The upside of sowing intrigues and confusion – The Manila Times

Posted: September 29, 2019 at 5:41 pm

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IN the book Improvisation, Inc. (2000), author Robert Lowe talks about how to deal with confusion and how to accept it as part and parcel of our life. He says the best way is to accept it, then to relax into it, and allow it to be part of the natural process of organization and reorganization.

If youre following the current events in this country, youll readily understand what Im talking about the countrys national confusion. This includes how a spokesman interprets many controversial presidential statements and other related things.

But lets forget politics and limit ourselves to business management. To manage confusion in our respective organization, Lowe suggests several practical exercises we could try: Make a list of things you could do to place yourself into confusion, without placing yourself in danger. For example, walking around with your eyes closed in a safe place, perhaps with a guide. Attend a meeting of an opposing political party. Attend a function with an age group that is twenty-five years older or younger than you are.

The list can be endless depending on your own creativity. As an armchair reader and writer, I focused on identifying many SM (stupid management) practices, explained them on social media via a one-page visual story under the Elbonomics brand, as I enjoyed exchanging various comments with people. Take the following intriguing statements that gained many likes from people and resistance from less than one percent of rebels without a cause:

One, we dont need motivational speakers. Thats because motivating people is job number one for line supervisors and managers. You cant delegate it to external motivational speakers, no matter how good they are in public speaking and entertaining people. The much-revered motivational speaker Zig Ziglar (1926-2012) admitted that motivating people is like taking a bath.

We need it daily from our respective bosses. Thats why people managers must do a daily face-to-face interaction with their workers which cannot be done by motivational speakers through several hours of one-time engagement.

Two, exit interviews are an exercise in futility. Its a reactive communication process. Its too late for management to seek the reason why their workers are resigning. They should have done that a long time ago through a series of proactive stay interviews that include an important question like: How can I help you succeed in your career in this organization?

But more than that, who would want to burn the bridge with their past employers? Who among resigned employees would badmouth their bosses as they wait for the release of their terminal pay, clearance, completion of background checks and in the hope of coming back should their new employer fail to satisfy their expectations?

Three, talkative managers are unqualified to govern. If the boss talks too much, its not helpful towards a successful work relationship with people. Hijalmar Gislason in his Forbes article Dont Be the Boss Who Talks Too Much recommends that managers must make it two-way and engage the workers by asking their opinion in an ad hoc set-up, and not in a formal meeting that tends to clamp people.

As you hold meetings, keep tabs on how much time you spend talking, and how much listening. And when you get a question, sometimes invite other team members to weigh in as part of the answer. That way, everyone is included and feels that their input is valued. Undoubtedly, managers to become effective, must do active listening by asking a lot of questions instead.

Four, the perfect attendance award is a sham. Why reward and recognize people who are expected to report for work daily and on-time? Sure, its a positive reinforcement approach. But thats not the point. Would it be better if management spends its valuable time in monitoring, recording, and rewarding actual, tangible results by the workers instead of their physical presence in the workplace?

Not only that, it is too tedious and time-consuming for management to do things that are unnecessary. To find out if your award is working or not, discover how many employees in the perfect attendance list have consistently logged in an above-average work performance. You may be in a big surprise.

Five, problem workers are created by problem managers. Its a derivative of the many ideas of influential management thinker Peter Drucker (1909-2005) who claimed: So much of what we know about management consists of making it difficult for people to work. Why blame management? Thats because they have the authority to do almost everything from planning, organizing, leading to controlling.

American management genius W. Edwards Deming (1990-1993) was right: A bad system can beat a good person all the time. That is, if that person continues to be blind and oblivious to all the bad systems and procedures around him.

And so, what kind of person could come up with a valid argument to demolish the above statements? I cant think of no one, except those who refuse to admit their mistakes. Then lets leave it at that. After all, how can we persuade people who dont want to be persuaded?

Lowe says confusion is a relative of fearthat it can also lead to hostility or aggressiveness, to calcification of our ideas. Thats the way it goes if only wed like to understand the world. Thats the benefit of sowing intrigues and confusion that hopes to strengthen the foundation of our perspectives.

Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to or via

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The upside of sowing intrigues and confusion - The Manila Times

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September 29th, 2019 at 5:41 pm

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