I have come up with a new management theory that will revolutionize the workplace, transform management-staff relations, save billions of dollars, and turn the economy around. I call my theory Total Reality Management (TRM). The entire thing is based on four basic rules for managers, three do’s and one don’t, with accompanying exercises. Here are the rules:
- Know who you are. Let’s say you’re Joe Shaplosky, manager of a medium-sized government department. Every morning before you leave for work, sit in a comfortable chair and look at yourself in a hand mirror. Say to yourself “I am Joe Shaplosky, manager of a medium-sized government Department. I am not Steve Jobs. I will never be Steve Jobs. It is perfectly all right for me to be Joe Shaplosky.” For at least 30 minutes, sit in the chair and feel the experience of being you. Begin each day with this meditation.
- Know what you do. At night, just before you go to sleep, sit in a comfortable chair and think about what you do. Close your eyes and say to yourself, “I manage a medium-sized government department. I am not the CEO of Imperial Oil. My job is managing a medium-sized government department. There are many other things in my life besides my job. My job is important, but it isn’t even close to being the centre of the universe.” Meditate in this way for at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
- Use simple words. About midday, take a 15 to 30 minute break when you can be alone and undisturbed. Close the door of your office. Lay out several simple objects on your desk such as an apple, a pencil, a book, etc. Pick up the apple and say, “Apple. This is an apple. That is what people call this. There is no reason to call it anything else. It is an edible vegetable product, but we call it simply an apple.” Put the apple down and repeat the exercise with each of the other objects. Try to think of an alternative multi-word name for each of the objects and laugh quietly to yourself. Then repeat the conventional name of the object.
- Never read management literature of any kind, watch management videos, or attend seminars or workshops on management. At least once a week, stand outside a bookstore and repeat silently to yourself, “Knowing who I am, what I do, and using simple words is all I will ever need to be an effective manager.” This is your mantra. Repeat it until you have internalized its truth. Then walk into the bookstore and browse, carefully avoiding the business and management section. Buy a novel and leave.
If all mangers are trained in TRM, the benefits will be incalculable. Elaborate strategic plans and needless restructuring schemes will be a thing of the past. Untold hours will no longer be spent in meetings and seminars or trying to decipher administrative memos. As a result, production will increase astronomically. On-the-job stress will be reduced as suppressed loathing of managers gradually dissipates. Everybody will be astonished at how costly management was before TRM
Rule 4 will have to be revised slightly because I plan to produce a video and a manual on TRM principles and found an institute to train TRM facilitators for workshops and seminars.
TRM can be adapted for academics and academic administrators with special emphasis on Rule 3.