July 14; Will Being Indispensable Put You In a Good Light? Or Backfire?
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Seven: Power; 14 July

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.

Instead they put it on its stand,

and it gives light to everyone in the house.

Matthew 5:15

Will Being Indispensable Put You In a Good Light? Or Backfire?

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The mechanic, Ferruccio, was a genius. He had an uncanny instinct for knowing how to fix even the newest machinery that came into his motor pool. The Italian military depot repaired tracked and wheeled vehicles on an island off Greece in the Second World War.

Every commander on that island was dependent upon supervisor Ferruccio and his mechanical magic. He knew the ‘how-to’ and became the ‘go-to.’

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Organizing has been defined as, “the management function of assembling and coordinating human, financial, physical, informational, and other resources needed to achieve goals.” Managers can best organize when knowledge is available across business silos. “Boundarylessness’ as Jack Welch teaches; “Jointness” as Marine Corps General John J. Sheehan said in 1996.

Your Business Professor as a young lieutenant was once responsible for the movement of some three-dozen monster trucks halfway across the country. Not every truck had a radio on that long, boring road trip. At every stop I would jog from truck cab to truck cab and tell the drivers what was happening.

I did this not because I understood ‘keeping the troops informed.’ I did it because I didn’t know what else to do. And I looked silly just sitting in a jeep.

William A. Cohen, Ph.D., a retired Major (two-star) General in the Air Force, knows what to do and reminds us of the need for selfless collaboration. For example, he writes,

Peter Drucker was…a unique genius. Drucker was in a class with Newton, Freud and Einstein, and like them Peter wanted to see his insights and conclusions disseminated and applied.

I am no management genius like Peter Drucker, but I shared what information about the convoy I had–which was very little. I did know that I wanted to avoid Mushroom Management (keep ‘em in the dark and feed them manure). We were travelling as a convoy and could go only so fast as the slowest vehicle. This made it easy to follow the African proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone: if you want to go far, go together.”

***

Ferruccio, the Italian manager, wanted only to go fast. How did this manager impress the chain of command with his specialized knowledge? He says, “My ability was largely due to having been the first person on the island to receive the repair manuals, which I memorized and then destroyed so as to become indispensable.”

After the war, he returned to his hometown near Bologna and opened a shop. Ferruccio is best known by his last name and that of his automobile company, Lamborghini.

The luxury high performance car manufacturer has gone through bankruptcy and through a series of owners including Chrysler (!). Lamborghini is currently owned, as of this writing, by Audi AG.

Italy and its German ally lost in WWII.

***

Your Business Professor was in a new car show room in the late 1980’s drooling over the Lamborghini Countach. The salesman would not let me sit in the angular 12-cylinder mid-engine monster-masterpiece. “You’re too tall,” he said. “The steering wheel does not adjust.” It was a polite blow-off. It might even have been true.

In the tradition of Ferruccio Lamborghini, one never knows.

Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. Matthew 5:15

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