Innovating with Rudyard Kipling

by Sam Pakenham-Walsh


Innovating with Rudyard Kipling What Kipling’s Six Honest Serving Men Reveal about
Innovative Organizations

I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew);

Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.

– Rudyard Kipling, Just So Stories

In our paper, Workers and the Innovation Econo­my, we introduced Kip­ling’s six honest serving-men. [1] (We re­commend that you read that paper as a prelude to this one.)  For us, the authors, the serving-men reveal valuable insights.  Should you want them to, they will do the same for you, the reader.

In this paper we outline a strategy to make your entire organization more innovative.  Kip­ling’s serving men are at the core of our strategy.  We visualize them; we respect them as ex­perts in their respective fields – “They taught me all I knew” – and we put them to work to improve existing processes and to innovate new ones.  We or­ganize them in a logic that, we trust, will convince you to stop managing the visible people and start managing the invisible serving-men.  Then we examine the Delegation process in some detail: this little-re­cognized pro­cess turns out to be crucial.  Finally, we describe two Simple Moves that will lead to innovation.

The Two Worlds

Innovating with Rudyard KilplingDr. W. Edwards Deming continually referred to the “Real World” while telling attendees in his four-day seminars that they must be living in some other world of their own making.

This other world we call the “Imagined World”, the world of Strategy, Leadership and Thought, where no­thing can be mea­sured.    The Real World is the world of Tactics, Manager­ship and Action, where everything can be mea­sured.  See Figure 1.  No wonder Deming’s audience lived in the Imagined World: they saw themselves as leaders, not as managers.

We have coin­ed “Managership” to describe managing the invisible serving-men, who, as we have said, need to be ma­naged.  The visible people need to be led, not managed: we do not – indeed, cannot – manage people. [2] Furthermore, managing must be confined to the Real World because it is not possible to manage what cannot be measured.  True, managers will confront the unknown-and-unknowable.  In our lexicon they must cope with this somehow: they cannot manage the unknown-and-unknowable.  Of all the serving-men, Mr. How is the only one who actually does anything and with whom we can go through Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) improvement cycles.  Therefore, Mr. How is the one to be managed most closely.  Managing Mr. How is what managers are paid to do: it’s their job.  When he met Deming, Dr. Myron Tribus – called “Mr. Thermodynamics” at M.I.T. – describ­ed pro­blems his clients were having.  Deming: “Sounds as if none of the managers is doing his job.”  Deming defined the manager’s job.  Ever since this meeting Tribus has called himself a Demingite.

In a purposeful system:

  • The three signal features of the Imagined World are (i) it contains a formulated Strategy; (ii) it precedes the Real World, and (iii) it does not exist until its Goals have been achieved.
  • The one signal feature of the Real World is the criticality of Process, of Mr. How.  He is the only serving-man who can execute Tactics to achieve Mr. What’s Goals.  As Deming frequently pointed out, “There is no question more important than How.”

…the real world we create must first live in our imagination.   – John Snider, Michigan State University


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Definitions and Anecdotes

The authors discussed at length how best to structure this section.  Initially, we wanted to de­fine each serving-man separately.  However, the anecdotes – all actual incidents to which you will no doubt relate – grouped the serving-men for us, because real-life situations almost always involve more than one serving-man.

To proceed, we need to know each serving-man’s area of expertise.  In this section we de­fine the serving-men, so that you know exactly who they are – and who they are not.  Note that our definitions place each serving-man either in the Imagined World or in the Real World.  The definitions are followed by anecdotes so that you can visualize the serving-men in real-life situations.  We must first define employees, workers and managers.

Employees, Workers and Managers

Employees defined:-  People on the payroll, both managers and workers. [3]

Workers defined:-  Employees who have no Direct Reports (DRs).

Managers defined:-  Employees who head up Management Positions (MPs) containing DRs.

Mr. What and Mr. Why

Mr. What defined:-  What: which specified thing? event? circumstance?  Mr. What relates to still-unattained Goals in the Imagined World that cannot be achieved alone.  He has the know­ledge to set challenging yet achievable Goals, because he is educated; i.e., he knows a little about a lot.  All the Goals must be speci­fic; e.g., “the Middle East democratized” is not a Goal, but “fair and free elections established” is a Goal.[4]

Mr. Why defined:-  Why: for what cause, purpose? with what motive? Mr. Why relates to the future, to Purpose, not to the past, not to cause.  Like Mr. What, Mr. Why cannot be measured, so he too is in the Imagin­ed World.  Where Mr. What is specific and shorter-term, Mr. Why is general and longer-term; e.g., “democratizing the Middle East” cannot be a Goal, but it can be a Purpose.

An anecdote about Mr. What and Mr. Why:- The CEO made his expectations clear to his DRs: “I have the full support of the board on this.”  The DRs quickly acquiesced.  By referring to the board, the CEO had firmly established his Mr. What and Mr. Why, effectively preventing all the other serving-men at the meeting from speaking out.  Afterwards, I met with the CEO: “I’ve never seen so many tin hats.” –– CEO: “Tin hats?  What do you mean?” –– I: “Soon after you started to talk in that meeting, everyone ran for cov­er.  I saw only tin hats around the table.”  The CEO roared with laughter.

Mr. When

Mr. When defined:-  When: at what time? Mr. When relates to duration, sequence and frequency.  His expertise is Timing.  Since time is measureable, Mr. When is in the Real World.

An anecdote about Mr. When:- A steel-pail plant experimenting with plastic called me in.  Mr. Lee, the plant manager and a life-long steel-pail person, gave me the tour.  He said, “Plastic will never replace steel.  Steel is far stronger.” –– Then I saw him, sitting alone; his elfin ears said he was a serving-man.  After my tour I went back to see if he was still there.  He was!  I asked, “Which serving-man are you?” –– He started and said, “I’m Mr. Lee’s Mr. When.” –– “You don’t look too happy.” –– “No, I’m not at all happy.  This plant is a job shop.  Profits, ROI and cash-flows all depend on properly sequencing orders into production to keep the work busy, not the workers.  I tell this to my master but he ig­nores me.  I might as well be invisible.  Look around.  Over here: rows of thin steel rolls six feet in diameter.  Over there: stacks of smaller steel rolls, cut to a pail’s height, to be rolled and welded, bottoms to be attach­ed, tops to be punched, lips to be rolled, and then they must be painted, labeled; some need a special coating.  In every corner: rusted and rejected in-pro­cess steel:  almost all of it is non-working WIP: there’s tons of it!  And look at all the direct labor needed.” –– I told him, “Plastic pails have almost no idle WIP.  Pellets are vacuumed from a rail car into a molding machine where finish­ed pails are formed in about two minutes.  Multi-cavity molds let several pails be mold­ed at the same time.”  I playfully punched Mr. When in the ribs: “My company is replacing steel with plastic.  In a few months all this WIP will be gone.  In a few years most steel pails will be gone.  You’ll like what you’ll see; I guarantee it.”

Another anecdote about Mr. When:- As my boss was tell­ing the prospects what we had in mind, he got excited.  His excitement enthus­ed the prospects: “You’ll really have all that shipped and install­ed at this price by June?” –– “No problem,” my boss replied. –– Then I noticed Mr. When in the corner shaking his head. –– Mr. When approached me after the meeting: “Your boss has just committed to some­thing that can’t be done on time and under bud­get.  Our supplier’s backed up: we won’t even get that stuff until the end of May.  Then we’ll have to schedule it into the shop, fabricate it, test it and ship it to Utah.  Won’t be there until late June at the earliest.  And then we have to install it.” –– At the next morning’s production meeting I told my boss what Mr. When had told me: “We’re in trouble, boss.”  Smiling, he patted my shoulder: “We’ll be lucky if we get it installed by August, son – but I’ll tell you sump’n: did you ever see two guys so happy?  We made the sale, right?  How am I to know our suppli­er’s backed up?  I’ll tell you sump’n else, young fel­ler: those folks in Utah don’t expect delivery till mid August.  Heh, heh!  They weren’t born yesterday.”

Mr. How

Mr. How defined:-  How: by what means?  Mr. How is all about Process.  He has the skills to complete tasks in the Real World because he is trained; i.e., he knows a lot about a little.

An anecdote about Mr. How:- Dr. Poe knew his Mr. Why and his Mr. What very well, but he relied on the staff to look after his Mr. How.  I suggest­ed he get to know his Mr. How: “Draft flowcharts of the staff’s four major processes on easel notes and ask them to fill in the details.” I described flowcharting. –– “OK,” he replied; “this’ll be fun.” –– On a Saturday morning a month later I went to Dr. Poe’s clinic, where I was introduced to the Manager, the Receptionist, the Accountant and the Nurse.  The drafts had been taped to a waiting-room wall.  I said, “Come back at one o’clock to see what we’ve done.”  Then I worked with his staff: with the Accountant on Billing and Claims; with the Nurse on Prescriptions and with the Receptionist on Patient Intake.  The Manager hovered around doing nothing: “I don’t know any of this stuff anyway: my job is to manage.”  By one o’clock, four flowcharts covered the entire wall. –– Dr. Poe returned.  He was amazed by what the staff had accomplished and told them how impress­ed he was.  Walking the length of the wall, he carefully studied each flowchart: “I nev­er knew you did all this crap.” –– I had to intervene: “What you call ‘this crap’ is your practice.  All along that wall is your Mr. How.” –– Dr. Poe: “You’re right…  I apologize, everybody.” –– I got a call from Dr. Poe a few months later: “Those flowcharts have transformed the staff; they’ve already eliminated several tasks.  By the way, our Manager left: she said she was no longer respect­ed.  We’re doing fine without her.”

Another anecdote about Mr. How:- As an engineer I was promoted to work in Sales.  I struggled for a while before my boss took me aside: “Your Mr. How is clubbing prospects with data on the way to use our products.  You never ask them about their Mr. What, about why they came to us in the first place.  You’re being seen as a person who doesn’t care a flip about their problems.  Go on like this and you’ll drive them to our competition to find someone who does care.” –– He was right.  I had known Mr. How for many years.  This turned on some prospects but most were turned off.  I ask­ed my boss, “What should I do?” –– “Recognize that all your data will be used by their Mr. How, not by your Mr. How.  Their Mr. How will only listen to your Mr. How after he has shown that he thoroughly understands their Mr. What.  Don’t be in such a hurry to show off your skills that you never give the prospects a chance to show off their knowledge.” –– So I just stayed quiet, letting the prospects’ Mr. What talk on and on before I said a word.  I had to admit: listening to their Mr. What often changed what I would have said about Mr. How.  Within two years I was chalking up more sales than our other two salesmen combined.  The dumb flies escape while the intelligent bees die.

Mr. Where and Mr. Who

Mr. Where defined:-  Where: in, from, toward or at what place? in what situation? in what respect?  Mr. Where relates less to location and more to Domain; i.e., to a manager’s accountability as describ­ed in a Position Charter or to a worker’s responsibility as drawn in a flowchart. [5] Like Mr. What and Mr. Why, Mr. Where is simply a statement that cannot be measured.  Therefore Mr. Where is in the Imagined World.

Mr. Who defined:-  Who: which person, persons? Mr. Who relates to People in the Real World, be they managers of Management Positions (MPs) or workers in MPs. [6] Workers are knowledge-workers or operatives.

An anecdote about Mr. Where and Mr. Who:-  I call my Mr. Where and my Mr. Who into my office and shut the door: “You two have not been getting along for some time.  What’s your problem?”  Mr. Where: “No pro­blem; not yet.” –– I: “‘Not yet’?” –– Mr. Who: “More and more applicants have college degrees.  Mr. Where here (the “here” wasn’t lost on me) insists they spend a year as workers in 1st-level positions, regardless of their degrees, and he tells them so up front.  We’re losing the better applicants because they see no point in that ‘year’, not after they’ve spent several years earning a degree.” –– Mr. Where: “We always start new-hires at the bottom and they work their way up.  That’s the only way to gain subordinates’ respect: to walk a mile in their moccasins.” –– I: “Let me call Mr. What.  (I place the call.)  Like some coffee?” –– A few minutes later, Mr. What joins us.  I tell him everything Mr. Who and Mr. Where have just told me.  Mr. What: “We need to examine Mr. Where‘s insistence.  Are the new-hire’s Goals in line or in staff?  If they’re in line, I’ld say a year as a worker in selected 1st-level positions is the way to go – and the issue of respect must be explained to the new-hire.  If they’re in staff, I’ld say a few weeks, even a few days, working in selected 1st-level positions is the way to go.” –– Mr. Who: “I could live with that.” –– Mr. Where: “Well, I dunno…” –– After a while, we reached a consensus: Mr. Where was prepared to go along.  Mr. What had saved the day!

I cannot converse with you, Sir.  You do not define your terms. – Voltaire

SpongeBob boss: “Hurry up! What do you think I’m paying you for?” –– SpongeBob worker: “You don’t pay me. You don’t even exist. We’re just a clever visual metaphor used to personify the abstract concept of thought.”Innovating with Rudyard Kipling

– “No Weenies Allowed,” SpongeBob, SquarePants, 2002

Organizing the serving-men

Before we get into this section, we need to clarify two points:

  • For the rest of this paper all the serving-men – from the executives’ to the 1st-level MPs’ – are not advising individuals: they are advising managers’ MPs and workers’ jobs. [7]
  • A DRs’ Mr. Why is subordinate to their superiors’ Mr. What.

Innovating with Rudyard Kipling–   So subordinates are enabled to critique their superiors’ Mr. How (Tactics), but they are not enabled to critique their superiors’ Mr. What (Strategy).

Mr. Why, Mr. What & Mr. How are the primary serving-men:

  • Without Mr. Why’s Purpose we only exist; we cannot decide.
  • Without Mr. What’s Goals, we only dream of a Purpose; we cannot pursue it.
  • Without Mr. How’s Process, we only hope: we cannot achieve Goals.

Clearly, we must first establish Purpose by consulting with Mr. Why, then we must set Goals by consulting with Mr. What and lastly we must design a Process by consulting with Mr. How.  See Figure 2.

This means that Mr. Where, Mr. Who and Mr. When become the secondary serving-men: [8]

  • Mr. Where is secondary to Mr. What: Mr. Where’s Domain determines where to find the people with the authority to achieve Mr. What’s Goals.
  • Mr. Who is secondary to Mr. What and to Mr. Where: Mr. Who’s People acting on authority delegated by Mr. Where are needed to achieve Mr. What’s Goals.
  • Mr. When is secondary to Mr. How: Mr. When’s Timing determines the sequence, duration and frequency of tasks in Mr. How’s Process.

In other words:

  • When we consult with Mr. What, we must consider Mr. Where.
  • Before we consult with Mr. Who, we must have already consulted with Mr. What and Mr. Where.
  • When we consult with Mr. How, we must consider Mr. When.

We can now construct the sequence of our serving-men’s consultations.  See Figure 3 (next page).  We get two upright triangles, one above the other.  See the black dashed lines.  The up­per triangle relates to Strategy, to Mr. Why’s Purpose and to Mr. What’s Goals in the Imagin­ed World.  See the blue dashed box.  The lower triangle relates to Tactics, to Mr. How’s Process in the Real World.  See the red dashed box .

Here we keep running into a problem: executives consult so often with Mr. Why and Mr. What in the Imagined World that they, like Dr. Poe, tend to leave Mr. How for their DRs to look after in the Real World.  Result: they do not want to know their Mr. How – despite Mr. How being of pivotal importance, as we have acknowledged.  Consequence: the executives build a culture in which Mr. How is being relegated, not delegated, to DRs.  Indeed, the culture goes so far as to use this relegation to appraise the DRs’ performances: how well are my DRs looking after my Mr. How?  This makes no sense whatsoever, yet it is almost universal, particularly in the public sector.  Besides, relegating Mr. How stifles innovation.

Innovating with Rudyard Kipling

One of the authors recently saw an extreme case of relegation: the workers were doing such a good job their manager assumed he was not needed.  (No, he was not reassigned!)  Manager: “They know what they’re doing far better than I do.” –– Author: “You do realize they work in pro­cesses for which you are accountable?” –– Manager: “Well, someone has to do the work.”  (Shades of Dr. Poe’s Manager: the one who left, you know…)

Chairman: “The senior managers who are making commitments to me have no idea how the company operates?”

Executive: “That’s exactly what I’m telling you.”

– P.G. Keen & E.M. Knapp, Every Manager’s Guide to Business Processes, H.B.S. Press, 1996, p. 16.


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The third triangle: Delegation

Innovating with Rudyard KiplingThere is a third triangle in Figure 3 connecting Mr. What, Mr. Who and Mr. Where (see the green dashed lines in Figure 4).  The third triangle relates to Delegation.

Delegation converts Mr. What in the delegator’s MP in­to Mr. Why in the delegatee’s MP – or in the de­le­gatee’s job if (s)he is a worker.  This conversion is critical: it establishes the de­le­gatee’s Purpose (Mr. Why), on which the de­le­gatee’s Stra­t­egy depends.

The delegatee has a Strategy?  You bet!  This section describes a De­le­gation process that integrates the delegatees’ Stra­t­egies up­wards into the delegators’ Tactics: the polar opposite of conventional practice, which disintegrates a mon­olithic Stra­t­egy down­wards into the delegatees’ duties and assignments.  Integrating upwards requires de­legators to enable delegatees to formulate Stra­t­egies.  After all, as many ma­nagers admit, “They know what they’re doing much better than I do.”  The delegators do this by expecting the delegatees to critique the delegators’ Tactics before they become the delegatees’ Stra­t­egy.  Typically, the de­legatees are the delegator’s DRs whom Mr. Who selected years ago. [9] Granted, the delegators’ Tactics are seldom changed, but without the critique the delegatees have no Purpose – and with no Purpose there can be no upward integration.  Of course, the delegatees’ Purpose may be extrinsic: they may just want to be paid.  Extrinsically motivated employees work in unhealthy organizations: people are working for their compensation, not for their customers.

You think that the delegatees’ Mr. What could never change the delegators’ Mr. How?  Ah, yes, he can! – but only if critiques by subordinates are the norm.  In 1974, one of the authors built a computerized model for each of a Division’s plants.  The models reflected the plant manager’s view of the plant’s operations and projected P&L statements for five years; they were tested by replicating past statements.  Each plant ran its model several times before reaching a consensus.  Now, here is the kicker: all the inputs came from the plant manager’s DRs, who in turn consulted with their DRs.  Thus almost all the managers, many of whom had never even seen a P&L statement, helped to formulate their plant’s Stra­t­egy.  Result: the plants had an enormous influence on the Division.  In effect, the plants’ collective Mr. What had bested the plant managers’ Mr. How.  Consequence: the plants’ Strategies became the Division’s Tactics – and each plant “owned” its Strategy.

Effective delegation requires more than simply assigning work to employees. –  Ruth Mayhew, eHow.

Transforming mere Delegation into Innovative Delegation

We each have six serving-men, so they live at every management level.  We have established their relationships, so we can refer to them all by focusing only on the primary serving-men.  Figure 5 shows the primary serving-men in a management structure.  When we write about an MP we are talking about that MP’s manager, and when we write about a serving-man doing anything we are talking about what he advises his MP to do.

Innovating with Rudyard KiplingOf the primary serving-men, we authors are much more concerned about Mr. How than we are about Mr. Why and Mr. What.  The reason for our concern is twofold:

  • So-called managers are already giving their Mr. Why and certainly their Mr. What almost undivided attention, while they are ignoring their Mr. How.  The manager’s job is to improve the processes – ask Tribus, now a Demingite! – that contain the workers.  Managers who ignore their Mr. How deserve to be “so-called”.
  • Innovation stems from doing things differently.  As we have already remarked, Mr. How is the one serving-man who does anything at all.  Only by paying attention to Mr. How can we create Innovative Delegation.

Notice that:

  • The serving-men form two bonds between superiors and subordinates: one between Mr. WhatN and Mr. How(N + 1); the other between Mr. WhyN and Mr. What(N + 1).  See all the double-headed arrows in Fi­gure 5.
  • The serving-men link every MP, therefore every employ­ee, to another two management levels away; i.e., Mr. Why(N 2) is equi­valent to Mr. HowN.   Dr. Elliott Jaques recognizes this linkage: he calls a DR’s DR a Subordinate-once-Removed (SoR) and he calls a manager’s manager a Manager-once-Removed (MoR).  Here is what Jaques has to say about them:

“The leadership properties of MoR-SoR relationships, and of the MoR in relation to intermediate managers and the SoRs, are at the heart of feelings of trust and justice, cohesion, good morale and organizational effectiveness.” [10]

  • PDSA cycles must engage two levels of management: Mr. WhatN and Mr. How(N + 1).  MPs cannot conduct PDSA cycles unless they coordinating them with a superior or a subordinate MP.  This calls for vertical collaboration: all the more reason for MoRs to form relationships with their SoRs.

A closer look at Innovative Delegation

The Innovative Delegation process has four Steps:

1. MPN and MP(N – 1) check that Mr. What(N – 1)’s Goal is an integral part of one of Mr. What N’s Goals.

a. This means that a superior’s performance depends on a subordinate’s performance: not vice-versa.

2. If Mr. HowN cannot handle all Mr. WhatN’s Goals, MPN delegates one of Mr. WhatN’s Goals to MP(N – 1).

a. MPN enables Mr. What( N – 1) to critique Mr. HowN.  This creates Mr. Why(N – 1)’s Purpose.

b. Delega­tion continues in an endless series of PDSA cycles, each initiated by Mr. What(N – 1)’s critique of Mr. HowN.  See the green PDSA cycle in Figure 5.

c. Mr. What (N – 1)’s critique may change the delegated Goal; i.e., Mr. What (N – 1) may prevail over Mr. HowNThis is innovation.

3. If the PDSA cycles confirm that Mr. What(N – 1)’s critique is sound, then MPN changes (improves) Mr. HowN accordingly.

4. But, before changing anything, MPN must first check that Mr. WhatN’s Goals are still in line with Mr. How(N + 1)’s Process. 

a. This is yet another reason why all managers must know their Mr. How.

Steps #2, #3 and #4 describe an integrated, bottom-up Innovative Delegation process that is vastly different from the traditional, disintegrated, top-down process.  Cascaded throughout the management structure, these four Steps provide continuous tactical innovations – which, incidentally, initiate growth curves.  At the very least, they build a learning organization.  Now we see that transforming Delegation into Innovative Delegation is critical to the organization’s health.  Even though we see this, we never see a flowchart of the Delegation process, let alone any PDSA cycles trying to improve it! [11]

Whoever dreamt that MPs would test their Tactics’ Actions, or that they would formulate their own Strategies?  For that matter, whoever dreamt that subordinates would critique their superiors’ Tactics?  Dreamt or not, organizations cannot innovate constantly, successfully, unless they fully accept that:

▪  Strategy (untested Thought) is in the Imagined World.         ▪  Tactics (tested Action) are in the Real World.

▪  All managers must articulate their MPs’ Tactics.                  ▪  The MPs’ DRs critique the MPs’ Tactics.

▪  All the MPs’ employees, workers as well as managers, contribute to their MPs’ Strategy.

We suggest you read this sec­tion a few times over, referencing Figure 4: these steps are at the heart of building innovative organizations.

I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”                                                            – Robert McCloskey

Conclusion

How about that?  Building innovative organizations boils down to building an Innovative Delegation process.  The four Steps that we have just described may seem complicated, but they are not really that difficult to take.  These Steps follow naturally if managers make two Simple Moves:

  • If they draft flowcharts of their Mr. How and ask their DRs to critique the flowcharts, just as Dr. Poe did.

–   This sets up Step 2aThis Move will profoundly change the managers’ relationships with their DRs.

  • If they throw out the injunction never to go around the boss and, together with their DRs, develop relationships with their DRs’ DRs.  This Move will greatly enhance the organization’s effectiveness.

– The relationships with DRs’ DRs exist because the managers’ Mr. How is very similar to their DRs’ DRs’ Mr. Why.  Recognizing this fact tells all employees that their managers’ managers are depending on them.

– This Move also creates the vertical collaboration required to design and implement PDSA cycles.

There is only one small problem: these four Steps and two Simple Moves go dead against the grain of the conventional, top-down, commanding, disintegrative model, where DRs are led to think they work for their bosses, who think they work for the shareholders.  This thinking, indeed much of the thinking in organizations, comes from the military, where commanding is entirely appropriate.  However, in civvy street the exact opposite applies: an innovative, bottom-up, supporting, integrative model is needed, where bosses are led to think they work for their DRs, who think they work for their customers – who may occasionally be their bosses.

Surely, such a small, against-the-grain problem will not prevent you from building an innovative organization at your workplace?


[1] Workers and the Innovation Economy, published by InnovationExcellence.com in November, 2011.

[2] “You don’t manage people; you manage things.  You lead people.”   – Admiral Grace Murray Hopper.

[3] Many refer to workers as employees, ignoring the fact that managers are also on the payroll.

[4] Note that Goals are always defined using a past participle.  Also, understand that Goals in this paper are not to be confused with objectives in Management By Objective (MBO).  MBO has two serious faults:

  • While it is meant to be driven by bottom-up consensus, it is almost always driven by top-down command.
  • It focuses on achievements, overlooking the processes on which all achievements depend.  It even rewards achievements.

–   Result: Employees get the message, “We don’t care how you do it: just get it done!”

–   Consequence: Mr. What, by dominating Mr. How, dismisses Mr. How as being of little or no account.  In fact – in the Real World! – Mr. How is very important.

[5] Note the dis­tinction be­tween the manager’s account­a­bi­lity and the worker’s responsibility.

[6] MPs contain one, only one, manager and a number of workers.  MPs are an innovation of Jim Hendrick.

[7] This also ap­plies to Management By Objective (MBO): organizations, not people, have ob­jectives.  Dr. Peter Drucker never made this clear – and the practice of awarding personal bonuses for orga­n­i­zational achievements makes it even less clear!

[8] No doubt, it is hard for leaders to accept that Mr. Who is a secondary serving-man.

[9] Remember: Mr. Who selects the de­legatee: he cannot be the de­legatee.  He is a serving-man: visualized, not actual.

[10] Elliott Jaques, Requisite Organization: The CEO’s Guide to Creative Structure and Leadership, Curtis Hall, 1989, pp. 123.

[11] This may well be the next major advance in Organization Development: improving management processes by applying all the lessons learnt improving technical processes.  Remember: you read it first here!

image credits: himandus.net

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Co- authors Sam Pakenham-Walsh, Fred Broussard and John Persico met while working together for Process Management International (PMI).

Innovating with Rudyard KiplingSam Pakenham-Walsh had been using the scientific method for 16 years in operations and in management before consulting with major firms for 28 years.  He developed a process that inculcates Dr. Edward Deming’s “14 points” into progressive organizations.

Innovating with Rudyard KiplingFred Broussard was the Quality Manager for the largest division of a billion dollar chemical company when he retired in 1996 (his career began as a union shift worker).  As an internal consultant, he inculcated Dr. Deming’s Fourteen Points into all his division’s managers.  He then led the division to achieve an ISO 9000 certification and to qualify for a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

Innovating with Rudyard KiplingDr. John Persico is a partner in the Minnesota Consulting Alliance, and has been a management consultant since 1986 in the profit and non-profit sectors.

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  1. Excellent, I love the first part of the paper especially. Great humour!

    The second part of the paper gets into some fairly intense nitty-gritty, and I don’t feel inclined to engage fully with that part unless I am first convinced of the value of the first part – in practice. Perhaps a real-life example of the six men in harmonious practice, if such an example exists? and an introductory paragraph or two to suggest how easy it could/might be to introduce the six men concept in practice? Can you persuade me of quick-win improvements that might be gained by implementing just part of the concept, or does it conceptually need to be lock-stock-and-barrel? Is there a Part 3 that could explore these kinds of what-next questions?

    One small query – what are ‘goals in line or in staff’?

    I’m looking forward to hear more, and to reading comments and suggestions from other readers.

  2. Sam Pakenham-Walsh

    Excellent suggestions, Neil. Our purpose is to emphasize the importance of ALL SIX serving-men, three related to leading (strategy) & the other three related to managing (tactics). As things stand (with MBO), everyone pretends to be a leader – to get noticed? promoted? Result: subordinates get little or no support. Consequence: there is very little improvement & virtually no innovation. Let’s face it, no one’s MANAGING the joint!

  3. Sam Pakenham-Walsh

    Organizations have long been seen in two parts: the LINE, which focuses on external customers, & the STAFF, which focuses on internal customers.

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