asset”. Without a doubt, that statement is true. Principle Three of this collection discusses the fact that employees are the most critical investors in the business. They are investing their time: a non-replaceable asset. If, indeed, they are an asset, shouldn’t we refer to the subject as “human capital” instead “human relations” or “human resources”? By investing in employees, we can make them an ever appreciating asset for their benefit and as well as the company’s. If, on the other hand, we do not make investments in them, they can quickly become a depreciating asset. Unlike a piece of machinery, human assets, when given the proper attention, can increase their worth to themselves and to the company on their own providing remarkably positive results. The key method to unleash this potential is very simple: Take time for people!
Chapter 4.04: Employee Recognition
The last four-word sentence in the description of Chapter 4.03 says it all. Recognition is all about treating each individual as the individual that they are. Each has value and expectations. Managers at all levels must take time to recognize individuals and their accomplishments and select the most appropriate methods to acknowledge their presence and accomplishments.
Chapter 4.05: You
One of the largest mistakes an entrepreneur or business leader can make is to focus on everyone and everything else, while forgetting about themselves or placing themselves very low on every priority list. A perverse but all too accurate saying that “death is nature’s way of telling one to slow down” is easily dismissed by entrepreneurs and CEOs. Another saying, used in other articles in this collection recommends that you “take time for people”. This should include taking time for yourself as well.
Chapter 4.06: Management
There are probably as many management techniques as there are authors on the subject with each manager embracing or ignoring some of the tried and true techniques used by others. This chapter lists a fraction of those techniques that can be used to help the entire organization. In most cases, the recommendations are obvious but, unfortunately, often forgotten.