Two Principles Of Management You May Not Have Considered

There are a great many principles of management and leadership, and no book has yet been written that encompasses them all.  But it is still good to state—and restate—them when necessary, since new circumstances and conditions are always arising that challenge our adaptive powers.  I wanted to talk about two of these principles, both of which forced themselves into my life recently as a result of some work challenges I had to deal with.

Too Much Organization Can Be A Bad Thing

The conventional wisdom tells us that we should seek to be organized in every detail, and that we should strive for a harmonic balance in our business or organization.  Up to certain limits, of course, this is a valid and perfectly reasonable statement.  Who can deny that businesses or organizations should not be organized?  Only a fool or a slob would try to assert otherwise.


But the problem lies in the human tendency to take good things too far to the extreme.  Left unchecked, our organizational impulses can become a neurotic obsession.  Organization becomes a goal in itself rather than a means to an end; pedantic quibbling about irrelevant details replaces genuine innovation, and the organization as a whole suffers.  I suspect that many readers have seen this principle in action:  too much organization produces nothing but a dead machine.

It may be wiser in this respect to adhere to general rules than to rigid tables of organization, flow-charts, and bean-counting studies.  I am a firm believer in the rule that people make organizations, and not the other way around.  We should try to seek out the best people, give them instructions on what we want done, and leave them alone to do it.  There may even be some “overlapping” of responsibility when assigning tasks.  In other words, it is not always a bad thing to have more than one person or organization responsible for the same task.  Redundancy is not always bad.  Fostering a spirit of healthy competition in an organization is not necessarily bad.

Not Every Problem Needs To Be Solved Immediately

Have you ever noticed that some problems take care of themselves?  That if you simply put the troublesome folder in your desk drawer for the moment, some future intervening event allows you to solve it better than if you tried to deal with it right away?  I have.  For people who are action-oriented, this can be a difficult concept to understand.  When we are facing a problem, our first impulse is to solve the problem.  This may end up producing the exact opposite of what we intended.


When faced with a new and nascent problem, sometimes the best solution is to temporize.  What does temporize mean?  Its dictionary definition is to “temporarily adopt a particular course of action that conforms with the circumstances.”  This means that we should seek temporary measures rather than ultimate solutions at certain times.  There are good reasons why we should do this:  (1) trying to deal with a problem too decisively can produce serious blowback; and (2) sometimes it is not even clear that the issue in question is an actual problem.

A good historical example of this comes from early Roman history.  As Rome began to grow in power as a city-state, it ran into the competing interests of other local powers on the Italic peninsula.  There were Etruscans, Samnites, and many other peoples in Italy at that time, and all of them watched in alarm as Rome began to consolidate its hold on Latium and project power outwards.

But instead of seeking a reasonable accommodation with young Rome, the other states of the Italic peninsula grew fearful and jealous.  They sought out alliances with each other and tried to find underhanded ways to block Rome’s progress as a political entity.  This was natural and expected; but perhaps a better course of action would have been not to attack Rome.  Rome’s Italic neighbors tried many times to destroy it, but every time they did so, it only made Rome stronger.  Rome’s leaders developed new institutions, civil offices, and military innovations in response to its external challenges.  It might not have done so had it not been so threatened by its neighbors.


Another reason why we should not try to deal too decisively with new problems is because it is not always easy even to identify new problems.  The human mind tends to be optimistic in the sense that, once it embarks on a course of action, it does not like to be reminded of obstacles or pitfalls in the way.  Some things that look like problems are not, in fact, problems.  We need time to sort things out.  Temporizing problems that appear can be the best solution.  We deal with the problem on a temporary basis until it becomes clear that it must be dealt with in a more decisive way.  Letting things just “marinate” for a while can allow these imaginary problems to work themselves out without outside intervention.

These are two points of management I had occasion to think about recently.  Like anything, they should not be taken too far; they should not be taken as excuses to sit down and do nothing.  But they should at least be kept in mind.

Read More: 8 Essential Things Every Hiker Should Carry

73 thoughts on “Two Principles Of Management You May Not Have Considered”

  1. While I don’t agree with the point about organization this is still a spectacular article Quint. Way to start the new year and set the tone with a really great and productive article about a relevant topic. Well done

    1. yes, great article…. both points i have noticed myself many times…. buying time, saving money, making do and waiting to take action very often finds the problem disappear or become irrelevant – marketing, sales and advertising people know this and that’s why they always cop on the hard sell and call to action.
      point 3 is missing : taking positive action and focusing on outcome is far more productive than planning and problem solving. Much like riding a bike, if you simply look to the side of the potholes you automatically go around them. Look right at the pothole and you hit every single one.
      another good point when working with people is to be a little passive, quiet, understated or even play the fool at first and let them reveal themselves. if they are worth having around they will pull the cart – if not better to waste a little time and money finding out early than getting way in to later discover their flaws.

      1. It depends on what you do and what the goal is. In my job I am often played off of a guy who plays that roll well as being a hot head….standard good cop bad cop. I am very good at being a hyper aggressive asshole who is willing to nuke a city in order to kill a mouse and am selling that skill to my employer. In general I believe you are right though about being passive and quiet and playing the fool.

    1. its amazing how these folks tell you about how much money they make. Don’t want to keep it a secret because they think your so special!

    2. Never ending possibility of success though. She had me at that. I’m gone fellas… 😀

  2. Most humans are dumb, apathetic, cannot anticipate outcomes even when it affects their own death and resist change due to laziness and pride. Ever notice how winter driving seems to show the truth.

    1. If that were the case, people wouldn’t make millions on the stock market or have any knowledge on how to run a war. Warren Buffett and Alexander the Great apparently don’t exist in your mind.
      EDIT: Sorry, I didn’t notice most.

      1. Notice I didn’t say all. I said most. Its why MOST of the world lives in abject poverty. Spread your legs even if you only have a bowl of rice to eat for a week.Your lack of reading comprehension shows -case in point -the pitfalls of managing. People don’t listen, they don’t adjust until its too late. How you can miss the first word of a sentence? Its why managing is a tough business when great amounts of money are on the line. You just pray the idiots don’t take you down with the ship. I will likely die before I figure out peoples propensity to just not listen.

        1. “You just pray the idiots don’t take you down with the ship. I will likely die before I figure out peoples propensity to just not listen.”… What a finely crafted comment! TRUTH! As a business owner, I can’t agree with you more!

      2. he said most. I don’t think anyone is denying there are exceptional men in this world historically or today. But he is right, most men are basically good for canon fodder and thats all.

  3. Over-organization is only a bad thing if the organizing causes people to have to overwork themselves understanding it or moving orders from place to place.
    My rule is that one should do the most for the least.

    1. Organization should be as minimum as possible to ensure that people work effectively together but also having the flexibility to adapt.
      Overorganization is bureaucratic which is where the system takes precedence over the human and where the soulessness that is present corporate culture is a result of.

  4. I like it. Many small problems can be ignored, particularly in the workplace where interference can lose you political capital for little reward.
    Let nature weed them out, or let a natural emergence eliminate it. That level of judgment requires emotional maturity, however.
    Another point, most problems are created by people. Idiots – to be precise.
    The Sun Tzu maxim applies here …

  5. Two analogies.
    Flying an aircraft. When first learning it’s very easy to get sucked into Instrument Flying instead of looking outside the front windscreen. You focus so much on the instruments and making sure that they’re “exactly where they should be” that you don’t even realize over time that you haven’t even noticed that you’re in the air. It’s something all new students do (or at least, most of them). Once you get around the time of your first solo, you’ve learned how bad of a habit this is, as well as the dangers such as, say, running too close to another airplane. You learn to use outside reference points and suddenly flying turns from a terror inducing “I need to get it right or I die!” task into an enjoyable experience. The instruments are still important, and sometimes life saving (IFR rules when in a cloud or poor weather are indispensable), but if you come to the point where everything needs “exactly spot on!” according to instruments, then you need to stop. Too much management of the flight experience is highly detrimental except in very specific circumstances.
    Second, riding a motorcycle. You start out really, really, really nervous and every single thing means a mountain of fear to you. OMG, the speed underneath me, I’m going to die, I need to grip the fucking handlebars and oversteer like my life depends on it, etc. You also don’t know how to turn correctly, so you focus on the road three feet in front of you and are a ball of nerves as you make poorly executed, choppy turns. It’s only when you learn to look at the world around you and road *in the distance* as well as up close, that you start to relax and feel the zen. You’re still controlling the ride, but you’re not micro-managing it to the point where you become a danger on the road like most noob’s do.

    1. never flew a plane but that is as good a description of learning to ride a motorcycle as I ever saw.
      Really the experience of being on a motorcycle is an analogy for everything. I never understood men who have never driven one. It is like the first thing that every boy wants to do as soon as his brain turns on.
      As a side note, as a kid I had a toy of the superhero The Flash on a motorcycle. The flash. on a motorcycle. Why the fuck would the flash have a motorcycle? He wanted to experience the frustration of traveling at 1/1000000000000000000000000th of possible speed?
      As I grew older I realized that the flash on a motorcycle was the perfect analogy for my life in the adult world. I wish I still had that damn toy. I would put it on my desk at work.

        1. if you can jog at the speed of light there is no way that it isn’t infuriating to drive a motorcycle

        2. He needs a way to peacock when running game, I guess. Opens up a world of biker bars and stands out parked next to a row of Harleys.

      1. If you want to fly just to say you tried it, you can call a flight school and ask to do a “discovery flight.” Its usually around $100. They’ll let you take the controls and fly around for a little bit. Just say you’re shopping flight schools and you’re interested in getting your private pilot certificate. The other cost might be; taking fifteen minutes to let them show you around the flight school. Just an FYI. I don’t think many people know you can do this.
        lol’ed at Flash motorcycle comment.

        1. Cool. Good heads up. Prob wait for summer when it isn’t so gray and nasty out here but I’ll def try that.
          Flash motorcycle

        2. Also – find the oldest, most basic tail-dragger in the world to learn on. Best way to get a feel for the principles. I know a guy up in NJ.

        3. sounds fun. Let’s head out there this spring and go fly a plane.

        4. The Girl got me an intro flight like the one Jingo described above. Was fun, but I elected not to continue lessons. Great way to jump into it. The guy takes you up in 1947 Cub. REAL basic, hand start engine, 3 or 4 gauges, no radio.

        5. yeah, I probably wouldn’t continue on with the lessons. I leave the island of manhattan maybe 4 times a year tops and, unless I am getting paid for it or the girl is a 9 I don’t go south of 57th street so I can’t really see a need for an airplane license. But I would like to buzz around in one at least once.

      1. Not being addicted to television, along with a strong desire to get out and see and do things, basically inspired me to take up a whole range of hobbies and activities.

    2. I am an airline pilot and from my experience the worst pilots are those who are on opposite ends of the spectrum (idiot on one end extreme type A on the other). The extreme type A pilots are distracted by small details and lose site of the big picture. Off the top of my head I can think of two instances within the last year where a guy left the gear down and another who was on the path of hitting another airplane while taxiing because they were ultra focused on some stupid shit that hardly mattered at the time. Prioritizing is the key. Aviate, navigate, communicate (piloting 101). A good pilot should be thinking in terms of, “what is going to happen in the next second, three seconds, ten seconds, thirty seconds” and so forth. Stay ahead of the airplane. I only know a handful of pilots who are extreme type A and also good pilots, few and far between. They are good at prioritizing large amounts of information. As for the rest I think it’s a defense mechanism.
      You learn a lot when you think you might die. Been there a few times. I had an entry level freight gig and I was also an Ag pilot a while back.
      When I was learning to fly my instructor covered the instruments with stickers and made me look outside the entire time.

      1. When I was learning to fly my instructor covered the instruments with stickers and made me look outside the entire time.

        Similar experience here. I was *bad* at looking down at the instruments. Once I got my head off of the instrument panel things got a lot better, without question. The “what’s going to happen next” thing was drilled into me hard too, down to the point of “always be mindful of where you might choose to land if the engine goes out”. In Ohio that’s not so much a big deal (“Hey, I think I’ll land in that long flat corn field”) but in other areas it can be really major. In retrospect I think the situational awareness not only improved my time in the aircraft, but also gave me more of a “head on a swivel” on my motorcycle.

        1. There’s definitely a fine line when it comes to “drilling” concepts while learning in the airplane. When you’re learning in the airplane, you’re like a deer in headlights. That’s why chair flying is so valuable. My students used to smirk when I told them to chair fly so I made em chair fly certain maneuvers before we went out (especially crosswind landings, gotta chair fly that one first).
          Side note: My two best student had one thing in common; they loved cars, bikes and ATV’s.

        2. I worked at a company that was Part 141 certified so my flight school and air time were very well planned and executed (imo). I’ve seen some part 61 schools that, while in theory providing the basic FAA requirements, scare the living bejeezus out of me. I also got a flat rate per lesson 1 hour fee of $50.00, that included aircraft, fuel and instructor (!), as it was subsidized by the company. I’d of felt a fool to have passed that opportunity up (this was 2005-ish).

        3. Yeah fifty bucks, Jesus. My first lesson was at a 61 school. I sat through one ground lesson and never went back. The guy had me fly the sim for an hour, then he walked me to the pilot shop and told me to buy a bunch of books on instrument training. Something didn’t smell right. Then I went to a 141 school. The problem with general aviation and 61 schools is; there are so many idiots out there who like to teach their students all about their pet peeves for hours on end, meanwhile the student is sitting their with his thumb up his ass wondering how to start the airplane. 141 is the way to go. Structure, watching videos, reading and taking quizzes.

      2. ” ..good pilot should be thinking in terms of, “what is going to happen in the next second, three seconds, ten seconds, thirty seconds” and so forth. Stay ahead of the airplane”
        Good the hear, last second pull up in foggy Busan 2002 left shit flying out of the overhead people screaming and one lady almost died of fright.
        We actually had ot transfer to Kimpo the domestic airport and wiat 4 hours for imigration to setup because it was too foggy..
        The pilot said “decided to pull up because they lost all visual of the ground.
        We were not 150ft in the air I’m sure scary shit! I’m glad he made that decision..

    3. To a lesser extent, I experienced a similar progression and clarity with handling and managing and later instructing on sail boats. Trimming sails and adjusting the rudder, using visual reference points, judging distances to avoid the Sirens, calculating the distance of a lightning storm, decision to tack and gybe etc..
      Though with flying, you’re having to manage the greater complexity of maneuvering in three dimensional space as opposed to my two dimensions.
      Much respect, Ghost 🙂

    4. Took lessons back in 99/00. One of the most rewarding experiences ever. I’d take a C182 over any romantic relationship. Most men can find at least a 6 or better for a woman. Few men get to enjoy the thrill of piloting an airplane.

  6. Gym routines get too complex.
    I simplified back in 2011 to
    Chest day
    Deadlift day
    Each with additionals dependent on my mood. Usually lump shoulders with chest.
    Amount of spreadsheets populated … zero!

    1. That will work for a while and will even last a lifetime….but there are people, myself included, who have specific goals. Going to the gym is something everyone should do…especially if you have a sedentary desk job. But for me it is more than that. It is my main hobby outside of fucking beautiful women.
      Making those long complicated spread sheets, researching, setting a very particular goal and engineering a way to achieve it…that is fun for me. It can’t be over done as doing it that way is the reason I like it.
      That said, if you just got to the gym to be a strong and healthy man Stonglifts 5×5 is all you will ever need. a handful of different big compound lifts. The program is perfect in its simplicity. you will never achieve certain goals with it, but those goals aren’t really that important. Just things that some people do for fun.

      1. Sure. My goals now at 35 are building/mostly maintaining strength.
        I don’t have the time for minute goals.
        That’s not a dig at you by the way, it’s cool you can get right down to that detail. But I get maybe 45-60 mins 5 times a week and that includes the heavy bag

        1. I don’t take it as a dig. Some of the guys i work with go out every day after work for a few drinks. Some people play pool. Everyone has hobbies. You can’t just work shit and sleep. This happens to be mine. That works for me but I am not under the delusion that my hobbies are something everyone should do (though some physical activity is). I am sure that the reason you don’t have time for minute goals are because you use that time for other priorities, other hobbies, kids, working on old cars, whatever?
          Heavy bag work is fucking exhausting after 30 isn’t it. When I was in college I boxed and I could go out drinking all night, go to school in the morning and work heavy and speed bags and jump rope for fucking hours and be ready to go out again — saw a young guy bartending the other day yawn and i told him I didn’t yawn until I was 30.
          Back to the point. this is why strong lifts is great. Bench Press, Overhead press, Squat, Deadlift and Back row. 5 sets, 5 reps 3 lifts per day, 3 days per week. Throw in a little cardio to make sure you get your heart rate up every day to stay healthy and you are set.

        2. Yeah kids. They eat time.
          Re the bag, yes it fucking does. One thing I’ve noticed, I build up a good stamina on it if I do say, 7-8 days in 10. One week off and I’m back to square one.
          Mine’s in the garage, last night I sweated so much the Wife thought the roof had leaked onto the floor.
          That’s why boxers are known to lose it literally (Hitler) overnight

        3. nice. See no wife and no kids means extra time for things like measuring my bicep and wondering if i could get it to 18 inches.

        4. Jesus dude, how long does it take you to measure an arm? Is there some kind of Tea Ritual ceremony wrapped around this event of something? Heh.

        5. absolutely a tea ritual! Also, it is hard to count seeing as those fingers are unable for use as I am squeezing the hand in a fist for maximum pump.

        6. I haven’t done tape measurements in a while, kind of found a happy spot and have stayed in it more or less the last 5 years or so. I am on my Clean Path 2 month yearly living plan right now, maybe I’ll do some measurements at the end and see where I end up at on the charts.
          Also, while avoiding living a stressed out life, I’m really keen to try to get the six-pack cut going again before I finally and sadly hit 50. No idea why this is a goal, and I know it’s a pain in the ass as a lifestyle, but I figure, eh, get that kind of ripped going on, get some professional picks taken (a friend of mine knows quite a few professional photographers for fitness rags) and then chill out and relax. Some day in the future, if my son or his son is bitching about how hard it is to keep up on fitness routines I’ll point to the pics and say “Suck it up! See these? I was 50!” Then I’ll have him go fetch me a Scotch. Because that’s how I intend to roll.

        7. Measurements are just a way to understand what you I am doing and what effect it is having. Like stats in any sport. I don’t necessarily recommend it…only if you are an ocd numbers dude who is into fitness…in which case, yeah, def do it. I actually use bakery string and then measure the string after.
          As for 6 pack…good goal. I don’t have one. I have the infamous 4 pack. Getting those bottom two abs to show out takes a diet commitment that I am simply not willing to put in. If I want to eat a clean cutting diet, have zero alcohol and do 2 hours of circuit training a day for 6 months i have no doubt it would show up, but that shit is exhausting. I settle for my 4 pack (2 when I am misbehaving) and focus on chest, arms, shoulder and leg goals.
          But yeah, everyone has to have something they are aiming for and abs is just as good as anything else. It is just that I know what it takes to get it and I don’t have it in me to do it anymore. The last time my body fat dropped below 8% was 2012 and I really felt like shit.

        8. Oh, I’ve done it before, but that was when my life was measured in far fewer decades than it currently is. And it was really time consuming and rather painfully boring, but I was in the military and had nothing else in the world to fill my time with.
          We’ll see where I end up. I get pretty vascular fairly quickly and cut everywhere but the abs somewhat easily. At the end of the “riding season” (now) I’m always in my worst shape, but generally my “worst shape” is better than 80% of other men’s best shape, so I have a good starting base. I guess I want to tape just to see how far I’ve come (or fallen) since around 2010.
          The nice thing is that I’ll have my wife to help out. She assists in several ways that I’ve come to expect and adore over the years.
          April – December – Complains that I drink and have fun in life and that I need to be careful or I’ll get out of shape. Notes that I’m starting to eat more carbs than usual on occasion. She eats a lot of protein and keeps me mindful that I should too.
          January – March – Complains that my diet is too rigorous and why won’t I just have a glass of wine with her as we scarf down something with lots of carbs, preferably lasagna or spaghetti. Forgets what protein is and becomes a bread maniac.

        9. btw any use of “fetch” always reminds me of Dr. No when bond tells Quarrel “fetch me my shoes”
          God i love that movie

        10. Also, in Goldfinger, bond says about drinking Dom at the wrong temperature that it is “like listening to the beatles without ear muffs” Ok, now I’m going to have to put on a bond movie.

        11. LOL. I watched Goldfinger on the weekend (randomly selected) and always laugh when Connary says that.

    2. Arms/chest
      I like to keep similar groups working together as much as possible. Legs and abs are the odd men out, so they go together “just because”.
      Same as you, I know all of the weights I’m currently at so I’ll just increment 5%-10% upon completion of 2 sets of *slow* 5 (basically, HIT theory).

    3. Push
      Mobility circuits
      -One day where I throw in a mix of the above. Functional movement circuit.

  7. From a psychological perspective, this is an accurate assessment. The more you focus on what is wrong, the greater the likelihood that it will happen. Focusing on the positive outcome usually will come true.

  8. Different strategies for different situations. When a problem comes up you should run a cost/benefit analysis and be ruthless if it’s not worth the effort. Your time is worth far more than a net loss.

  9. My way of dealing with problems:
    1st occurrence: special cause – deal with it only if there is a big big payoff
    2nd occurrence: common cause – deal with it/fix it
    3rd occurrence: PATTERN – analyze it thoroughly, implement the solution and spread the memos.

  10. The Department of Socialist Services is a prime example of an organizational gynoconvention when both women and she-males together organize into a bureau and try to figure out what to do next. They search for problems where there are none. Or they take a societal phenomenon that normally auto corrects itself and then they prescribe government intervention that exacerbates and makes the problem far worse or even terminal. If a person is shiftless, lazy, idle and an undiscipdined shopper, then the socialist workers perscribe an unlimited bounty of food stamps for free junk food, snack cakes and soda.
    Professional government socialist service busybodies constantly sieve through healthy culture trying to find a problem, thus CREATING A PROBLEM. AND they redefine and broaden what is defined as problematic. AND they enforce the feminist definitions of yet more problems. Like when feminists redefined all heterosexual sex as rape and redefined traditional marriage as slavery. Socialist services is tasked with ending slavery and male abuse and rape that could result in family formation.
    Government femboobs and manbitches operating in socialist service resemble a psychotic PMS’ing woman who screams and sees problems everywhere. We’ve all seen at one time or another a hallucinating mensing psycho bitch in a household who will spew venom and blame everyone else for their period and their other assorted problems. They’ll tack paper targets everywhere and onto everyone, and then they’ll wantonly throw darts at their own projected problematicacies. When socialist services finds a problem, they can’t leave it alone.
    Masters at exacerbating problems by their intrusive mishandling of normalcy, they produce bags of festering unsolved additional problems. One problem becomes twenty fold. And when they forget their docket of initiated problems and being as they are driven by female and he-bitch nature they then magically pull yet more problems out of their ass. Voila. Such a government gravy train of unending problems those amazing female magicians can procure from their folds and crevaces.
    The socialist services is the embodiment of legitimizing, mainstreaming and commissioning DOUCHEBRAINEDNESS. No viable society ever took douche stench, concentrated it, bottled it and formed a government branch to proliferate it. In traditional cultures, anything douche related was DOUCHE PAILED. They tossed it in a can. They threw a lid on it. They contained it and kept it downwind of the enlightened thinking men who require fresh clean air to breathe. You keep all that’s douchy in its place, just like keeping litter in its place.×175.png
    Anything relating to douche stays IN THE HUT!!
    Boy I can’t wait for Trump to take the government henhouse to the butcher block.×448.jpg

Comments are closed.