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Failure instead of success. 5 management rules that are no good

We all know the golden rules that are drummed into every young manager in order to become successful. Unfortunately, most of these approaches were developed by important theorists who have no idea how real management looks like.

Read this article in: Deutsch, English, Português

Estimated reading time:2minutes

And since those rules almost never lead to outstanding results, there are legions of average managers lingering in this world while great ones are rare individuals. 

If excellent management means handling issues highly efficiently, very fast and with high quality, those golden rules quickly turn into bullshit advice that top managers have to throw into the bin. 

Engage affected employees!

Whatever changes or developments you want to see in management: engage as many affected co-workers as possible in this process and benefit from a vast basis. 


Make sure to only have a few but authentic opinion makers with you who can also motivate the “interrupters” and act and not just talk. 

Define objectives!

If you want to lower your costs by 10%, you should define this clearly and demand concrete suggestions on how to achieve this. 


Instead, rather let your people think about under what conditions maximum savings can be achieved. You will see that your employees will be able to save more than 10%. The problem with defined objectives is that they will be achieved but rarely exceeded. 

Every meeting needs a clear agenda!

Schedule three hours and structure exactly who talks about which topic for how long. That way you’ll have a clear structure and no one on will be out of line. 


Meetings and workshops can always be shorter. You only have to think about what really needs to be decided. Communicate this at the beginning, then dive right into it and focus. Meetings don’t need agendas but lists of results. 

Make decisions unanimously!

Only decisions that have been made unanimously are viable agreements that will be implemented by everyone. 


Clarify before every decision: who owns the decision? If you have decided on a two thirds majority whether to drop an unprofitable customer then the skeptics are also bound to the decision. Unanimity weakens a decision. Afterwards you will keep this up. And if someone talks negatively about it in the canteen, you’ll have something to talk about. 

Plan and structure your projects!

As soon as you decide to implement a CRM system or launch into a new market, you need to develop a thorough plan and do everything possible to meet your milestones exactly. 


Plans don’t promote productivity but create unnecessary complexity. Instead of chasing activities, plans and milestones, you should write down how you’ll notice that you’re making progress. You’ll then aim for those parameters instead of managing activities that are often quite useful but still hardly necessary. They only make you busy and not productive.  

About the author

Matthias Kolbusa is management consultant, speaker, member of the German Association of the Club of Rome and author of various books for management & strategy. In addition, Matthias Kolbusa manages his company EXECUTIVE Consulting GmbH in Hamburg which is an international network of selected top management consultants. This article has originally been published on Linkedin.

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