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Priscilla Elfrey

  • ... if we do not eliminate the clutter, the clutter will eliminate us.

  • Most of us work in places where a person who wants to block something has an easier route than a person who wants to accomplish something.

  • The paradox, of course, is that you can never have enough information, but you cannot gather information forever.

  • ... many people think that controlling people is what management is about. Leaders should have no time to control people. You're busy enough thinking, planning, discussing, interacting, suggesting, bargaining, negotiating, and checking. Controlling others is not the main event. It is less important than establishing objectives on which those who depend on you for a salary can focus.

  • The manager who gives up control finds little need to control. There is less clock-watching, fewer sabotage attempts, less time given to unproductive behavior. By delegating both the symbols and realities of power to subordinates, the manager has more time for the real work of leadership: establishing and setting goals, evaluating progress.

  • The telephone exercises a terrible tyranny on most of us.

  • There is no such thing as a free ticket; every decision has both opportunity and cost.

  • Praise keeps productivity and quality high. This works especially with those who do routine jobs over a long period of time. We all appreciate recognition. No one can ever get too much approval.

  • Delegation is necessary and risky. People will do things differently. Your instructions will probably be misunderstood. What you say is likely to be different from what they hear.

  • If I believe that I am in control because you have accepted my ideas, then I am deluding myself. There is a lot of self-delusion in management. You can control people only when you intimidate them and remain there to keep up the pressure.

  • Effective management begins with the inability to leave well enough alone, with a preoccupation for betterment.

  • If you would be a leader, you must resist the reactive role that is the easier path. Those who succumb to fire fighting and crisis management will seldom enjoy the pleasures of achievement.

  • When you find something that you like, buy a lifetime supply. They are going to stop making it.

  • The manager with the in-basket problem does not yet understand that he must discipline himself to take care of activities that fail to excite him.

  • The mark of a leader may be the ability to prevent fire fighting behavior and to seek elegant solutions.

  • Work is what we make it. If it is based on fear, if it induces alienation, if it punishes creativity, it is not doing what it should. The activities of work can be changed. It is easier to change work than to change people.

  • Organizations benefit when they require that managers always consider honesty an alternative. Sometimes the whole truth is inappropriate. You must distinguish between truth-telling and telling everything.

  • Developing the abilities and attitudes to deal adequately with change — particularly those that appear to be negative — should be our highest priority.

  • The appearance of well-being, status, power, and prestige creates well-being, status, power, and prestige.

  • Whereas reorganizations are seldom failures, few are truly successful. Companies report that moderate reorganization is a yearly occurrence. This is expensive in time and energy. Managers initiating change recognize but fail to assess the resistance that employees can offer.

Priscilla Elfrey, U.S. writer, management consultant