Re: YOU are responsible, even when YOU are not to blame

Subject: Re: YOU are responsible, even when YOU are not to blame
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2003 17:48:36 +0200


Writers, on the other hand, must interpret, analyze, and reorganize abstract
concepts and information. This is fundamentally a mental task - something that
morons are not well suited to accomplish with any degree of consistency.

Therefore, your entire argument is based on faulty assumptions. You cannot en
masse apply manufacturing-centric concepts to environments where the job-tasks
are fundamentally different.

Manager, unprofessional attitude (assigning blame): Well, the writers are all morons - it's a waste of time to look any further because little can be done anyway.

Manager, professional attitude (doing his or her best to fix the problem): OK, how can we get the best results from the people we have? If they keep making the same mistakes, is there a way to avoid that?

True story: I know a documentation manager (working in the European headquarters of a Japanese multinational) wo was hired to get the documentation department for a particular product line into shape. It was pretty awful before he came, and it was hinted that he might want to fire almost everybody and start over with a clean slate.

What the guy did instead was to look at the work that needed to be done, the people who had to do it, and the external constraints. He then turned around the department by creating processes, setting standards, and otherwise giving the writers a firm frame in which to work.

The people were the same as before, but the quality of the work improved drastically. The writers are still no world-conquering heroes, individually, but a good manager managed to give them a work environment in which they can create good work, something they didn't do often enough before.

Sometiems when I hear a manager whine about how many writers are hopeless cases, morons, uninterested in their work etc etc... I think of that guy and what he did with what could reasonably be described as a mediocre team. That is a manager who impresses me. And that is a guy who I think could tell you something about writers and managing.

(Of course, whining is easier, which might be why it's more popular.)

Regards
Jan Henning

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Jan Henning
ROSEMANN & LAURIDSEN GMBH
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 8179 9307-12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web: www.r-l.de
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References:
Re: YOU are responsible, even when YOU are not to blame (long): From: Andrew Plato

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