An Analysis of the Four Management Lessons

Monday, February 25, 2013, 2:00 AM | 2 Comments

Four management lessons are “flying” around all over the Internet. I think these lessons came across my web surfing some six years ago and I enjoyed them very much. Maybe I have missed it – what they actually mean and if they are really true in any industry and discipline, I have yet to see the explanation and the analysis of all four lessons.

Management Lessons

  1. Management lesson number 1

    A crow was sitting high up in a tree, doing nothing all day. A small rabbit saw the crow, and asked him, “Can I also sit like you and do nothing all day long?” The crow answered: “Sure, why not.” So, the rabbit sat on the ground below the crow, and rested. All of a sudden, a fox appeared, jumped on the rabbit and ate it.

    The lesson:

    To be sitting and doing nothing, you must be sitting very, very high up like a Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

  2. Management lesson number 2

    A turkey was chatting with a bull. “I would love to be able to get to the top of that tree,” sighed the turkey, “but I haven’t got the energy”. “Well, why don’t you nibble on some of my droppings?” replied the bull “They’re packed with nutrients.”

    No Bullshit

    The turkey pecked at a lump of dung and found that it actually gave him enough strength to reach the first branch of the tree.

    The next day, after eating some more dung, he reached the second branch. Finally after a fortnight, there he was proudly perched at the top of the tree.

    He was promptly spotted by a farmer, who shot the turkey out of the tree.

    The lesson

    Bullshit might get you to the top, but it won’t keep you there.

  3. Management lesson number 3

    When the body was first made, all the parts wanted to be Boss. The brain said, “I should be Boss because I control the whole body’s responses and functions.” The feet said, “We should be Boss as we carry the brain about and get him to where he wants to go.” The Hands said, “We should be the Boss because we do all the work and earn all the money.” And so it went on and on with the heart, the lungs and the eyes until finally the asshole spoke up.

    All the parts laughed at the idea of the asshole being the Boss. Promptly, the asshole went on strike, blocked itself up and refused to work.


    Within a short time the eyes became crossed, the hands clenched, the feet twitched, the heart and lungs began to panic and the brain fevered.

    Eventually they all decided that the asshole should be the Boss, so the motion was passed. All the other parts did all the work while the Boss just sat and passed out the shit!

    The lesson

    You don’t need brains to be a Boss – any asshole will do.

  4. Management lesson number 4

    A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold that the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped a load of hot, steaming dung on it.

    As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of shit, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.

    Shut Your Mouth

    Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung. The cat promptly dug the bird out, killed him and ate him.

    The lesson

    Not everyone who drops shit on you is your enemy. Not everyone who pulls you out of shit is your friend. And when you’re warm and happy in your pile of shit, keep your mouth shut!

Analysis of all four management lessons

As funny as these management lessons are, I consider them true as well but with some reservation. Here I can talk about only the U.S. management and the so-called white and blue collar jobs.

By and large, folks in any discipline, in any industry, and I might add in any position, are honest, hard and increasingly smart workers – in the words of Peter Drucker, knowledge workers.

It is true that sometimes and more often than not, it is the higher-ups that screw up the company. Case in point: the infamous cases of Enron, WorldCom, Lehman Brothers, Adelphia, Tyco, Washington Mutual and others.

However, there are companies that have done very well because of the higher-ups. Case in point: The famous cases of Dell Inc., Toyota, Google, Corning, American Express, Ford, General Electric, Hewlett Packard (getting weaker lately because of the senior executives), IBM, Proctor & Gamble, Sony, Wal-Mart, and many others that are Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

What comes down to be a successful company

According to a study conducted by General Electric, successful companies:

  • Manage processes, not people. Focus not on what they do, but on how they do it.

  • Use techniques (like “process mapping” and “benchmarking”) to achieve continuous improvement.

  • Value incremental gains.

  • Measure performance by customer satisfaction.

  • Introduce new products faster that the competition.

  • Design new products for efficient manufacture.

  • Treat suppliers and customers as partners.

  • Manage inventory in superior fashion.

In a Nutshell
The American industrial and commercial landscape is full of successful companies that comprise American ingenuity, smartness, hard work, and vision on all levels.

A few unwanted black spots, here and there on the face of this landscape, have always been there throughout known history all over the world.

In a sense, the bad spots and rotten eggs are good for the good of humanity. How else would we learn from our mistakes if we didn’t make them.

It is just that some mistakes get converted to catastrophes and that’s what we should worry about and try to avoid before they do.

The schmucks can be found at any position in the organization. At the top, they will definitely screw up the company.

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