Friday, May 11, 2020

What would a Hamburger Manager do?

You’ve probably all seen the bumper stickers that exhort you to ask yourself “What would Jesus do?” or “What would The Buddha do?” Their purpose is to urge you to pause before some important ethical or personal decision, using the question to make yourself consider the issue in greater depth—usually with Jesus’ or The Buddha’s teachings in mind. This is my own version of this idea, aimed at helping you to be a better Slow Leader.

Instead of using the teachings of a famous religious figure as a guide to how you ought to react in some difficult situation, I’m going to suggest the opposite: that you take a few seconds of time out to think about what the typical macho, “grab-and-go,” Hamburger Manager would do—then avoid that option whenever you can.

There are two reasons for suggesting this. One: Hamburger Management responses have become the unthinking norm in many organizations, so it will force you to think creatively about a different approach. Two: most of our management problems today are caused by sticking with this out-dated and discredited way of managing, so choosing something else is virtually guaranteed to be better.

Here’s how it might work: These are only examples. I’m sure that you can think of more—and maybe better ones. The important thing is that stopping to think in this way might prevent more leaders at all levels from rushing into conventional (and generally inferior) “solutions,” instead of slowing down and taking the time to open their minds to more creative and useful approaches.

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I'm trying to start a discussion that I think would be interesting to you and other readers of Slow Leadership.
Lately I've been reading about an organization managed as a democracy, not a hierarchy.
I've been though "The Seven Day Weekend" by Ricardo Semler. It sounds good, but he is the CEO, so he is making all the cash. For him it is good.
I also read "The Democratic Corporation" by Ackoff which I found through a post on this blog about MBA education. The book is very academic, but has ideas on how to actually accomplish what Ricardo is talking about.
I also see blogs and articles about how Google is organized. Engineers can move from project to project. They decide the technical direction, not a partially informed manager. There have been a few other articles on democratically organized businesses.
This sounds like a solution to hamburger management. How about exploring these ideas? I am looking for a conversation that helps the cloud of ideas form into something real.
Sounds like a great conversation, Doug.

Where will you be holding it, so people know where to contribute?


I love your idea (What would hamburger manager do?). It's actionable. straightforward and will help me see a better way.


Thanks, Kent. I'm glad you found it useful.

Keep reading, my friend.

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