jump to navigation

Oxymorons And Half-Truths In Management May 20, 2010

Posted by Kevin Burns in attitude, attitude speaker, boss, change, coaching, culture, customer, kevin burns, keynote speaker, management, manager, people-skills, sales, service, speaker, time management.
manager with megaphone yelling at employee hidingSeemingly, managers are supposed to manage to manage all the supposedly manageable things that they manage to manage each day – if they can manage it?

Some of the titles of “areas of management” really make me laugh – some because they are simply oxymorons and others because, well, because they just can’t be managed, no matter how fancy the title.

  • Quality Management – if you are able to offer quality, then why would you offer anything less? Quality is not something you manage. Quality is an on/off switch. Either you offer quality or you offer crap.
  • Change Management – you can manage change about as successfully as you can manage the weather. Change happens whether you are trying to control it or not. Change is embraced. It is not managed.
  • Acceptance Management – the king of oxymorons. You will only attempt to manage that which you do not fully accept. And if you do not accept it, how can you manage it?
  • Thought Management – I really had to think about this one but realized, in mid-thought, that I wasn’t managing the thought. The thought was managing me. Good luck with that one.
  • Behavioral Management – isn’t that what the straight-jacket is for? If someone’s behavior needs managing, why are they still working for you?
  • Crisis Management – If it’s managed, it’s not a crisis. If it’s a crisis, the steps leading up to it were not managed.
  • Disaster Management – you can figure this one out on your own. Think janitorial.
  • Stress Management – just like Crisis Management, if it’s managed, there’s no stress. Therefore, if there’s no stress, there’s nothing to manage.
  • Relationship Management – no one person is in charge of a relationship – business OR personal. It takes two to have a successful relationship. Go ahead and tell your spouse you’re taking charge of managing the relationship. I dare you.
  • Time Management – my personal favorite. It’s not the time you manage. It’s what YOU do with the time. It’s called self-discipline. Time flies whether you’re managing or not. Sorry TM trainers.

Bottom-line: it’s people you manage, not things. If your people-skills suck, you will suck as a manager. People are a precious commodity to be coached and inspired. Nothing happens in any organization without people. Nothing is purchased without people. There are no sales without people. There are no customers to service without people. And without people, you don’t have a job – because you don’t need managers if there are no people.

Get good at the basics of people-skills and building quality relationships. Leave the fancy titles for those who need to look important. There is much more reward in helping people become better people.



1. Karla - May 20, 2010

I wonder if BP had “Disaster Management/Stress Management” business area(s) before the Gulf fiasco? Think their “Thought Management/Acceptance Management” areas were fired because they accepted the risk without thinking about an effective disaster recovery plan? Maybe they will be looking to hire a “Relationship Manager” to do damage control with their industry reputation if/when this gets under control.

2. Kevin Burns - May 20, 2010


Thanks for the chuckle. And you’re absolutely right, everything still boils down to PEOPLE doing their jobs. And managers manage people – they respond to events.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: