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Juggling ITT was not much different from his father's job of managing concert performers. Geneen was born in Britain, but his family moved to the United States when he was less than a year old.
After attending a Connecticut private school, he began work as a page on Wall Street, then pursued an accounting career. Geneen held several finance jobs with such firms as American Can Co. Then, in he was hired as an executive vice president of Raytheon. His mission: to turn around the ailing company, which he did, and after three years he was tapped by ITT. In less than 10 years, Geneen built ITT into a conglomerate of affiliated companies operating in 57 countries, managing interests that varied from the U.
Never liking the term "conglomerate," he preferred to label ITT "a unified-management, multiproduct company. I did not want glamorous, glib-talking men who got by on their coiffured good looks or family connections.
He also understood that for a true multinational conglomerate to operate efficiently, control was everything. At times he could be overbearing, and the discipline he inflicted on others has been likened to that of the Catholic Church or the Communist Party.
His managers were subject to continuous scrutiny within a system of checks and balances. For Geneen, "the highest art of professional management requires the literal ability to 'smell' a 'real fact' from all others. The key, essential element in all good business management is emotional attitude. The rest is mechanics. As I use the term, management is not a collection of boxes with names and titles on the organizational chart.
Management is a living force. You either have it in a company or you don't. Management must have a purpose, a dedication, and that dedication must be an emotional commitment. It must be built in as a vital part of the personality of anyone who truly is a manager.
He or she is the one who understands that management must manage. The attitude is a self-fulfilling one, too. The man who says, "I must do this," will stay at his task until all hours, trying again and again and again, until he finds a satisfactory answer.
The answer must be, above all, satisfactory to him. And he will know it. There may be seventy-eight ways to do something and only ten of them with satisfactorily good answers. The manager will continue to probe and to seek for one of those ten answers.
It may not be the best of all answers. But he won't settle for anything lower than one of those ten. The next time he will strive for yet a better answer, higher on the list, learning something new all the time, and achieving better results as he goes along.
He will work this way because of his emotional attitude, more than anything else, and that attitude inevitably will be emulated by those who work with him, so that it becomes a way of life in that organization.
The urge to do what must be done is powered. He might not be able to explain why he works the way he does, or why he makes this choice and not the other one. He does it because he "feels" that it is right. That feeling is transmitted to others who work for him or with him. They know his emotional commitment includes them as well as the goals of the enterprise. They are willing to follow his lead because of that "feeling" which makes him the kind of person he is.
No matter if you are managing a business, a church, a scout troop, a career, or your home life, I believe that the test of management is whether or not it achieves the goals it sets for itself; the higher the goals, the better the management. In fact, if the level of goals is too low, I wouldn't call it management at all; anyone can do it.
A marathon runner is someone who can run twenty-six miles yards in a given amount of time, whether the standard is two and a half, three, or three and a half hours. But what about the fellow who runs it in ten hours? He's not a marathon runner; he's a guy wearing short pants and a pair of running shoes who is out getting some fresh air. We are defining the runner in terms of his performance. So do we define a corporate manager.
If the manager is to accomplish his objectives, he absolutely has to get the information necessary to make the right decisions. The steps along the way define themselves as he goes toward his objectives. To surmount each step, he needs solid facts so that he can recognize the realities of situations. His decisions, if based realistically upon reliable information, will not be all that difficult. Facts are power. Management is not a collection of boxes with names and titles on the organizational chart.
They are crucial to good management. In order to get the straight facts in any situation, the manager must ask straight questions, and to do that he must do his homework so that he has a deep understanding of what he is encountering. If he has a good record of making the right decisions, he can help people around him to be effective and successful in their own areas, so that their total accomplishment is greater than the sum of their individual parts.
That is leadership. And if the leadership is successful, it creates a momentum in the enterprise which enriches the participants with such a feeling of pride and energy that they produce results, short-term and long-term results, which they themselves never thought possible.
I've separated the elements here, but in practice they all move along together, en masse, nourishing each other like the fusion in a nuclear reactor, creating the fire, the pressure, and the power which produce energy. All this is the critical emotional content of good management.
This is the emotional horsepower that drives people to do things, drives them to keep at it because they feel they must get the answer, drives them to push on until they get results that are satisfactory to them. Of course, you don't always succeed in every effort. But then you recognize it early on, and you get out of that situation.
You cut your losses and go on to something else. If you are a manager, you don't drift. Regarded as one of the shrewdest managers of his time, Andrew W.
Robertson was recruited to become chairman of Westinghouse just as the Great Depression hit. Westinghouse had been founded by George Westinghouse in Pittsburgh in At the age of 22 he invented the air brake, and then pioneered work in electrical plants.
The founder stepped aside in and died four years later, but the company continued to expand, entering the radio and appliance fields. At about the time that George Westinghouse was in the twilight of his career, Robertson was a school teacher, then a door-to-door salesman of aluminum pots and pans, after which he became an attorney for and then head of a utility holding company. When Westinghouse's chairman died unexpectedly, its directors sought outside help to revive the sluggish company; thus Robertson entered the scene.
According to business analysts back then, Robertson inherited a stubborn company that was as "bulky as a hippopotamus. Recognizing the opportunity that World War II presented, he guided the company into the military electronics business.
In fact, Westinghouse radar equipment on Oahu warned of planes approaching Pearl Harbor on December 7, ; unfortunately the powers-that-be assumed they were American planes. While he covers a good deal of highbrow ground, his essay also includes humorous anecdotes and provocative thoughts.
Robertson admitted that management must be strong and even dictatorial: "It is anti-democratic, although private organizations flourish best in democratic countries. However, the democratic rule of the majority will frustrate and defeat any management. Management is to be found everywhere, in our homes, in our personal affairs, in our factories and generally throughout all social functions, economical, political or otherwise.
If a thing is thought to be devoid of management, someone is always popping up to inject a little management into it, such as making a managed currency or a wheat crop or managing the supply of cotton, the number of pigs and everything in general. Unfortunately, the various efforts of management do not always harmonize. In fact, more often than not the efforts of different managements are in conflict with one another so that if one management succeeds, the other must necessarily fail.
The hunter of seals is directing all his managerial ability to kill seals. Government may be devoting all its managerial ability to keep the seals alive. Management has been in existence as long as civilization. But in the present age management controls larger groups than in any other age. It is only during the last fifty years that we have seen organizations of national and international scope.
Today we think of management as the organizing force in the world of affairs. It is the know how of business and industry.
It is concerned with order, discipline and accomplishment, and is against disorder and inertia. Management uses the intelligence, labor and wealth of man with the materials and forces of nature to produce things or services which other men want.
It is absurd, in a sense, to define management to you, but in another sense it is a wise precaution to [ensure] our common approach to the subject. Management is the last and best means by which man, the builder and creator, takes the manifold riches of nature which, in their raw or natural state, are useless to him, and molds them to his needs.
The distinction between the work of management and the work of an individual is that the results of management's activities are always for others. To survive, management must produce what others want, whereas the individual, more often than not, is concerned with producing what he alone wants.
The multifarious activities of management are beyond description, and some of the activities might be called mismanagement. Management is necessary to sell a steamboat or a Fuller brush; to run a hat-checking concession or an automobile factory; to operate the Pennsylvania Railroad or a beauty parlor; to give a picnic or conduct a funeral.
Management will function in Europe or Africa; but the higher the standard of living, the better management functions. Or restated, the better management functions, the higher the standard of living. Management enables man to advance through the helpful cooperation of other men. Alone he is pitiful. At best he is little more than an animal and no matter how brilliant he may be he cannot rise far without the help of others.
Geneen was born on January 22, in Bournemouth , Hampshire, England. Between and he was senior vice president of Raytheon , developing his management structure, allowing a large degree of freedom for divisions while maintaining a high degree of financial and other accountability, which was surprising as he had been ejected from his prior employer, Jones and Laughlin Steel Company , for reckless management of the company books. He extended its interests from manufacturing of telegraph equipment into insurance, hotels , real estate management, and other areas. Under Geneen's management, ITT became the archetypal modern multinational conglomerate.