Bite-sized wisdom from management expert David McNally:

  • Lead by example – practice what you preach
  • Have a clear mission and reinforce it regularly
  • Have an inspiring vision and publicise it constantly
  • Clarify and help employees understand the purpose of their jobs
  • Acknowledge the value employees bring to the business
  • Recognise good performance early and often
  • Encourage shared decision making
  • Reward contributors not the politicians
  • Communicate candidly so people know where they stand
  • Be open about business so employees feel like partners
  • Listen – be attuned – to problems – business and personal
  • Have the courage to say no, but don’t be afraid to say yes
  • Empower people – give them the authority to make decisions and hold them accountable for results
  • Envision and advise employees of new skills that will be needed
  • Provide state of the art training
  • Listen to employees about what they feel they need to learn
  • Avoid micromanagement
  • Provide the space for creativity and innovation
  • Identify strengths of employees and develop them
  • Match people to jobs that utilise their gifts and talents
  • Help all employees develop career paths – visions for their futures
  • Get people excited about their potential – be flexible with teaching methods; different strokes/folks
  • Create opportunities to win often
  • Celebrate victories early and publicly

Source: David McNally, 1998, The Eagle’s Secret, New York: Dell Publishing, p.53, 75, 103, 141

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if we don’t worry about who gets the credit.”

Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), 33rd President of USA

“Managing only for profit is like playing tennis with your eyes on the scoreboard and not on the ball.”


Bite-sized tips from Robert Townsend:

  • Memos/Emails – Always make sure that recipients are listed in alphabetical order so as to stop personal insecurities or pride as names move either higher or lower up subsequent lists.
  • Complaints – should be passed through to the chairman of the executive committee or one of their staff rather than customer service or complaints departments. If a disgruntled customer thinks they are talking to a big-wig the fire goes out that much quicker.
  • Conference table should be round not rectangular, so that junior staff, often with the brightest ideas, don’t sit at the foot while big-wigs sit near the head.

Robert Townsend, 1970, Up The Organisation, New York: Alfred Knopf Publishing, p.21, 32, 44

The art of good management is to simply do yourself out of a job. In other words, delegate.

“Efficiency is doing the job right. Effectiveness is doing the right job right.”

Patrick Morley, author

The best way to knock a chip off someone’s shoulder is to give them a pat them on the back.

Be a good-finder not a fault-finder!

Sage advice to managers: “The optimum length of time for a holiday is just long enough to be missed but not quite long enough for others to discover how well they coped without you.” – Anon.

Seagull Management: “Seagull managers fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everybody and then fly out again!”

Ken Blanchard

Mushroom Management: Keep people in the dark; cover them with manure; leave them to stew for a while and then can them!

One man described success in the workplace today as, ‘licking the boots of those above you while stepping on the fingers of those below you.’

‘The Indispensable Man’

Sometime, when you’re feeling important,
Sometime, when your ego’s in bloom,
Sometime, when you take it for granted,
You’re the best-informed man in the room.

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that remains there,
Is the measure of how you’ll be missed.

You may splash all you please as you enter,
You may stir up the waters galore,
But stop and you’ll see in a moment,
That it looks just the same as before.

The moral of this little story,
Is do just the best you can,
‘Cause you’ll find that in spite of vain glory,
There is no indispensable man.


When you hire people who are smarter than you are, you prove that you are smarter than they are.

You can teach a person knowledge and you can teach a person skills but you can’t teach natural talent. Look for natural talent.

“Surround yourself with people who are better than you are, or else you are as good as it gets!”

Rob Parsons, author and speaker

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of intelligence.

“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

Margaret Thatcher (British prime minister 1979-1990)

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

Stephen Covey

“People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them that Winston Churchill said it first.”


“It isn’t the people you fire who make your life miserable it’s the people you don’t fire.”

Harvey Mackay

Get rid of the hangers-on bunch; the dead wood. For a fruit tree to increase its yield it must be continually pruned; it’s the same in businesses. Leadership often involves having the courage to make decisions that are not always popular, but they are necessary. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “A small leak will sink a great ship.”

Invest in your best: Remember ‘Pareto’s Law’, known as the 80/20 rule. Invest the majority of your efforts on the top 20% of your people.

People don’t change very much, so don’t waste too much time trying to put in what is not already there. Instead, concentrate of their strengths.

Management shortcut: “Don’t teach your people to be nice. Instead, simply hire nice people.” – Anon

A sign seen outside a church: ‘Still under the same management after 2000 years!’

If you pay peanuts you get monkeys. And if you invest peanuts in training you get the same results.