Frugal Management

We tend to think about Management as a complicated discipline very difficult to understand, very difficult to learn and very difficult to implement. Many believe  there is a unavoidable need to go to an expensive executive Business school, read every management guru book in print, or to have a wide and long experience. But, indeed, it’s nothing about that. It’s much more simple.

Most of the time, management means just to put into practice some few and simple rules, coming from the most elementary logic. So why do we complicate it? Because people have a tendency to overcomplicate things in order to show how “clever” they are, where actually what they are really showing you is their own insecurity.

Frugal Management, on the other hand, is about focusing on and executing properly the basics when managing people while putting to one side all the colourful and jargon-ladened new tendencies. And when we talk about basics we are referring to the following:

a) First rule for executives: Do not create harm (if it’s not broken, don’t try to  fix it). One of the most deadly pieces of advice is to implement “quick wins” as soon as you come into a new company. A “quick win” can easily turn into a fast mistake if you don’t pay attention to why the company operates in this way (corporate ecosystem).

b) Be a source of good and practise tough love: as we normally tend to recruit people similar to us, good people recruit good people and psychopaths tend to surround themselves with psychopaths. With tough love we have to care enough to be able to make tough decisions; delay the recruitment process; know when it’s time to say goodbye.

c) Treat others above their possibilities (remember the Pigmalion Effect). Please, leave people better than you found them.

Frugal Management is being aware about the importance of the pool of emotions, commitments and need for meaning. We cannot exhaust staff with management practices and theories which massage our own egos. Rather, we must help our workforce towards achieving their best by the power of simplicity. Because the most complicated thing is to make it easy and the easiest thing is to make it complicated.

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