Okay, here goes, the first post on this blog… I am a management graduate, so it’s logical if I chose “Management” as my first topic.
Management as an Art?
What is art?
1: the products of human creativity; works of art collectively;
2: the creation of beautiful or significant things;
3: a superior skill that you can learn by study and practice and observation.
The strong keywords that I’m getting from the definition above are: human creativity, superior skill, learn by study and practice and observation.
“Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper. The second is that you’re generally better off sticking with what you know. And the third is that sometimes your best investments are the ones you don’t make.” - Donald Trump
IMHO, for most cases or problems you’ll face or did face in the business world, there’s no “one-cure” to the perfectly similar diagnosis. I’m not saying that there’s no justifiable scientific method to come up with the solution to the problem. It’s just sometimes the variables are too many and too unpredictable that it requires the “art” from which comes from your skill learned from you studies, experience (your practices and observations).
Yes, you might have studied several business cases when studying for your MBA. Yes, you might have experienced some business cases of your own at work. But that does not mean that you are guaranteed to know the solution to every problem you face in the business world.
“The 1990′s sure aren’t like the 1980′s.” - Donald Trump
One of my lecturers said, “in business, there’s actually no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, it’s just a matter of perspective, as long as you get the job done, then all you have to do next is to convince upper management that the actions you took to get the job done is accountable and taken responsibly.”
“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” - Paul Hawken
Now, this is an interesting statement, and IMHO that’s another “art” to convince people that your actions are justifiable and for you to defend your actions. As long as the job was done and the task was accomplished, then you can analyze your previous actions were they efficient, effective or not, so that you can improve them on your next assignment in the future. As a matter of fact, all that’s important to the company, in terms of money, is how much money you’ve saved or how much money you’ve wasted in the process.
Mary Parker Follett (1868–1933) defined management as “the art of getting things done through people”.
Basic functions of management: planning, organizing, leading/motivating, and controlling.
Planning includes shaping the vision and mission of the business. This requires future insights and also creativity to shape something out of the blue, that’s creativity. Leading and motivating benefit the most out of the art of leadership, the art of negotiation.
“Leadership: The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower
There’s so many aspects in these basic functions that can be categorized as art, but I’m not denying that there’s also needs for scientific method to accomplish all these. Mathematics in organizing, statistical methods in controlling, psychological analysis in leading and motivating, and many more.