Friday, November 16, 2007

November 19, 2007


The following is an excerpt from my new book, "MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD - A Handbook for Entering the Work Force" which is a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life. The book offers considerable advice regarding how to manage our personal and professional lives. As a part of this, I found it necessary to discuss some basic management concepts and philosophies.

Last week, we described the Three Prime Duties of a Manager; this week we'll discuss types of organizational structures, The Five Basic Elements of Mass Production, and Understanding Productivity.

Management 101 (Part II


Within any organization, be it commercial or nonprofit, there is always a chain of command that dictates how the organization will be governed. To this end, there are basically three types of organizational structures:

  • Hierarchical - representing a classic tree structure (top-down) defining administrative relationships between people. The hierarchical organization, as depicted by an organization chart, expresses superior, subordinate, and lateral relationships within an organization. It also suggests the scope of activities within an organization.

  • Matrix - represents a pool of people serving different capacities in an organization. For example, on one business function a person may represent the leader, on others he may be a follower. Under the matrix approach, one person may serve more than one leader.

  • Project Team - is similar to the Matrix except as performed on a project-to-project basis. In other words, a person's tasks are prescribed by the project for which he is assigned. He will serve in this capacity until the conclusion of the assignment, after which he will be assigned to another project in perhaps another capacity.

Regardless of how companies organize themselves, either in a multi-tiered hierarchy or in a flat organization, there is always a superior/subordinate relationship between personnel for administrative purposes. The notion that an organization runs as a pure democracy is a myth. There will always be a need for leaders and followers.


There is basically two ways of producing any product, either one at a time or in mass production. Mass production affords us the ability to produce more products at reduced costs. As such, industrial engineers have long known that in situations involving voluminous work products of the same type, an organization needs to observe the five basic elements of mass production:

  1. Division of Labor - to break the production process into separate tasks performed by workers with different skills.

  2. Assembly Line - defining the progression and synchronization of work.

  3. Precision Tooling - for mechanical leverage in the assembly line.

  4. Standardization of Parts - for inter changeability and assembly by unskilled and semiskilled workers.

  5. Mass Demand - the impetus for mass production.

You will find these five elements in every company who offers repetitious work products, be it an automotive manufacturer, a restaurant, a bank or insurance company, an engineering firm, etc. Actually, more organizations operate in accordance with these five elements than those who do not.

These five elements lead to the need of standard and reusable methodologies representing the business processes needed to perform the work. Such methodologies define Who is to perform What work, When, Where, Why, and How (I refer to this as "5W+H").


Productivity = Effectiveness X Efficiency

Too often people fallaciously equate productivity with efficiency. Efficiency simply represents how fast we can perform a given task. For example, an industrial robot on an assembly line can perform a task such as welding very precisely and quickly. But if the weld is being performed at the wrong time or wrong place, then it is counterproductive, regardless of how efficiently it performs the task. Effectiveness, on the other hands, is concerned with the necessity of the task itself or as I like to say, "Do the right things." Under this scenario, the manager should consider effectiveness first, and efficiency second. By being conscious of both effectiveness and efficiency, the manager can avoid the "Rearranging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic" phenomenon whereby people work on the wrong things at the wrong time.

Undoubtedly, you will meet salesmen who will offer products promising improvements in efficiency. But if they cannot be implemented into your operation effectively, it will be counterproductive.

Just remember, 100% efficiency multiplied by 0% effectiveness equals zero productivity.

In terms of delivering a quality work product, the manager should understand the relationship of quality to the time necessary to produce the goods.

The faster the product is produced, the more likely it will contain defects in workmanship; conversely, the more time allowed in production, the greater the chances for producing a high-quality product. Although everyone stresses the need for quality, the reality is the manager must be able to balance development time against defects in workmanship and that a suitable development time needs to be devised to match the level of quality desired. This also means the level of precision in production is proportional to the level of quality desired, all of which will greatly influence a manager's style of management. For example, in a high pressure situation, the manager may exercise more supervision and a little friendly bullying in order to get the job done. Under less pressure, the manager will allow more worker freedom and participation in developing decisions.

NEXT WEEK: We will conclude this three part series with a review of some important Laws and Rules to observe in the workplace.

If you would like to discuss this with me in more depth, please do not hesitate to send me an e-mail.

OUR BRYCE'S LAW OF THE WEEK therefore is... "Productivity = Effectiveness X Efficiency"


Friends, as mentioned, we have just published a new book entitled, "MORPHING INTO THE REAL WORLD - A Handbook for Entering the Work Force" which is a survival guide for young people as they transition into adult life.

The Miami Hurricane recently reviewed it (10/22/2007) and said,

"the abundance of information the book provides is a good start for anyone about to take the first step into the real world. Though the concept of adulthood may seem intimidating, it's comforting to know that someone has at least written a guidebook for it."

Reviewer Bill Petrey praised it by saying, "Every young person entering the workplace for the first time should be given a copy of this book."

The book includes chapters to describe how a young person should organize themselves, how to adapt to the corporate culture, develop their career, and improve themselves professionally and socially. Basically, its 208 pages of good sound advice to jump start the young person into the work force. Corporate Human Resource departments will also find this book useful for setting new hires on the right track in their career. It not only reinforces the many formal rules as contained in corporate policy manuals, but also includes the subtle unwritten rules we must all observe while working with others. The book lists for $25 and can be ordered online through MBA or your local book store. Complementing the book is a one day seminar of the same name which can be purchased separately for $4,000.00 (U.S.) plus instructor travel expenses. For more information on both the book and the seminar, visit our corporate web site at:
ISBN: 978-0-9786182-5-4


Years ago, teenagers used to conduct what was called "Chinese Fire Drills." Basically, they would load up a car with as many kids as possible. When they pulled up at a red traffic light, the driver would put the car in park and yell, "Chinese Fire Drill," whereby everyone got out of the car, then would run around it shouting, before the light turned green and then piled back in. To neighboring motorists, it would be very distracting yet amusing. I don't think they practice "Chinese Fire Drills" anymore but it is a phrase that has come to mean helter-skelter in the workplace.

I'm sure we have all had days where we felt we've been in a "Chinese Fire Drill," where we are inundated with interferences which kept us from getting our work done. I experienced one recently myself and boy did I find it irritating. Instead of concentrating on my work, I was interrupted by an inordinate number of telephone calls and e-mails. But to top it off, my wife called to tell me our water heater was broken and water was spewing out in our garage. I then had to call a plumber who I had to meet at my house to replace the water heater. In other words, I didn't accomplish much that day.

I guess having a "Chinese Fire Drill" is to be expected now and then but I have also seen companies who seem to live in a perpetual state of "Chinese Fire Drills," where constant interruptions are the norm as opposed to the exception. Interestingly, I find the managers of such shops are typically oblivious to the problem and think everything is normal. As creatures of habit, I tend to believe we become conditioned by our work environment. What appears to be chaos to one person, may seem perfectly normal to another. Some people appear to thrive in an environment of "Chinese Fire Drills," others can't take the pressure and eventually bail out. However, I would wager you there is a correlation between the level of chaos to resignations, tardiness, and absenteeism.

It is the manager's job to control the work environment. I'm not suggesting micromanagement but, instead, to implement some simple controls over the distractions which keep workers from performing their jobs, such as minimizing personal telephone calls, breaks, or inconsequential meetings and discussions. There is a human inclination to be distracted even by simple things, such as an occasional e-mail or text message. These little distractions add up quickly during the work day and unless someone takes action to curb them, they can become rather costly to a company and leads to project delays. When a manager does exercise his/her authority and implements such controls they are sometimes regarded as an ogre. Well, not really; they're doing what they are paid to do which is to get people to work on the right assignments, and one way of doing this is simply by controlling the work environment.

I loathe "Chinese Fire Drills" but recognize they are inevitable now and then. However, I can't imagine working in a chaotic environment on a regular basis and probably most employees cannot either. It is up to the manager to put his/her foot down and bring order out of the chaos. If the truth were known, I think most workers are looking for managers to lead them towards stability, not "Chinese Fire Drills."

Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.


Folks, a couple of years ago I started to include my "Pet Peeve of the Week" in these "Management Visions" podcasts. They have become so popular that I now syndicate them through the Internet and they are available for republication in other media. To this end, I have created a separate web page for my writings which you can find at Look for the section, "The Bryce is Right!" Hope you enjoy them.


I received the following comment regarding my "Pet Peeve" on "Rearanging the Deck Chairs on the Titanic":

A C.R. in Dunedin, Florida wrote...

"I just wanted to say that I knew exactly what you were talking about with the deck chairs so I went to read your pet peeve (being as that it's one of my own peeves as well...) Thoroughly enjoyed it and just thought I'd let you know."

Thanks for your comments.

Keep those cards and letters coming.

MBA is an international management consulting firm specializing in Information Resource Management. We offer training, consulting, and writing services in the areas of Enterprise Engineering, Systems Engineering, Data Base Engineering, Project Management, Methodologies and Repositories. For information, call us at 727/786-4567.

Our corporate web page is at:

Management Visions is a presentation of M. Bryce & Associates, a division of M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. The program is produced on a weekly basis and updated on Sundays. It is available in versions for RealPlayer, Microsoft Media Player, and MP3 suitable for Podcasting. See our web site for details. You'll find our broadcast listed in several Podcast and Internet Search engines, as well as Apples' iTunes.

If you have any questions or would like to be placed on our e-mailing list to receive notification of future broadcasts, please e-mail it to

For a copy of past broadcasts, please contact me directly.

We accept MP3 files with your voice for possible inclusion in the broadcast.

There is no charge for adding a link to "Management Visions" on your web page, for details and HTML code, see the "Management Visions" web site.

Management Visions accepts advertising. For rates, please contact yours truly directly.

Copyright © 2007 by M&JB Investment Company of Palm Harbor, Florida, USA. All rights reserved. "PRIDE" is the registered trademark of M&JB Investment Company.

This is Tim Bryce reporting.

Since 1971: "Software for the finest computer - the Mind."




Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home