Effective Management

27 January 2019

To follow this article, you will have to have a grasp of the concepts presented in several other articles that are on this website. This is because, just in the same way that one can never explain how a paperclip works without having a grasp of the concepts required to understand it, it is simply impossible to understand management without the right concepts. Management is something exclusive to human beings so we need to have some real concepts around the human being. Some small indicators and clues are contained in several of the articles on this website but Humanity versus Nature, The Lens Concept, and the Human Qualities articles contain key concepts required to follow the logic that is essential in order to bring Effective Management closer to home, making it easier to grasp in pure logic and simple clarity. I have, however, included some precis of these concepts in this article as well.

Humanity is to Nature as Light is to Darkness as an image is key to getting to grips with many issues in life including Effective Management. To explain this again briefly, darkness is ever present. When light appears, the darkness recedes. The darkness has no power over light but returns to fill the space wherever light is absent. The stronger the light, the further the darkness withdraws. This is just the same where humanity and nature meet. Where there is no humanity, there is only nature. As soon as our humanity – that part of us that is not just part of nature – comes to bear within nature, nature withdraws. A simple example would be where we build a dam wall or we keep a room clean. In both cases, nature has been altered in the direct vicinity of where we have brought our humanity to bear. Nature will return to dominate the dam wall and the clean room as soon as there is no more human care and attention given to these.

If we are manufacturing widgets, we are essentially doing something that nature on its own cannot and will not accomplish. Let’s add to this that we can produce great quality widgets and we can produce poor quality widgets. Great quality widgets, using the logic that I am developing with you, come from being able to dominate nature with our humanity just as a stronger light will result in darkness being pushed back further. For this to be real in any person, one needs to have a grasp of what our humanity is. For simplicity’s sake, and said knowing this, our humanity can at least be reasonably identified in what has been put forward as the Lens Openers. Our Animality is represented by our Lens Closers.

Lens Openers                                   Lens Closers

Courage                                             Fear

Clarity                                               Doubt

Love, compassion                                   Hate

Patience                                             Haste

Objectivity                                         Fantasy

Diligence                                            Laziness

Positivity                                            Negativity

Openness                                           Prejudice

Skill                                                   Limited skill

Experience                                         Reduced experience

Ownership of self                                Blame

Selflessness/self-objectification          Self-indulgence

With the above concepts of Humanity is to Nature as Light is to Darkness, and some clarity around what humanity could mean – qualities inaccessible to animals – we can now take a walk into two different widget manufacturing factories and see why the one works better than the other. In this example, both factories have exactly the same layout and plant, the same ingredients and the same access to capital.

Widget factory A has a manager who is in a hurry. He gives no space for pause, he sees things and responds impulsively. He tells his staff what to do and is very firm on them doing exactly what the instruction says that they must do whether it is in writing or verbally. He sees his staff as an extension of his equipment, and really as a more versatile piece of equipment that must be cost effective. If a machine can do it, rather get a machine as they don’t talk back and don’t vary their output. When things go wrong in the factory, he is quick to raise his voice, use discipline and bring fear and doubt into their lives. In return for this approach he gets from his staff politeness and obedience on the surface, but also less care, more self-preservation, lack of ownership of self, doubt, no consistency of clarity of concept, little understanding and so on. His staff fall over themselves in a way as nobody is ever really sure of where they are and how they can stay out of trouble. These qualities that are essentially being fed to the staff in Widget factory A are those of an Animal quality and therefore not light to the darkness. In essence, nature is returning to Widget factory A. It has little real humanity in it and therefore the equipment will begin to fail, the product quality will reduce, waste will increase and the efficiencies will be low and declining. The manager may wonder why this is the case despite his perceived image of himself of being infallible.

Widget factory B on the other hand has a manager that is a person who deeply knows that Humanity is required in his factory if it is not to fall into the grasp of darkness, or nature. It is only humanity that can keep a room tidy or a factory under the influence of light. He, therefore, greets each person from the point of view that they are his very source of success in his factory. He wants to see the lens openers alive and conscious in them. When he sees things going wrong, he immediately reverts to the basics of what will allow and encourage their humanity to flourish. He, therefore, helps them to slow down and simplify the problems that they are experiencing by reverting to the clear basic concepts of the problem while pointing out that, having reverted to these, the problem goes away. All his staff are aware of the lens concept and the lens qualities. He calls on their lens openers and shows them how when they engage these, the problems disappear and the product actually gets to mirror what lives in them. They slowly make this connection consciously themselves. The manager is committed to his staff having the right concepts for the machine, the recipe, waste and so on. He disallows his desire for fast, for fantastic, for people must be like machines. He commits himself inwardly to the profoundness of the image that Humanity is to Nature as Light is to Darkness. He can only push nature aside with the light that is possible for human beings to have within themselves. He also knows that some people are tainted and damaged beyond repair by his own human inadequacies in his factory and he has to replace these few. He knows that in order to be a success, he must not only understand the equipment and process very well, but he must be able to work with his humanity and that of his staff, they belong together. As a consequence of this approach the maintenance people understand the plant and can keep it to design, the operators know how to link the plant and the recipes to the operation of the plant and that it is only their human qualities that keep the product quality and efficiency to standard. Nature is kept at bay this way. It only returns when they panic.

Effective management is drawing out what we as human beings are more than animals and building the inner capacities of people to hold more of their humanity at the ‘surface’.

  1. Dear Vladimir, you write from a beautiful place. Please send your direct email address to info@davidwa.co.za. Kind regards, David.

  2. Do you think you should update (and possibly improve) this article by applying your “three ducks” advice to it?

    Or to be more specific, is being an effective manager good enough or one will still face the “sitting duck” problem sooner or later?


    • Dear Vladimir, it is great that you linked the two articles. Well done. I will attempt a sensible answer.

      The threefold has to find its origin in our thinking. We need to be able, in our thinking, to split the three concepts or areas. When we can do this, we will see where things are all mixed up with each other. we can then organise outer things differently based on sound concepts that we hold inwardly. Your question, if I get it correctly, is whether one has to have a separate person per sphere at all levels. My answer, based on my introduction would be No. One needs people at all levels to be able to think all and know where they are speaking from at any time so that they can share this with the other. This would overcome the need to have separate people. Having said this, at the top of our organisation we are in the process of separating out Three heads, yes, three thinkers that can hold a sphere each and champion their sphere in service of the whole. Their task will be to find out how to get their sphere strong within the organism/business but not extracting it onto another premises while doing this. They have to all tosee the need for each other while not allowing one to beweaker than the others. Does this assist Vladimir? Kind regards, David

      • Dear David, thank you for your answer.

        Yes, you have understood my question correctly and your answer makes perfect sense.

        If one develops his/her full potential, (s)he will be able to handle all three spheres.

        However, even though God is almighty, He still decided to create us, to share His knowledge, power and love with us and to make us His partners 🙂

        So even though some person can manage all three spheres, deciding to split the responsibilities with others is an act of brotherhood, sharing and love. They will all learn more from the process and become better people. But the biggest benefit is acquiring priceless knowledge and experience which can be shared with other individuals and organizations to help them follow the same path.

        As for the concept itself (Rudolf Steiner’s three fold society), it also makes perfect sense to me.

        I hope I found your website for a reason and I’m looking forward to explore the possibilities for bringing our two worlds together as another social experiment for the common good.

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