Ground Rules for Managers

This is the seventh in a series of posts that will describe what the CEO of Reliance Electric thought about basic commitments, how the organization was going to operate and ground rules for managers. Once again, all the content of this article is based on the work of B. Charles Ames as outlined in his management manifesto titled Basic Management Concepts dated January 14, 1974.

Ground Rules for Managers

Ames believed there were a few ground rules that managers needed to follow. The ground rules were not controversial. The difficulty came when following them because, occasionally, they required managers to make difficult decisions and take unpleasant actions. Ames felt strongly that successful managers needed to follow the ground rules. The alternative would be failure, regardless of how smart or well-trained the manager might be.

  1. Organization and staffing. Managers determine how many people are required to accomplish the objectives of the organization. They decide on the kinds of people needed.  They divide tasks among them.
  2. Planning and execution. Managers determine specifically what needs to be done.  They decide how it will be accomplished. They follow up to make sure that each individual understands his or her role. They insure that people do what is expected of them.
  3. People development. Managers determine and carry out actions necessary to insure the continuous upgrading of people skills in the organization. They bring in new people to perpetuate and upgrade the strengths of the organization.

Ames understood that a variety of activities would fall under these core responsibilities. He also knew they would vary in importance for individual situations. He stated, however, that these three responsibilities were always the core of the manager’s job. The ground rules were inviolate for managing people and tasks to accomplish the objectives of the organization.

Ames went on the detail “ground rules” for each of the three core responsibilities. These detailed ground rules will be covered in the next installment of the recap of Basic Management Concepts.

B. Chuck Ames and his wife Jay currently manage the Ames Family Foundation. They divide their time between a home in Vero Beach, Florida and a second home in a suburb of Cleveland.