Stop & Think: In Favor Of “Slow Management” | Think First

Slow Management?I think we do it wrong. And I do not wring the bundle speaking in the third person. In most organizations, from middle management to senior management, they are immersed in a kind of frenzied activity that consumes 110% of their time, drains their energy reserves and brings them home exhausted … and this is one of the behaviors that are most rewarded in companies where the value of a leader is proportional to the hours and “mess” that supports …But does this make sense?

Slow ManagementSlow Management

In my opinion, a large part of the crisis in which we are involved and that grips the economy and even our aspirations as an Organization is largely originated precisely by this behavior . And this is because it seems that every day at the beginning of our journey we find ourselves at a crossroads, in which the two mutually exclusive options are:

Most of the time (if not always) we end up choosing the first option, since it produces a certain feeling of guilt (” I am neglecting my work “) not to completely fill our agenda … Well, I have a comment about it:

Have we gone crazy? Stand and Think!

In a similar way to the philosophy ” slow food ” proposes, among other things, eating more slowly and enjoying what we are eating, as well as the social aspects of food, I would like to break a spear by ” slow management ” .

In this management philosophy, the important thing is not the number of issues solved at the end of the day (only), but to reflect on how we are going to focus them, and to consider from a more strategic and long-term point of view how we should solve a problem ( from a ” sustainable ” approach ). This does not mean “being” slow (it is clear that each time we must move in faster and changing environments ), but before we start moving we stop to think what is the best way to do it , without acting without thinking.

Precisely the work of a good leader must explicitly contemplate the need to reserve a part of the week to reflect on the strategic plan on the progress of the organization / area / department that directs, and on “unimpressive” things today and now, as take care of the members of the team, what are the challenges that as an organization we will find in the coming months (and how to anticipate them) or how to improve the experience of our clients (and it does not matter if they are external or internal) … My advice is no fill the agenda under no circumstances to more than 80% of its capacity. You have to remember the things of Slow Management.

In addition, this way of behaving transmits several pernicious messages to the team , such as the fact that the important thing is the ” amount of work”, and not the results ( another of the blights that has led us to the situation of low productivity of our companies ). And above, as a side effect, the team feels discouraged to convey their concerns to the leader, as it seems that he has no time for anything …. And also, given that the organizational culture tends to go from top to bottom , we will be perpetuating this attitude without wanting it in the layers of middle management …

And is that all these issues are closely linked to what we understand by productivity : In one of the courses I give, called ” Strategic Direction of your life “, I try to convey to students that our life behaves similarly to an organization, and that we must establish a Strategic Plan on which to develop the “strategic lines” that will enhance (from the point of view of productivity, and understanding as strategic lines the roles we assume). This happens by understanding that productivity is not doing MORE things, but doing them BETTER ( which, interestingly, ends up resulting in more holes … that we should not cover with another wave of tasks!) …and above all, work in the long term.

The fact of taking time to think calmly about these issues not only allows us to be able to lead our teams in a more effective way but also to stop having that reductionist point of view that characterizes a large part of our managerial layer and start having the overview. This is the best thing Slow Management.

As an example, the funny parody of how blind we can be:

Memorandum of a human resources managerMemorandum of a human resources manager

The general director of a major company received two tickets for a gala audition of the “Unfinished Symphony” by maestro Franz Schubert that the Symphony Orchestra would do in the theater of the city. Since he had a previous appointment and could not attend the concert, he decided to give the tickets to the Director of the Human Resources department. Always remember this things of Slow Management.

The next day, the director of culture asked him if he had liked the music of Schubert and instead of expressing his gratitude for the gift received, the engineer gave him a memorandum where he analyzed the functions of the orchestra. The memo said:


After thanking him for his gift of the tickets for the concert of Schubert which I attended with my wife last night, because of the position with which I am honored in this company, I am obliged to mention some problems that we perceive from the box.

  1. For long periods the oboes had nothing to do. I think that the number of them should be reduced and the work distributed among the rest of the orchestra, thus avoiding the frequent moments of inactivity.
  2. I also observed that the twelve violins executed the same notes. In my opinion, this is an unnecessary duplication and the personnel of that section should be drastically reduced. If what is required is a greater volume of sound, it is better to use a good amplification system.
  3. There was a lot of effort in the execution of the semifusions: in my opinion, this is an unnecessary refinement. Therefore, it is recommended to round all notes to the nearest sixteenth note; in this way expert musicians could be replaced by beginner musicians who are less expensive.
  4. I find the repetition with wind instruments of the passages that already interpreted the strings useless. If all the redundant passages were eliminated, the concert could be reduced from two hours to twenty-five minutes with the same results.
  5. I also find useless the physical presence of the timbal performer, who works little and could be replaced by an oboist in the times that remains inactive.
  6. Since each musician has his score in front, I consider the role of director to be useless, since his work does not add value to the orchestra, and even the baton he uses does not produce any sound.

According to this analysis, I can affirm that if the composer Franz Schubert had been aware of the ideas of Human Resources, he would definitely have been able to conclude his symphony and be more efficient in the use of the orchestra and time.Don’t forget about the things of Slow Management.

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