Why Management Matters
Management is the first and most important function of every business, and that's important for very human reasons.
A company's management determines what the company is and what the company does. The quality of a company's management—of all of its managers, from its top executives to its newest team leaders—ultimately determines what the company does and how well the company performs.
Every company faces challenges and opportunities. What's important is how it responds to those challenges and opportunities. A company's response is the response of its managers.
If a piece of equipment fails and customers are disappointed, great management can orchestrate a response that makes the customers feel valued, and by doing so, turn a momentary equipment failure into enduring customer loyalty. However, if the same failure occurs a number of times, at its root, the problem isn't an equipment failure. It's a management failure.
The same logic applies equally to all persistent business problems and to all forms of corporate mediocrity. Recurring quality control issues, sagging customer loyalty, chronically poor sales, frequently missed deadlines, declining employee morale, being out of sync with market developments—any company can run into those problems. When a problem becomes an enduring pattern, however, it's not a technology failure, the result of a poor economy, or the fault of an inadequate workforce. It's the result of poor management.
By the same token, when a company achieves outstanding long-term success, it's the result of gathering the right people, sharing the right vision, providing the right resources, and executing the right plan. It's the result of great management.
It's important to acknowledge that poor management is rarely the result of bad intentions. Poor management commonly arises simply because most managers are never taught how to manage (at least, not in an effective way). Managing business is a complex job—possibly the most complex job there is—but it's common for people to assume that managing is just a matter of relaying orders from above.
Unfortunately, many companies are filled with managers, including senior managers, who don't know how to manage well. Those managers can't fix the problems they see because they don't understand the root of the problem. They don't know the difference between poor management and good management, and they don't know what it is that they don't know.