Learning from Management Masters Over the Millennia

by Hank Boerner

One of my treasured media/publishing colleagues is Morgen Witzel, who is among the most prolific of business writers.  He’s been editor of the Thomson Reuters journal, Corporate Finance Review, for about 15 years. (For the past dozen years at his invitation when Enron was collapsing I have been the corporate governance and corporate sustainability contributing editor so he is my editor as well.)

Morgen writes solid business books that I find very helpful. We share an interest in business history and historical and influential figures in business affairs (like the late Peter Drucker).  Recently, Morgen authored a book about Tata, the multinational industrial giant of India.  Now he has a new book out — Management for the Masters, “from Confucius to Warren Buffett, 20 timeless principles for management.”

I asked Morgen what his thoughts were as he was researching and writing his latest work…what were the timeless insights and long-lived wisdom that he learned and that I could share you with, dear reader.

* * * * * * * *

His response:

“Management from the Masters is a distillation of timeless principles that govern business today. These principles are gleaned from the ‘masters’, those wise individuals whose ideas remain as relevant today as ever – and will continue to be relevant through all our tomorrows.

“Some of the masters are respected business gurus. W. Edwards Deming, the master of quality, knew that quality is not just a bolt-on, it is one of the fundamental purposes of business. Peter Drucker, who defined ‘management’ more closely than anyone before or sense, reminds us that without customers, no business can survive. Andrew Grove’s rule, that ‘only the paranoid survive’, stands as a salutary reminder against overconfidence. Henri Fayol’s insistence that management is about coordination of the parts to achieve a greater end remains at the heart of purposive management, and Joseph Juran’s 80-20 rule, or ‘Pareto’s Law’ which shows how 80 per cent of value is created by 20 per cent of people is proven right over and over again.

“Some come from broader spheres. The physicists who developed the concept of ‘time’s arrow’ and the law of entropy tell us that the status quo is impossible to maintain, that everything changes, while Charles Darwin and his colleagues remind us that in business as in life, those who survive are those most capable of evolution. Confucius’s golden rule, that we should treat others as we wish to be treated ourselves, reminds us of why justice and fairness are so important in business, and the ancient Indian sage Kautilya shows us how management is in fact a duty, not just a set of tasks to be performed.

“Ancient and modern, Eastern and Western, these are the people whose thinking still counts. They are the true gurus, the one’s whose teachings will never fade away. We can learn from them. Indeed, if we are to survive, we must learn from them.: (end)

* * * * * * * *

I recommend you look into Management for the Masters – more information is here:  http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/management-from-the-masters-9781472904768/

Media of Management from the Masters

And if you would like to communicate with Morgen his email is: morgen@carucate.co.uk

More about him and his work can be found on his web platforms:

web:  www.morgenwitzel.com – blog – www.morgenwitzel.com/blog – Twitter – @MorgenWitzel