Friday, June 06, 2008

Friend of Simplicity - Mike Gardner

My 'Friend of Simplicity' interview today is with Mike Gardner who lives in Shepherd, Michigan in the US.

Mike and I have been exchanging e-mails and comments on various Blogs for over three years now and I always love my exchanges with him. Mike doesn’t always agree with me and often corrects (as he sees it) the error of my ways. The great thing about Mike is he always does it in a nice way.

Mike and I have promised each other that the next time Mike and his wife Keiko are in England or the first time Annie and I get to the States we will all meet up for a beer and/or a Red Wine! - I look forward to that.


TREVOR: Hi Mike – can you tell me a bit about your career history?

MIKE: I sort of “fell” into manufacturing about nineteen years ago. I attended university for several years until I ran out of money then got work in a restaurant. I ended up managing the kitchen for several years, which was a valuable lesson in how NOT to be an effective leader. The company I currently work for is Japanese and they opened their first North American facility in the late nineteen eighties. I heard they were hiring in 1989 and decided that anything had to be better than the restaurant business, so I applied. I started working on the assembly line and was promoted to Team Leader in 1993. Since then I have worked as a Supervisor, and as a Manager in different roles. I am currently responsible for education, development, and training in lean manufacturing systems—emphasizing Total Productive Maintenance—in our seven North American facilities. This has been a rewarding career and I will always be grateful to those who gave me so many opportunities to develop as a leader. We manufacture automotive electrical motors such as wipers, power window motors, cooling fan systems, and starters. Many of our processes are highly automated so if we do not have reliable equipment we can not meet our customers’ expectations. We try to run a “lean” production system, which means we do not carry excess inventories of either raw material or finished product. Everything must flow. Our focus is to constantly see where the flow stops and correct the root cause of the problem. I have had the chance to study the theories of lean manufacturing and implement much of it in our various facilities over the years. I am a perpetual student and am always learning about several different things at once.

TREVOR: I know you and your wife Keiko visited London a couple of years ago. What were your impressions of London in particular and England in general and when is your next visit and, most importantly, did you like our Beer?

MIKE: Keiko and I were only in England for four days, so we did not get a chance to see much of it. We attended the wedding of some friends in Epping. Epping was a wonderful town and very accommodating to tourists. Keiko and I both play competitive-level darts and one of her dreams was to play darts in a real English pub, which we had the chance to do in Epping. London was great, but hideously expensive. We bought food at Harrod’s and had a nice picnic lunch in Hyde Park near the Guards’ barracks. We are planning a return trip in the next few years.

I have always loved English beer. In the past, I had to travel to a larger community to find an import store that stocked it, but now I can buy it at the local liquor store near my home. I have always been a fan of Newcastle, Bass, John Courage, Old Speckled Hen, Tadcaster, and many other brews. I used to make my own beer and I based many of my recipes on traditional English pub ale.

TREVOR: You and I have been known to disagree occasionally about management, leadership and customer care. Here is your chance to put me right. What do you see as the big challenges for managers in 2008? – I promise I won’t interrupt! Your focus on the front line employees is the key,

MIKE: A manager in the future must be of the empowerment school to succeed. The old “boss management” style of leadership simply will not work with the tech-savvy, free agent nation folks of the 21st century. I am firmly convinced that empowering all employees to do more, become more, and develop meaningful careers is the key to success. In automotive manufacturing we often look to Toyota as a model for success. One of the two key pillars of the Toyota Production System is Respect for People. Toyota defines respect as giving people meaningful work and engaging them in continuous improvement of their job. That does not require a Japanese culture to implement. It only requires leaders committed to engaging all employees in achieving the vision, building a teamwork culture, and listening more than speaking.

TREVOR: I love the way you challenge Tom Peters on his Blog sometimes. You definitely call a spade a spade as we say in England. What is your opinion of Tom Peters’ contribution to management and business in the last 30 years?

MIKE: Dr. Peters has made a significant contribution to management through his writings. There was a time about twelve years ago when I was having a lot of difficulty understanding what my career was supposed to be about and where I was headed. I discovered Tom Peters’ work at that point and I was heartened and reassured by what I read. I learned that not only was it OK for me to be who I was and to chart my own course, it was essential for my success. I don’t visit his blog much any more because I think the Tom Peters brand has moved away from that philosophy and toward the glorification of Tom Peters. I think he has become a little too full of himself and rather dogmatic in his views.

TREVOR: What is your vision for the future of the auto industry in the US?

MIKE: The US automotive industry will be smaller, leaner, and more efficient in the future. It will include GM, Ford, and Chrysler, but in different roles than they have enjoyed in the past. The “Big Three” have lost their leadership due to poor vision, poor leadership, and poor focus over the last two decades. It is a very rough time for them and for their supply base. There will be many hard times coming in the next few years until the new versions become stable. Even the Japanese powerhouse automotive companies in the US, such as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, are going to have to adapt to changes very quickly. There is always a new competitor to watch out for. The Korean manufacturers are making a significant “splash” in the US market right now, and even the Japanese are looking over their shoulders at the impact of the Chinese producers.

TREVOR: What would be your advice to a young up and coming manager just setting out on their management career in the auto industry on 2008?

MIKE: Don’t. Not unless you really want to be in a rough environment. If you do, be a change agent. Really live Winston Churchill’s paradoxical statement that “to improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often.” Empower your people, engage them in continuous improvement, and make change happen. It can be very frustrating, but also very rewarding.

TREVOR: Finally Mike – Why do you folks in the US believe you have the right to call the game played by fully grown men all wrapped up in padding ‘football.?’ You know deep down real ‘football’ is played by real men without padding and it originated here in England. We invented the game you decided to call ‘soccer.’

MIKE: I expect it to be a priority for the new incoming President to change the belief you folks have in the US of what ‘football’ really is! Considering the current crop of presidential candidates, I don’t think they will be changing anyone’s beliefs about anything. I am seriously considering voting “third party” again for the first time in many years. The reason American football is superior to “soccer” is that they actually score points during regulation play. American football is truly an outgrowth of our culture. Our ancestors were kicked out of every civilized country in Europe because they were unruly, loud, violent, and super-competitive. After we stopped shooting at each other all the time we needed a controlled outlet for our passions. Football became America’s game. Soccer is trying to gain a foothold in the US and is becoming more popular with time. There is a very large youth soccer movement here now, which there never was when I was a child. This will increase the popularity of the sport as those children grow up. At the same time, American football is gaining a following in Europe through the minor-league system of the EFL. I think that both of those are good signs for the future. I think we should both recognize the Aussies, though. They play American-style football without padding. That’s tough!

33 comments:

rocky said...

Nice interview. I hear a lot of Deming in Mikes responses. I suppose that is from the heavy influence he had on the Japanese business models. I am a big fan of Deming. I think Mikes take on the old boss management style is right on. The market is incrresingly calling for a new kind of leader. The lead management style. The American Auto industry is really going through some changes and this change seems to be leading to a whole new revolution in that industry. very nice interview and it is good to hear from you Mike.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Rocky - I wonder what the late Dr Deming would make of our current world of leadership in the business world?

davw said...

Great interview...I have read a couple of books on the Toyota lean manufacturing process and it parallels a great deal of the early Total Quality Management model. Deming and Joseph Juran were the "godfathers" for lack of a better word of TQM. I like Mike's take on the challenges facing leadership in the future...regardless of your industry enabling and involving the frontline foks can be a tremendous performance and productivity multiplier...

David Wike said...

Hi Mike,

Good to meet up again with a fellow member of the Trevor correction and anti-fawning club! Interesting comments about the Tom Peters blog (there is a fair bit of fawning there as well!). When I was involved with the corporate world I avoided any publicity or self-promotion. However, when you become self-employed you soon realise that it is a necessary evil – in effect you have to become your own marketing and PR department. That is why a modest man like Trevor puts out press releases when his work gets a mention in the media. Maybe TP is just rather better at it than the rest of us or perhaps he’s starting to believe his own publicity.

I like the comment about learning how not to be an effective leader. Sometimes the most valuable lessons are in how not to do things. And working in the UK car industry certainly provided plenty of opportunity for learning! I imagine that the US (not so big any more) Big Three is also a rich learning ground. I would be less confident than you that they will all be there in the future. Folks in the US may think it unthinkable that one or more might disappear, but the unthinkable happened in the UK.

“Our ancestors were kicked out of every civilized country in Europe because they were unruly, loud, violent ...” Are you sure that you aren’t talking about Australia? I believe that the new prime minister of Oz admits that his forebears had their journeys paid for by the king of England at the time. I thought the US was populated by the persecuted and downtrodden of Europe.

Like John, when you next visit the UK you should include a trip to Anfield. Then you will understand real football and passionate supporters like you will never have experienced. And just to humour Trevor, I suppose you should drive the 30 miles to Old Trafford to see the North West’s second team!

Trevor Gay said...

David Number 1– as you know I am with you 100% on giving more power to the front line folk. The only way that can be done is for first line supervisors and managers to let go of their own ‘power.’ The best leaders know that the best way to gain power is to let go of power. That is still a challenge for many people because we all have bills to pay and we all worry about losing our job – it is important that I acknowledge that. Before I became self employed almost four years ago my experience of many years in healthcare management was always that if I got other people to do ‘bits’ of my job they often did it much better. That left me time to develop the aspects of my work that I loved and hence prove to my bosses I am worth of keeping! – It worked for me.

David Number 2
I am not sure the criticism of Tom Peters is really fair guys. I must speak as I find. I had the great pleasure of meeting Tom briefly on a 1-2-1 basis two years ago in London. I found him to be charming, quiet spoken, unassuming, humble and very friendly. As with many celebrities I suspect, the ‘public’ image doesn’t match the real person. And by the way Tom’s kindness also extended to providing my ticket for his day long seminar free of charge. The cost to delegates was in the region of £600 ($1200) if my memory serves me correctly.
By the way I’m sure Mike will want to visit Old Trafford (Home of my beloved Manchester United) – in fact it will be compulsory!

Brian G said...

Not sure if my earlier comment came through so here I am again. Great interview and discussion guys, especially the depth of thinking in terms of the 'how' and 'why' of new management and leadership. I agree with you completely, Mike.On Tom P, my earlier comments were fuller but suffice to say I hold Tom P - in his own way - up there with Deming, Drucker, Maslow, Covey, Collins and a whole host of others and ahead of some (Porter, Senge et al) for his early lead on the stuff we seem to believe in. TP was willing to rattle cages and slay the monsters of inefficiency and ineffectiveness while others were writing about it>I agree he's now something of a 'guru' and high-priced 'personality' but, for me, good on him. I've moved on from Tom but credit him with a lot of my own breakthrough thinking and recommend him (along with Collins, Covey and the 'lean' thinking and management approach) wherever I can.Loved this chance to connect.RegardsBrian G, Australia

Mark JF said...

Great words from Mike. I don't think there's any coincidence in the fact that people with the well-rounded, common sense insights are so often those who've tended bar or tables, worked on the shop floor and have a good appreciation of how work is really done.

BTW: I'd only take issue with the comment, "After we stopped shooting at each other all the time..." So when did that happen because I'm not sure you have stopped?!?!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks a lot Brian G and MarkJF for visiting Simplicity Blog - appreciated - hope you are both well.

Brian - I feel the same mate - Tom Peters has taught me a lot and still makes me think and that has to be a good thing.

Mark - I agree about the need to be grounded. I worked as a barman and in pub cellars for 15 years in addition to my full time job in healthcare. For many years I worked on the shop floor in healthcare. People like you, Mike Gardner and Dave Wheeler are brilliant at reminding the world that the ‘University of Hard Work’ is where the greatest learning takes place - the ‘action’ is on the front line. My late beloved Dad worked for over 30 years in a diesel engine factory in Peterborough - initially on the production line and latterly as a supervisor. He taught me the expression 'among the blood, muck and bullets' – I’ve never forgotten it.

Mike Gardner said...

Time for a bit of clarification. It appears Trevor's editor was napping because the comment about expecting the new president of the US to do something about soccer was his, not mine!

As far as Tom Peters goes, I'm afraid I have always been the type of person who looks immediately for the feet of clay. I was the same way at university (and I did eventually graduate with a BS in history), which exasperated my professors no end when I questioned their pet theories or their favorite historians. I think that goes with being a servant leader and someone who believes in empowerment. Everyone is just as qualified as an "expert." Tom Peters has done some great work, but his weblog has become a Tom Peters Admiration Society so I don't visit much any more.

Mark JF said...

I think the problem with something like the Tom peters blog (and that will hit this site soon) is that it falls prey to the trap of attracting like minded people. All the while the message is relatively new and fresh, there can be dissent and debate. But after a while, most of the nay sayers gravitate to a site they're more in tune with and all that's left are the people who agree, plus a few occasional tourists.

As well as becoming increasingly self-referential and incestuous, what wazzes me off about tp.com is the amount of congratulatory, "way to go," back-slapping platitudes that get bandied around. That said, it's still very good - just not essential any more.

It's the very issue people like Tom bang on about: how to keep it fresh and "re-invent" it regularly.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks again Mark – I agree about the unnecessary back slapping on Tom Peters Blog. I find myself disagreeing quite a lot with people there.

I assure you that people like Mike Gardner, Dave Wike and you make sure I never sit back in self congratulatory mode. People who comment on this Blog often disagree with me and I welcome the challenge.

From disagreement comes compromise and even sometimes agreement! It is the nature of communication. I read recently a lovely quote. ‘If two people in business agree one is unnecessary.’

What I would not like is personal criticism on this Blog (or any other for that matter) and I hope in the hundreds possibly thousands of comments I’ve made over the last four years on this Blog and Tom Peters Blog that I have always been well mannered, civl and professional.

Not everyone who visits Simplicity Blog is like minded with me Mark … On reflection I frankly wouldn't really want to spend all my time replying to comments on the Blog from people who disagreed with me – life is too short to spend it arguing. I like the mixture of pros and cons I have at present and I hope I can keep the balance right. The civility and good manners of the site owner and the same qualities from people who comment should make any Blog a good experience for both.

David Wike said...

In the past I have ‘complained’ to Trevor that he changes topics too frequently and doesn’t allow time for a proper discussion to develop. When Trevor said he was going to feature interviews in the blog I was a bit doubtful that they’d work, but I think that I was wrong. With the interview staying in place for a few days it allows the conversations to get going. The fact that they wander off topic doesn’t matter; in fact it becomes more like a real conversation.

As Mark says, there is a risk that the Simplicity blog will go stale. The best way to overcome this is to try to recruit new members, especially if they have a different perspective – maybe even some of Tom P’s weirdoes. Just like in a business, life is much more comfortable without challenge from people with different ideas, but it is also the short route to obscurity.

Many years back I was expressing regret that some sports star or other had a flawed personality. My then boss said that most geniuses were flawed and that one should see what they excelled at, and not dwell on their failings. The problem is that we like our heroes to be perfect, whether they be Tom Peters or Cristiano Ronaldo. Not sure I dare venture it here, but even Sir Alex Ferguson seems flawed to me. If Sir Alex were to be a hospital manager I am sure that Mr Gay would bemoan many of his attributes … on the other hand, if he could run the NHS as successfully as Manchester United … !

I think that Trevor may be right (well, he is occasionally) that often these ‘big’ personalities are different when they are off stage. And don’t forget that making a speech is as much about being on stage as it is for an actor or an opera singer (or even a rock star like another blog member!).

So come on guys and gals, if you are part of Trevor’s silent majority, whether you are a fawner, a weirdo, a curmudgeon or even relatively normal, come into Trevor’s bar, help yourself to a drink and join the conversation. But as Trevor says, it is possible to have a lively debate and to respect alternative views, although it sounds like the bar’s owner will get a little fed up if there are too many opposing points expressed! Perhaps we’ll get thrown out into the street for being drunk and disorderly!

Trevor Gay said...

EVERYONE is welcome in my virtual pub!

David - the only reason I will EVER get fed up with my Blog is if there is ONLY disagreement. I am not stupid enough to beat my head against a brick wall with no positive feedback. If all I get is opposition it will be telling me something and that will be the time to walk away because I will have badly misjudged my readership.

I am not one to walk away from challenges without one helluva battle …so I will continue to welcome disagreement as long as I receive encouragement as well.

It is when the balance is out of sync that the trouble starts in my pub – and you will never be thrown out of my pub by the way …. Especially if you buy the landlord the odd pint now and again …

Brian G said...

Interesting discussion re Blog sites. I find most blogs self-serving so rarely visit them. But I am interested in learning from others' views on important issues -such as revealed in Trevor's interview with Mike and just about anything put out by Rocky Noe in the US, Brian Ward in Canada and others I've met via Trevor's networks.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks for that vote of confidence Brian G - the money is in the brown paper package by the burger bar in Sydney Railway Station as usual :-).... cheers mate as always!

BTW ... did you see we wupped New Zealand? :-)

Jim Baker said...

Trevor....

I will jump in here. Since Mike is from Michigan only a little ways from where I grew up and in the auto industry.

Mike's comment:
The “Big Three” have lost their leadership due to poor vision, poor leadership, and poor focus over the last two decades.
is good assessment of the auto industry in Michigan and in business in general. What I see is that this separates the best from the average. No business or organization has an inordinate right to survive unless it has a clear vision for it's products, people and customers.

With respect to blogs and I suppose we all connect to Tom Peters. I value what everyone puts out...especially with Tom's willingness to share his material and his thinking. I don't believe he has chaged that much over the years. There are a few other folks that I follow and I try to get us much as I can from all of them.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Jim - I have to say that the issues Tom Peters was writing about when I first read ‘In Search of Excellence’ in the early 1980's are similar to the stuff he writes and talks about in 2008. I guess he now uses modern methods to broadcast his views and some may see that as arrogance or conceit.

I think Tom is basically giving us the same information 25 years later just packaged in different ways.

I have met the man – albeit briefly - and found him to be utterly charming and very humble.

Dave Wheeler said...

Being a new comer to the blog thing, I find this discussion interesting indeed.

It seems to me the blog is now a compulsory item in every author's/consultant's/speaker's marketing strategy. So by nature, isn't that about self promotion? I hope that TP sees some "value" or return on his investment for providing the forum we have to talk and learn. I have learned a great deal and enjoy the discussion...

The tone and tenor of the discussion is set by the participants...not necessarily the host. Folks have differing views and express those areas of disagreement. It seems however that many chose to not "engage" in the discussion of differences or respond when their point of view is challenged. There are some I will respond to and others I now just ignore because they want to lecture or "focus group" not exchange and discuss. I like and respect the comments here who say they no longer visit the site...the if you don't like the content then change the channel approach. Does agreement = fawning? Does disagreement = pelotas grande? Depends...on your point of view!

Being a trainer and manager in a customer service call center. I tell teammates and students alike being married for 31 years has positioned me to not be affected by the labels and anger of our escalated customers. There is a better than excellent chance I have spoken to an angry person who has called me a few of those things...and many more... before I left the house to come to work. If I wanted to argue, I would switch off the computer and go out to the living room...that's where the action would be!

Richard Lipscombe said...

Three points to make....

1) future managers at the global level will be more command and control than ever before... they will be experts not generalists,... they will micro-manage... they will be paid in $US 100 millions not just millions.. why? it is about to become a 'machine-to-machine economy' where few people are needed....

2) Tom Peters is a showman not a management guru... he is more a rock star than a teacher.. he is stuck in C20th world of large people-based businesses... he chooses to ignore, what he understands all too well, the flat world of the internet... he continues this nonsense about Brand You and thus the power of individuals... then he contradicts that message by claiming women, who he seems to see as more consensus style managers, should rule the world... go figure... but it is all good fun... tompeters! is like going out for a good Chinese meal - it is great fun to have all those courses but you will need a good hearty feed when you get home!

3) this Simplicity blog is failing to do justice to my passion for football. there is a lot of talk about Soccer but none about football.. I mean what about the great game of Aussie Rules... the Simplicity of my life is that Carlton are the greatest club (founded in 1864) equal most premierships with Essendon - both have 16 Cups... My team Carlton has been in the dog house since they won the Cup in 1995... But the good news is they are back winning games with a sensational young list of talent (they are the youngest team in the competition).. now you can talk about Deming - quality circles et al - you can praise the likes of Toyota but out here in the real world it is Carlton - the mighty blues... wink nudge say no more! that is all there is on God's earth to really talk about...

Mark JF said...

Richard - if you want to talk about football then for Pete's sake talk about proper football, ie Rugby Union football!! Not a) soccer played by inarticulate pansies; b) gridiron played by oversize, over-padded behemoths; or c) Aussie Rules played by the uncivilized descendants of our convict exports.

Good to see Bath win the European Challenge Shield: we need to win the Championship next year and not just get to the play-off's. And England are on a re-building mission. I've reservations about Coach Johnson (no experience) but hopes too (attitude, momentum) so the current tour of the old southern colonies may not go so well, but you wait for the next World Cup!

Trevor Gay said...

Dave –I like your take on agreement/fawning disagreement/pelotas.

Lime you I tend to pick and choose with whom I want to have discussion on a Blog. There are times on TP Blog when the level of the discussion is way beyond someone like me.... just a good ol' farmer’s boy from England. I avoid those discussions because they leave me cold and I am not bright enough to contribute to academic discussion – even though I have the right academic boxes ticked on my resume/CV

Richard and Mark – great discussion about your two minority forms of football :-) ... Just jokin guys ...

Richard Lipscombe said...

Mark...Rugby now that is a love of my life too... It is the best game of all to play - you are involved in the action all the time... It has become so much better as a spectator sport too since they changed the rules and sped up the game... But there is too much importance placed on penalty kicks - not sure what to do about it though. When a game has no tries it is as boring as a scoreless draw (too often the result) in Soccer.... Aussie Rules is a great spectacle except when it is muddy then it is a mess... The skills of modern players in all forms of football are truly incredible - the improvement in skills is the biggest change I have seen in all these games and they bring us all such joy just to see them performed... I loved playing team sports more than individual sports because when you win it is a shared emotion...

Trevor ... I agree you are not an academic....

Trevor Gay said...

'Trevor ... I agree you are not an academic....'

Brilliant - thanks for the compliment Richard - much appreciated. I'm happy just 'doing stuff' and leaving the much smarter academically minded to argue the theory :-)

John O'Leary said...

Good interview, good thread!

Trevor, congratulations on your blog being selected as one of the "Top 100 Management and Leadership Blogs" by Hr World. http://www.hrworld.com/features/top-100-management-blogs-061008/

dave wheeler said...

Trevor...Your taking the "you are not an academic as a compliment reminded me of a favorite Dwight D. Eisenhower quote...

"An intellectual is a man who takes more words than necessary to tell more than he knows."

It would appear that Ike was an advocate of Simplicity as well...

Trevor Gay said...

John - many thanks for that my friend. Good to know Simplicity is recognised and thought of highly enough to get into that league table under the heading 'Creativity and Inspiration' - that pleases me. And also they mention front liners as part of that - Amen says me, Dave Wheeler and I'm sure you John. The three of us feel the same methinks about front liners being given not only the work to do but also the credit for the value they add and are often not credited with.

Dave - I just love that Dwight D. Eisenhower quote ... Do you think maybe Dwight knew my late beloved Dad? :-)

I did my MA Management (Healthcare) 1996-98 from Plymouth University so I NEVER under-value academic qualifications or the people who get them. From personal experience I KNOW how hard that three years of my life was. I was holding down a (more than) full time management position in healthcare and trying at the same time to be a good parent and husband whilst struggling through this brilliant course of studies for my Masters.

The joy when I knew my 20,000 word Dissertation was acceptable at the end of three years research still gives me a warm inner glow.

So in summary … I don’t make a habit of knocking academics but even more important … I will never knock common sense, simplicity, kindness, good manners and integrity gained at the front line and in the University of Hard Work.

spinhead said...

Mike, I'll admit to a near total ignorance of the auto industry (which, for an adult male in this country is probably illegal) but your perspective on the hard work ahead for those who choose to be part of it really resonates with me. Some of the comments could apply to most any industry, but auto makers are big and obvious, so it will be educational to see who does what, and what works or doesn't. I hope you'll share what you know so the rest of us can translate it to whatever we're pretending to do.

Regarding the apparent discussion of some sporting something-or-other, I'll pit my archery team against any group of footballers (any style) you've got.

And, for the next half hour, drinks are on me.

David Wike said...

Sadly sleep prevented me from being in the bar to take advantage of Joel’s kind offer – maybe next time! I love the Ike quote. I have worked with one or two people who have been so clever that I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Pity you didn’t do a PhD Trevor, then you could have confused the hell out of people in the health service by using the Dr. title!

I am puzzled by the farmer’s boy reference – I don’t recall that being on the list of past occupations Trevor. I suppose that some of your dad’s diesel engines ended up in tractors so maybe that supports the claim.

I was interested in Richard’s comment that future managers at the global level will be more command and control than ever before ... they will be paid in $US 100 millions not just millions… it is about to become a 'machine-to-machine economy' where few people are needed.

That is a process that has been going on for a long time as machinery has gradually replaced people. The Internet and increasingly sophisticated IT systems just allows the process to be speeded up and to operate across the globe. Hopefully Richard’s micro-managers being paid hundreds of millions will pay taxes at an appropriate rate to fund nations’ infrastructures, hence allowing the rest of us to spend our time blogging and watching our favourite sport; although I’m not sure that footballers of whatever ilk will be that keen to take on Joel’s archers … or even Mike and his wife armed with their darts!

And of course, the super managers will need supervising. The supervisory board members will need advisors. The advisors will need analysts. The analysts will need researchers. The researchers will need support functions. And so on. In fact, if we are not careful, we will all find that we are so busy that we won’t have time for blogging and football.

Don’t believe me? The UK has 3,000 business support schemes run by 2,000 organisations at a cost (to the taxpayer) of £2.5 billion! And two thirds of that is spent on admin, yes that’s £1.67 billion!

We spend £60,000 (US $120k) on each homeless person. Just think about it. How much would it cost you to live at a basic level? What do you think the rest is spent on? Bureaucracy and job creation is alive and well!

Richard Lipscombe said...

David... There will be more jobs than ever before within the local economy... It will be a person-to-person economy where there are plenty of front liners... They will be paid relatively poorly - think hospitality pay rates... You are correct this is merely a continuation of a trend we have seen developing in C20th (this time it is the digital C21st version of automation and self-service regimes)... One thing seems clear the global networked economy will not be like the multi-national economy, or even its globalised counterpart, of last century... Those on huge payments (ie via bonuses etc) will most likely avoid 'high tax regimes' because they can be domicile in any Nation-State they choose for taxation purposes... They will be paid these huge sums because they are being held accountable for huge revenue flows (passive income ventures like Google) and sometimes huge capital ventures (mining)...

Mike Gardner said...

Sport, like drink, is something many hold strong and passionate opinions about, but can not be understood unless experienced. To my mind, the sight of Peyton Manning cooly delivering a perfectly executed 45 yard spiral to a barely-open receiver for a touchdown while knowing full well that he is about to be pancaked into the turf by a 325 pound defensive back is one of the ultimate expressions of excellence in sport. It is akin to the oak-and-vanilla taste on the tip of the tongue from a good small-batch bourbon like Elijah Craig 18 Year Old or Booker's--even like the way the tannins of a dry cabernet hit the sides of the tongue. Excellence is excellence and to see it or participate in it is why we all work so hard to do what we do and why we are so passionate about those things we love.

Trevor should be ringing "time!" soon on this post, so last orders, please gentlemen.

Trevor Gay said...

You are absolutely right Mike - I am about to call 'time gentlemen please' but of course in my pub 'after hours commenting' is allowed :-)

This has been a great thread.

DaughertyKid said...

Great discussion Mike,
We, here in Mid-Michigan are sure going to miss your insight. I worked with Mike a while ago and found he was one of the few managers with vision.
Two things I'll add. A company mission statement that professes to value employees is a pretty clear indicator that they don't.
And, Never forget the balance between work as family as a driving influence. You see a stressed out Manager making bad decisions and driving good associates away, check her/his home life first. Balance is key

Trevor Gay said...

DaughertyKid - Thanks for your comments - Though I have not yet met Mike I like him a lot - we don't always agree but I have great respect for him and his experience, knowledge and skills. Your testimony confirms what I have always believed about Mike.

Mike and I have promised each other that one day we will share a good English beer!