Give the Emperor a Mirror

A Fresh Look at Management Tools

By Nilooka Dissanayake, ACMA, MBA (Strathclyde)

“Once your clothes become too old to wear, tear into pieces and use as a hand towel;

once they become too ragged for that, use them to wipe your feet;

when they become really useless, mix it with mud and use to patch up the walls of your adobe hut.”

That is actually words of advice from the Ultimate Analyst, the Gauthama Buddha.

And, this is exactly what we should do with management tools. No, not wipe your feet with them. We should try to get the best out of the already used and -often abused – management tools. Recycle would be a good description. After all, if you don’t put them to use, abuse or misuse, then what use? Let’s use it.

We have become cynical of management tools…

Like many things in life, management tools and management teams are affected by fashion trends. At one point SWOT was the craze. Then came visions and missions and corporate planning followed with BPR and brainstorming. Every top management team worth their salt jumped on board, if not for the benefits to be had, at least to appear fashionable and be able to boast of it in the annual report or at the Rotary meeting. You know what I mean. Since management tools come and go, corporate citizens (i.e. most of us) have got used to their novelty and the inevitable oblivion. This experience has made us wary of these tools and left us cynical as to their relevance.

Let us not reinvent the wheel…

This series of articles is an attempt to point out the proper uses and the not so conventional ways in which we can put management tools to use. Secondly, once in a while, everyone needs a reminder that we can make our managerial lives easier by not reinventing the wheel.

What does is take?

It takes the brave or the truly naive to point out the benefits of a much hacked management tool. You know, like the little boy who asked why the emperor was naked.

As the first in the series, let us talk of SWOT analyses.

From Ezine Athwela, the official newsletter of the Athwela Business Journal

ISSN: 1391-7153 | 24 January 2002 | volume 01 issue 02

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About Nilooka

I am a learner; and also a great trainer. I make learning fun for myself and for everyone else.
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