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An effective corporate culture is necessary for management to thrive


All the management development in the world won't be of much benefit unless the corporate culture is built around management and good leadership. Too many firms pay good money for people to attend MD programs but when they return, the management ethos, the glue that holds the fabric together, is still missing.

We have then, numbers of individual managers who have learnt all about planning, organising, leading and controlling (more recently monitoring), but no silver thread to hold it all together. True, individuals can apply good management principles in their areas of responsibility without global support. However, it is difficult if you interact with other departments to 'manage' yours when others are just plodding along ... you soon get caught up in problems over which you have no control. And you wonder, 'why do I bother?'

Does your firm have a list of management values? Mine doesn't. Do you have senior managers that demonstrate and demand sound management practices? I don't. Does your organisation value management qualifications? Mine doesn't. What management style would you say pervades your organisation? Ours is a reactive, laissez faire style where managers adapt to crises as they arise.

This is an organisation in which the glue is missing. It's that glue that is absolutely critical if an organisation is to be well managed. Management isn't just a buzz word; 'We believe in management'. How many firms do you know who tell everyone how much they focus on client service and then have you wait 20 minutes on their telephone help line? Dozens, probably hundreds!

For MD to be of any real benefit, the ethos of an organisation has to support it from top to bottom. There has to be a framework in which management lives, written values, unanimous (or near unanimous) agreement that proactive management is better than adaptive management or managing by abdication. It's also helpful if the MD program is customised for your firm; every manager does the same program and the course teaches management according to Acme Finance; the firm lives and breathes sound management; demands it; respects it; measures it; rewards it, and won't accept anything subordinate.

This is what true management is all about.

Robin Henry
Senior Development Officer
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission


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