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Monday, 10 February 2014


I am working on a book about management style and behaviour based on my own bosses over four decades. "Career-View Mirror: 40 Bosses In Forty Years" is a work in progress and each day over the next couple of weeks, I am publishing here rough-cut chapters to test the idea.

The plan is to publish the material in a book, either via mainstream or self-publishing routes and then to take the material and share it in talks, presentations and workshops with business students and current managers.

I've done Boss 1 - Ambitious, Boss 2 - Bruiser, Boss 3 -Bullish, and today Boss 4 - Consistent.....


In my experience of forty bosses in forty years, I can pinpoint only one that achieved anywhere near the “holy grail” of management perfection – consistency.  He was the clearest thinker and most deliberate speaker I have ever known.  Many bosses, including me, adapt thoughts, words and actions to various situations but Boss 4 stuck to his guns in how he wanted us to work.  He was very receptive to comment, challenge and debate and he had the extraordinary ability to soak up a massive amount of information and opinion before delivering a prĂ©cis of what he had heard, using it as a foundation to issuing his guidance and instructions to move the business forward.  He was almost robotic in his looks and methods.  He challenged us, involved us, chastised us when necessary and was lavish in his praise when we succeeded.  In the advertising parlance, what you saw and heard was what you saw and heard every time.  

He was remarkable in that respect and I remember these things about him:

Discipline is crucial to achieve the best possible outcome
The big picture is important but also manage the details of the business
Know what’s right and never compromise with lower standards
Compete with yourself and become a better person as a result
Passion is the difference between winning and losing.
Never lie; always face the truth head-on
Abhor wasted time, effort, energy and company money
High morale and exemplary service are scaffolding for business growth
Complacency and apathy are fatal diseases
Enjoy the challenge and especially the rewards from success

Boss 4 was meticulous in personal appearance, management conduct, operational efficiency and in adherence to company strategy.  He was word perfect on the company directives and values of the business.  He tended to recite policy statements as if they were the Ten Commandments.  In that regard, it was often difficult to impossible to argue with him on the finer details of procedures because, to him, they were indeed written in stone and would only change when the executive directors agreed different emphases or a change in strategy.  He was as straightforward as all managers should be.  I remember him making a point at a managers’ meeting that the only time he might bear a grudge was if someone lied to him or became involved in back-biting.  He always encouraged people around him to speak their minds, to air frustrations, to avoid problems festering and to get things off their chest openly, honesty and, especially, quickly.  He often said that if he was wrong on something, we would all know because he would tell us.  He disliked the notion that apologizing was a form of weakness.  He declared the opposite to be true.  To some of his managers, Boss 4 was too uncompromising in his approach, particularly in a business that required some flexibility to deal with unexpected situations.  To others, he was almost the perfect managerial role model, demanding great performances and evangelising about consistency in everything.

My Summary:


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