Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Too Big to Manage? Not So

Academic journal article ABA Banking Journal

Too Big to Manage? Not So

Article excerpt

THE COMMENT WAS MADE recently by an elected official that perhaps "too big to fail" isn't the point, but "too big to manage" is.

It's neither. For a poor manager, a three-person department is too big to manage. Haven't we all seen that? The size of an organization isn't the determining factor, the capability of its management is.

(Actually, the thought that first came to mind when we read the above comment was: Congress is telling us that a business is too big to manage?)

All of us know people--personally or by reputation--who are born managers. These folks can bring order to everything from an overflowing attic to a bloated government bureaucracy. An office manager is by definition such a person. Managers often set and oversee the rules and controls that the rest of us think are ridiculous or petty, but deep down know are needed.

All organizations need people like this. In the "C suite" this person often is the COO or the president, less often the CEO. Managing and leading are not entirely distinct, but a good leader doesn't need to be a good manager. He or she just needs to have one close by, and back them up when they're challenged.

At the very top, Presidents have a chief of staff, as do most generals. Think of the incredible scope and complexity involved in being Supreme Allied Commander of European forces in WW II, and how well Gen. Dwight Eisenhower managed that job. Or what his boss, Gen. George C. Marshall, accomplished as Chief of Staff during the war.

Clearly there have also been many very large, well-managed business organizations. General Motors is fighting for its life right now, but for decades--a very long time in the business world--it was well led and well managed--an icon of American business prowess. …

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