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Submitted by cwatine on


The first time I saw MT material, I felt there was a gem here that I could use for improving the management in my company.
However, in my first communication to Mark and Mike, I said that "adaptations will have to be done if I wanted to use your technics in France". Mark politely replied he did not think so. [b]"it's not culture it's management".[/b]

He is right. I have been able to use the Tools just as they were presented and each time I "adapted" them, [b]they worked less efficiently[/b].

Last night, I was listening to a radio show on the road. It was the interview of an ex big group manager who has written a book about "how to climb the company ladder". It was a cynical list of tricks and comments about how to manage without working, to play politics, to look positive, to delivre an unclear message, to make projects from peer go wrong, etc.

I was absolutely furious to hear that guy destroy (again) the image of management and companies ! Most of the French are very negative about companies, and this kind of pamphlets and comments from uninformes journalists play a big role in that. It is not so fair away from a crime in my opinion.
I sometimes feel that French are the world champions in hurting themselves and it makes me mad.

Clooney said in a recent interview at Cannes that what he likes in the USA is their capacity to get enthousiastic, even in a manner that could be seen by us European as been "naive". "The older a culture, the more cynical the people", he said. I could not agree more.

We need enthousiasm in our management, not cynism.

Manager Tools can change things here. We need it, guys.

bflynn's picture

Without saying too much, let me assure you it is not limited to France. We have the same problems in the US, I personally know a manager who follows those principles you describe. The good news is that nobody can keep it up forever. Eventually it catches up with them.

Ignore this. Stay focused on you. When you talk to people who have interest in your job, tell them your positive view. You'll be seen as the "exception" who is the good manager.


thaGUma's picture

Cedric, I shared your thoughts and 'dialed back' to suit a more conservative business culture. I am still undecided.

I was interested in your reference to French work attitude and risking offence I was amazed at the recent 'le pont' between two bank holidays when the UK papers reported some factories close production assuming 90% absenteeism. Is this true?

Don't forget that when working hours are levelled out, France is one of the most productive countires in the world based on added value. So you are definately getting something right.


CalKen's picture


I sympathize with your position. Do you believe that this is a part of French business culture as a whole and not just your company? As donnachie mentioned, the French are still very efficient on a per-hour productivity basis, even more than the United States I believe. So, all things being equal, if the management style in France is the same as in America I would wonder what would explain the differences in efficiency.

I just finished re-reading William Deming's "The New Economy" and it reminded me of the inefficiency of the United States business culture. Much of it is predicated on competition which in and of itself is counterproductive and destructive. For example, in my organization we have two divisions that provide the same services to the company as a whole but instead of agreeing to focus on what they do best (they each have different strengths) they compete directly for inter-company business. I could only imagine how much more efficient the company would be if they would focus the money wasted on this competition on the competition and making our products more efficient and less costly.

cwatine's picture
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Thank you for your comments.

In my opinion, it is in the French culture to be very very negative about companies and entrepreneurs.
I have a lots of friends who are not working for companies (teachers, for example) and I am always stunned by their opinion about companies and each time I remind them I am a company owner I get the same : "oh yeah, but we are not talking about you but about the others". And when I ask them how they are able to know anything about the companies as they have no experience of working in a company they refer to "what they hear on the radio". This is really a problem because those people teach to our children their vision of the company ...
I have several example about how stupid journalist can be when they talk about companies. Just another example : one journalist said it was a scandal to see a company owner to go to church after he had fired someone !

All this anti-company attitude makes "management" a complicated thing and most of the people here see management as :
- either an evil manipulation technique
- or a skill you have when you are born or not

The result is that it is complicated to explain to managers that management is just a skill :
- that CAN be learned (it is not a "gift" from birth)
- that HAS to be learned because it is the major competitive advantage for a company

About productivity of French people : yes it is a French Paradox ! We have got one of the highest productivity per hour in the world. And also one of the highest number of off-days.
About "les ponts" : May is most of the time the worst month for making business. This time we had two 3-day weeks and one 4-day week !

But lets be positive and ... now imagine : Manager Tools + French productivity = incredible results ... That's what we are doing here ...