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The Spirit of organization

Management by objective tells a manager what he ought to do. The proper organization of his job enables him to do it. But it is the spirit of organization that determines whether he will do it. It is the spirit that motivates, that calls upon a man’s reserves of dedication and effort that decides whether he will give his best or do just enough to get by.

It is the purpose of an organization to “make common man do uncommon things” – this phrasing is Lord Beveridge’s. No organization can depend on genius; the supply is always scarce and always unpredictable. But it is the test of an organization that it makes ordinary human beings perform better than they are capable of, that it bring out whatever strength there is in its members and use it to make all other members perform more and better. It is the test of an organization that it neutralizes the weakness of its members.

Altogether the test of good spirit is not that people “get along together”; it is performance, not conformance. “Good human relations” not grounded in the satisfaction of good performance and the harmony of proper working relations are actually poor human relations and result in poor spirit. They do not make people grow; they make them conform and contract. I shall never forget the university president who once said to me: “It is my job to make it possible for the first-rate teacher to teach. Whether he gets along with his colleagues or with me – and very few of really good teachers do either – is irrelevant. We certainly have a collection of problem children here – but do they teach.” And when his successor substituted for this a policy of “peace and harmony”, both the performance and the spirit of the faculty rapidly went to pieces.

There are five areas in which practices are required to ensure the right spirit throughout management organization:

1) There must be high performance requirements; no condoning of poor or mediocre performance; and rewards must be based on performance.

2) Each management job must be a rewarding job in itself rather than just a step in the promotion ladder.

3) There must be rational and just promotion system.

4) Management needs a “Charter” spelling out clearly who has the power to make life-and-death decisions affecting a manager; and there should be some way for a manager to appeal to a higher court.

5) In its appointments management must demonstrate that it realizes that integrity is the absolute requirement of a manager, the one quality that he has to bring with him and cannot be expected to acquire later on.

A man should never be appointed to a managerial position if his vision focuses on people’s weakness rather than on their strengths. He should be a realist; and no one is less realistic than the cynic. A man should never be appointed if he is more interested in the question: “Who is right?” Management should never appoint a man who considers intelligence more important than integrity.

The man with whom a man works, and especially his subordinates, knows in a few weeks whether he has integrity or not. They may forgive a man a great deal: incompetence, ignorance, insecurity or bad manners. But they will never forgive him lack of integrity. Nor will they forgive higher management for choosing him.



II. Find synonyms of the following words:objective, to motivate, common, performance, capable, get along, spirit, mediocre, appeal, integrity.

III. Complete the sentences:

1) The spirit of organization determines …. .

2) An organization helps …. .

3) “Good human relations” make people …. .

4) To create the right spirit throughout management organization it is necessary …. .

5) A man should be appointed to a managerial position if …. .

6) People will never forgive …. .

IV. Write some words about the spirit in your group using the following words and word combinations:

-get along together, human relations, to develop, to depend on, harmony, a managerial position, people’s weaknesses/ strengths, etc.

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