What in the world is everyone talking about when they talk about management?

Primarily, they're talking about control.

Managers control things. People. Results. The stuff we do every day to make sure nothing goes wrong, to make sure that we're sailing smoothly.

And yet, no matter how many managers we hire, and how many things they do, and how many results they're accountable for, and how hard they work, and how much they care, something always-and I mean always-goes wrong.

Why is that? Why is it that no matter how hard we try to control everything, most things seem to have a mind of their own?

I suggest-and rather strongly-that it's the belief held by most business owners that successful managers are people with some sort of "management skills" that are to blame. It's our belief that people can be depended on to do what they say they're going to do that gets in our way. Not only because we hire managers with false and impossible-to-realize expectations, but no matter how often our expectations are proven to be unrealistic, we hold on to them with everything we've got. Because to change our perception of what's true would mean we would have to accept the fact that people can't be depended on to do what they say they're going to do. If that's true, then we all need to set about discovering what we can depend on, and that's the management system each and every single one of our managers needs to become expert at, and use.

It's not the person, it's the system.

It's not how much our managers care, or how hard they try; it's how well they've been trained in "the way we do it here." The Action Plan. The Controlling Calendar. The standards by which we measure our performance. The Benchmarks. The due dates. The accountability. The way in which we monitor the system. Knowing that something is always going to go wrong, but because we're watching it, seeing it, understanding what we've committed to do, and by when, and by whom, and for how much, we can then begin to understand, with true oversight, what it is we've jointly committed to, and what our expectations actually are. Not of the manager, but of the process through which a result is expected to be produced.

But who's got time to do all that, and do the job, too?

Just about everyone asks me that when I haul out my Management 101 primer, which says: "If you don't have a system for doing it, you aren't going to get it done."

Unless you're lucky, that is.

To be successful, you need to discover the way to produce a specific result in your business. And through that discovery, you need to then determine how you can consistently replicate that specific result. That becomes the intellectual property of your rarified organization, and the specific quality you deliver to each and every manager who takes on the task of first, being committed, and second, committed to knowing the truth. And third, committed to doing what's true, or of finding a way to improve it.


Michael Gerber is the founder and chairman of E-Myth Worldwide, where he invented a revolutionary small-business development system that's been proven in thousands of businesses across the globe. Since 1977, Gerber has been sharing his business success strategies with millions of fans of his E-Myth books, audiotapes and programs. As a business-coaching pioneer and bestselling author, Gerber has changed the face of small business by providing entrepreneurs with an innovative and stunningly clear understanding, capability and process to transform any small business into a world-class enterprise.