Management


An Indian walks into a cafe with a shotgun in one hand pulling a male buffalo with the other. He says to the waiter, "Me want coffee."

The waiter says, "Sure chief, coming right up." He gets the Indian a tall mug of coffee.

The Indian drinks the coffee down in one gulp, turns and blasts the buffalo with the shotgun, causing parts of animal to splatter everywhere, then just walks out.

The next morning the Indian returns. He has his shotgun in one hand, pulling another male buffalo with the other. He walks up to the counter and says to the waiter, "Me want coffee."

The waiter says, "Whoa, Tonto! We're still cleaning up your mess from yesterday. What was all that about, anyway?"

(hang on, this is really good......)

The Indian smiles and proudly says, "Me training for upper management position: Come in, drink coffee, shoot bull, leave mess for others to clean up, disappear for rest of day."

(Source unknown, email, 1/21/05)


"Richard Layard is an economist and Labour peer who made his considerable name in employment economics. Now he has written a remarkable book [Happiness: Lessons From a New Science] about happiness that effectively trashes the claim of economics to guide policy for a good society.

"Happiness, not gross domestic product, still less competitiveness, should be the overriding principle of economic policy, Layard maintains, backing up his proposition with some fascinating statistics...

"...another key psychological element that is left out of economists' accounts: the self-fulfilling nature of many assumptions about human behavior...

"Hence the phenomenon of the "supervisor's dilemma", a vicious circle in which tight supervision generates behavior that seems to justify still tighter control. This reflects much of today's management, at least in the US and Britain, where people's levels of trust in one another have halved within the past 40 years--although not in Europe, where levels have stayed much the same.

"What does this mean? The implication is that companies and managers driven by the economic model of human nature are not only engines of individual unhappiness (as is largely borne out by people's worsening experience of work); but through these self-fulfilling assumptions they are reshaping people in their own impoverished image in a way that makes happiness impossible to achieve in the future. This is a frightening prospect, and clearly illustrates why the attitude-shaping role of management is so pivotal...

"... much of today's practice is counterproductive...

"Thus for Layard a happy society is based on old-fashioned virtues such as trust, fairness, and (yes) equality. Although political leaders and managers are wedded to "change" and to "flexibility", "there are huge advantages to inflexibility and predictability, as continental Europeans appreciate"...

"A fulfilling job allowing pride in the work, challenge and autonomy, is its own reward, and the best motivator. Since people care more about losses than gains, repeated reorganizations may produce more harm than good" (Simon Caulkin. "Money can't buy happiness." Guardian Weekly, April 29, 2005: 26).


Colby Glass, MLIS