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Friday, May 9, 2014

Managerial Styles,

Lately, we here at Life, Explained, have begun a long trek backward, through time, in an effort to understand the present, perhaps explain our current predicament, maybe offer a path out of the morass in which humanity finds itself mired.  It is difficult, dangerous work, but we are happy to do it, that's right, we are happy doing difficult, dangerous work if you, the Life Explained Universe benefits, even a little.  It is what we do.  The real problem with history, though, is the quantity, it just goes on and on, and no matter where you start it always leads to something else.  Still, if one has iron like resolve, and a keen eye for detail, there are many valuable lessons to be learned by the observant time traveler.

We will start with management styles throughout the ages.  Genghis Khan was a guy who got stuff done.  He was a brilliant motivator, with a hands on style that inspired his subordinates, worried competitors, garnered loyalty, and produced results.  There was no attendance/tardiness policy, people didn't hang around chatting by the elevator, no small talk over oatmeal, toast and fresh squeezed juice in the kitchen.  As a result of his no-nonsense practices the Mongol Conglomerate and Associates controlled between 11 and 12 million contiguous square miles, from the Sea of Japan all the way to the Caspian Sea.  That is market share that Apple and Coca Cola only dream about.

Sure, in today's namby-pamby, wussified, decadent, decaying, squishy soft corporate environment the Khan's management practices would be frowned upon.  For example, he had everything arranged in sequences of ten, and if you were negotiating a "corporate restructuring," and two of the members of your "executive council" decided to "pursue less stressful avenues of employment" somewhere quieter and more sedate you were all "let go."  It was an exit interview best avoided.

 One of the many benefits of employment with the Khan was travel.  His staff would take extended recruiting trips to foreign, exotic places filled with interesting, diverse people.  Sometimes things would not go well, and the hosts would not accept the generous offer of employment, and a long, healthy life, and things might get tense, and tumultuous, but no job is without stress.  Remember the old saying, "you can't make an omelet without destroying a city, crushing its defenses, razing its buildings, and slaughtering its inhabitants."  And the Mongols really liked omelets.

Of course, everything old is new again, so some day we will see the rise of the next great motivator, a man who can bring people together, and lead by example.  Until then I am going to fix myself a sandwich, and some cocoa, hang out in the break room and watch some streaming video on my iPhone, and maybe sharpen my war ax, just in case.