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Five Ways Good Engineering Leads to Bad Mangement
The Thinking Organization
Being Rational About Irrationality
Taking Chances
A Theater of Symbols

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Thinking Teams Blog

Leadership

Five Ways Good Engineering Leads to Bad Mangement

Engineers can make great managers. They have highly-developed problem solving skills, and they have mastered knowledge needed to lead technology-based organizations. But the road from engineering to management can be surprisingly rocky. Management requires ways of behaving and thinking that can seem contrary to hard-learned engineering values. This can lead to teams of engineers, frustrated by managers who can’t manage, and newly-promoted managers who find themselves in positions of bewildering stress.

The Thinking Organization



This pyramid summarizes the Thinking Teams view of a successful organization, effectively moving toward its goals, powered by collaborating teams of wholehearted individuals. The pyramid builds from foundational elements; its layers show focus areas for organizational improvement and growth. 


          Starting from the base: 

  1. Self-Aware, Productive Individuals– a wonderful alignment happens when an organization enables its members to participate in a way that connects with their full selves, not just the conscious tip of the mind's iceberg (

The 26 Hour-a-Day Manager

This is no shortage of advice on how to be a good manager. Right now I’m looking at a management textbook with over 500 references, and for each of those books and articles, you could probably find hundreds more saying basically the same thing. Why are management themes so frequently recycled? I think it’s because the problem isn’t in theknowing, it’s in thedoing. We know enough to construct an impossibly long to-do list of things a good manager should do. We start down our list of good intentions, and then find our actions dictated by the curve balls life decides to pitch our way.

Corrective Lenses

In a sense, an organization is a big project. Like any project it needs a balance of structure and flexibility; it needs a healthy respect for the unknown, an infrastructure that fits, and courageous openness. However, an organization is more than just a project – it is an enabling environment. Lots of words are written about how to make organizations work, but I want to start by asking “Why do organizations fail?”. We have lots of examples of that – financial meltdowns, shuttle disasters, broken healthcare systems, car recalls.
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