Friday, 18 June 2021

Management flaws

I am a bit of a fan of UK property guru, Sarah Beeny. I like her pragmatic yet expert advice, and the careful way she tries to explain to those who appear on her shows what best practice indicates for their project.

What makes the watching good, of course, is the fact that much of that best practice advice is routinely ignored by tyros who 'know better'. Naturally, they don't know better. Yes, I know the applicants are hand-picked for good viewing. Yes, I know that the footage will be edited to create maximum effect from minimal problems. Yes, I know it is scripted. But participant hubris and derailment is as addictive as watching any management train smash in progress.

And that latter - the management train smash - is why I enjoy the programmes so much. Most of the issues arising on the programmes are management ones. Either planning errors; leading errors; organising errors; control errors; or strategic errors. Each episode is a microcosm of management going wrong, and management going right.

Good management is made up of five key areas (Robbins and Coulter, 2012), as follows:

  1. Planning: "Management function that involves defining goals, establishing strategies for achieving those goals, and developing plans to integrate and coordinate activities," (p. 638)
  2. Leading: "A process of influencing a group to achieve goals" (p. 634)
  3. Organising: "Management function that involves arranging and structuring work to accomplish the organization’s goals" (p. 637)
  4. Controlling: "The process of monitoring, comparing, and correcting work performance" (p. 630)
  5. Strategy: "The plans for how the organization will do what it’s in business to do, how it will compete successfully, and how it will attract and satisfy its customers in order to achieve its goals" (p. 640)

I read an interesting blog from a property developer, Phil Wadsworth, aka the Landlord. He explained that key errors that were repeated by wanna-be developers in almost every programme. However, a more careful analysis of those errors align very well with management theory, that participants have the following flaws (Property Investment Project, 2009):

  • Planning: had an unrealistic budget
  • Leading: got emotionally involved with the development
  • Organising: paused the project through indecision instead of just completing 
  • Controlling: invested in elements which didn't add value
  • Controlling: bought an overpriced or peak-priced property
  • Strategy: targeted the wrong market
  • Strategy: didn’t listen to good advice from others (i.e. Ms Beeny)
  • Strategy: did not create the look or provide amenities desired by the target market (aka "catered for their own taste"; Property Investment Project, 2009). 
None of these elements should have been a surprise. However, it is fascinating to watch a lack of good management derailling us. 



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