The following is an excerpt from The New Rational. Manager. You will be provided a paperback or ebook version of the book when you attend a Kepner-. One of the best-selling business books of all time with a newly updated Foreword for , The New Rational Manager, describes Kepner-Tregoe critical. Tregoe, Benjamin B. and Charles H. Kepner The New Rational Manager. Princeton, N.J.: Kepner-Tregoe, Inc. p. Book and jacket.
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One of the best-selling business books of all time, The New Rational Manager, describes Kepner-Tregoe critical thinking processes for effective leadership and . This edition of The New Rational Manager goes beyond individual skill building to capture some of what Kepner-Tregoe has learned about installing the. The New Rational Manager by Benjamin B. Tregoe, December , Kepner- Tregoe edition, Paperback in English.
Some were resolved; decisions were made to correct many more. The subordinates of this group of managers subsequently went through the same procedure. They learned to use the concepts, put them to work identifying and analyzing situations of major concern, and planned for continuing their analyses to the point of resolution. They then designated the next group of managers to follow suit. In this way, over a period of two months, eighty-four managers learned to use common approaches for addressing and resolving management concerns.
New systems and procedures were established to support continuing use of these approaches.
By his actions, the new president said these things loudly and clearly and everyone in the organization heard them: 1. This is one organization. By using common approaches to problems and decisions, we can work together cooperatively as parts of one organization. Everyone will use these approaches, beginning with me. You can think. Your knowledge and experience are irnportant.
You are in a position to use effectively the new approaches you have learned.
Aerospace and Defense
What you do with these approaches will have an important impact on the organization. You are all valuable members of the management team.
The climate of that organization changed as nearly overnight as human nature allows. People learned to talk about problems that had not been discussed openly until then. They learned how to communicate their good ideas so that others would listen and understand why they were good.
An Updated Edition for a New World
Through the use of systematic, commonly shared approaches, they solved many more problems and made better decisions than they had before. The question is academic. One element without the other could not have produced the same result. The president in this example let his people know he believed they could think, he wanted them-to express their ideas, he would listen, and they must listen to each other.
He provided them with new conceptual tools so they could do a better job of working with available information.
He led the way by using the new ideas himself. He established credibility for the new approaches by putting them to the test on real and important situations. He let people learn for themselves that the approaches worked in solving the kinds of concerns faced by the conglomerate and all its components.
He made a planned intermention into his organization. He introduced the kinds of major changes he believed would do the most good. He introduced a new idea to his people: I value your ability to think, to come up with good ideas, to express those ideas individually and cooperatively.
He introduced a means by which thinking could be coordinated and channeled. The climate of cooperation and teamwork followed and was a result of the intervention. Finally, he modified the systems and procedures of the organization to provide support for the continuing use of the new ideas.
The new president did not set out to build teamwork or group cohesiveness as desirable things that would somehow improve the operation of the company. He did not try to heal the scars of past in-fighting and conflict. He let teamwork, cohesiveness, and mutual respect grow out of the experience of working together with common guidelines and procedures.
He made sure the results of that experience-problems accurately identified and resolved, decisions well formulated and successfully implemented-were recognized and rewarded. Conditions for Workable Change For years social scientists have said that humans resist change-and so they do.
Humans embrace change that seems good for them or good for the world they live in and care about. A new idea or a new expectation, in itself, will seldom bring about change.
On the other hand, change can be very attractive if it is the product of a new idea or expectation that appears to be in the best interests of the people who are expected to adopt it, if it is accompanied by the means for its fulfillment, and if it results in recognition and approval.
To improve an organization, we must introduce good ideas, establish the means for making them work, and provide a visible payoff for the effort involved. No organization can reach its full potential unless it promotes and enjoys the coordination of productive activities among its members.
The more complex the activities of the organization, the more need there is for coorhnation if the organization is to flourish. No one knows it all anymore. Teamwork is an increasingly critical element in organizational success; fortunately, it is not difficult to achieve.
But teamwork must be managed into existence through experiences that are capable of producing teamwork. Four Basic Patterns of Thinking Teamwork can be managed into existence by teaching people to use consciously and cooperatively four basic patterns of thinking they already use unconsciously and individually.
It asks for a sorting out, a breaking down, a key to the map of current events, a means of achieving and maintaining control. It reflects the pattern of thinking that enables us to impose order where all had been disorder, uncertainty, or confusion.
It is the pattern that enables us to move from observing the effect of a problem to understanding its cause so that we can take appropriate actions to correct the problem or lessen its effects. This third basic pattern of thinking enables us to decide on the course of action most likely to accomplish a particular goal.
We use this fourth basic pattern of thinking when we attempt to assess the problem that might happen, the decision that might be necessary next month, next year, or in five years. Four kinds of questions. Four basic patterns of thinking.
Of course people ask other questions and think in other patterns. Nevertheless, every productive activity that takes place within an organization is related to one of these four basic patterns.
In the Beginning: Thinking Patterns for Survival The four basic patterns of thinking have not altered substantially since emergence of the human race. The patterns are universal and universally applicable to any situation.
Over rmllions of years, through natural selection these neurological structures-the patterns of thinking, response, and behavior that promoted survival-tended to be preserved and passed on; patterns with low survival value dropped out. Humans became adaptive problem solving in their way of life. The elements that made possible those patterns of thinking became part of human nature.
The ability to ask and answer the questions "What's going on? By accumulating answers to these questions, humans learned how to deal with complexity, how to discover why things are as they are, how to make good choices, and how to anticipate the future. But survival depended more often upon the acions of a group of individuals working together, perhaps as a hunting or foodgathering group. The group became a team by working together.
Teamwork ensured a food supply for everyone. Tearnwork ensured shelter, protection, and a basis for living in a brutally competitive world. There was a place for physical strength, but brains combined with strength counted for far more. Humans could separate a complex situation into its components, decide what had to be done, and determine when, how, and by whom it would be done. They could set priorities and delegate tasks. This was an integral part of human adaptability-the condition that permits us to change based on an assessment of "what's going on.
Twenty thousand years ago, the answers to "What's going on? In response, humans took the steps necessary for survival: move to a new location, alter eating habits, adopt better hunting practices. In short, this fundamental pattern of thinking enabled humans to prevail in a variety of surroundings and against an array of profoundly adverse conditions. Pattern 2: Cause and Effect The second basic pattern of thinking-the one that permits us to relate an event to its outcome, a cause to its effect-gave early man the ability to assign meaning to what he observed.
The earliest humans did not understand such natural events as birth, illness, and death, or the rising and setting of the sun. That understanding came much later through the accumulation, contemplation, and communication of observations about their world. Small children constantly ask, "But why?
This desire is so basic that even an inaccurate explanation of a puzzling fact is preferable to none at all.
Early man was satisfied with an explanation of a universe that revolved around the activities of supernatural beings. It was far preferable to no explanation at all for such readily perceived phenomena as the changing nature of a star-filled sky. Even today we have relatively few answers to the gigantic puzzle of the universe, but the answers we do have are comforting. The thinking pattern we use to relate cause and effect is as basic and natural as the pattern we use to assess and clarify complex situations.
Both enable us to survive, flourish, and maintain a true measure of control over our environment. Pattern 3: Making Choices The third basic pattern of thinking enables us to make reasoned choices. It is the pattern that permitted early man to decide whether to continue the hunt all night or wait until morning, hide in this cave or that tree, camp on this or that side of the river.
Productive, coherent action-as opposed to simple reaction to the event of the m o m e n t 4 e p e n d s on a sound basis for choice. In a hostile environment populated with larger, stronger, and faster creatures, random action too often could have only one end for early man, and that sudden. The development of sophistication in the making of choices, along with goal setting and consideration of the consequences of one action as opposed to another, meant that humans could sometimes eat tigers instead of vice versa.
The choice-making pattern gives rise to three major activities: Determination of purpose to what end the choice is being made.
Consideration of available options how best to fulfill the purpose. Assessment of the relative risks of avdable options which action is likely to be safest or most productive. But whatever the balance, however complex the choice, these three factors determine the kinds of choices humans have always made and continue to make.
Pattern 4: Anticipating the Future The fourth basic pattern of thinking enables us to look into the future to see the good and bad it may hold. This ability to imagine and construe the future, even a little way ahead and that imperfectly, gave our ancestors a tremendous advantage.
It permitted them to anticipate the storm and the snake, the starvation of winter, the thirst of summer. Future-oriented thinking was made possible largely by the superior development of cause-and-effect thinking the second basic pattern described above.
Humans learned to apply their knowledge of causeand-effect relationships: of what had happened, and why, to what could happen and what the future might hold.
They learned to take actions in the present against the possible and probable negative events of the future. Although preventive action is as old as the human race, the thinking pattern that produces this action is less successful than our other patterns.
Unfortunately, the future carries less urgency than the present. Early man learned to keep some of the food of summer against the ravages of winter-but the supply was rarely adequate. The importance of the future tiger, the future fire, or future starvation was small compared with the immediacy of the tiger five yards away, the threat of fire visibly approaching, or the reality of imminent starvation.
Even today we face the unfulfilled potential of this fourth basic pattern of thinking: the ability to plan ahead, to take action today against the negative events of tomorrow. Basic Patterns of Thinking in the Organizational Context Kepner-Tregoe has developed four basic rational processes for using and sharing information about organizational concerns.
6 kepner ch and tregoe bb the new rational manager
These processes are systematic procedures for making the best possible use of the four patterns of thinking. This is why the Kepner-Tregoe processes are universally applicable regardless of cultural setting, regardless of the content against which they are applied. Whether managers are Japanese, Canadian, or Brazilian, they are all equipped-as a result of common human experiences-with identical, unchangeable patterns of thinking.
It is only content that changes. Situation Appraisal The rational process based on the first thinking pattern is called Situation Appraisal. It deals with the question "What's going on? When a management situation occurs, the avadable information is usually a confusion of the relevant and the irrelevant, the important and the inconsequential.
Before anything reasonable or productive can be done, the confused situation must be sorted out so that its components can be seen in perspective. Priorities must be set and actions delegated. There must be some means of keeping track of information as old situations are resolved and new ones take their place. Situation Appraisal is designed to identify problems to be solved, decisions to be made, and future events to be analyzed and planned.
Therefore, we must understand the rational processes applicable to these areas before studying the techniques and procedures of Situation Appraisal itself. For this reason Situation Appraisal is presented in Chapter Seven, following the explanation of the three remaining rational processes: Problem Analysis, Decision Analysis, and Potential Problem Analysis. Problem Analysis The second rational process, called Problem Analysis, is based on the cause-and-effect thinking pattern.
It enables us to accurately identify, describe, analyze, and resolve a situation in which something has gone wrong without explanation. It gives us a methodical means to extract essential information from a troublesome situation and set aside irrelevant, confusing information. Problem Analysis is explained in Chapter Two, and examples of its use are presented in Chapter Three.
Using this process, we can stand back from a decision situation and evaluate its three components. We can analyze the reasons for making the decision and examine its purpose. We can analyze the available options for achieving that purpose. We can analyze the relative risks of each alternative. From this balanced picture of the situation, we can then make the wisest and safest choice-the one that has emerged after careful consideration of all the factors.
Decision Analysis is explained in Chapter Four, and examples of its use are presented in Chapter Five. Potential Problem Analysis The fourth rational process is based on our concern with future events-with what might be and what could happen. We call it Potential Problem Analysis. A potential problem exists when we can foresee possible trouble in a given situation. No one knows for sure that trouble will develop, but no one can guarantee that it wdl not.
This process uses what we know or can safely assume in order to avoid possible negative consequences in the future. It is based on the idea that thinking and acting beforehand to prevent a problem is more efficient than solving a problem that has been allowed to develop.
This rational process enables an organization to take an active hand in shaping its future. Chapter Six deals with the ways organizations have used Potential Problem Analysis to reduce the number and severity of their problems. These processes are basic and natural. Unfortunately, they cannot be put to work automatically, used equally well by all humans, or used on a shared basis.
Why should this be so? Some people develop better ways than others. Some may be only moderately skilled in, say, cause-and-effect thinking but exceptionally good at communicating their conclusions.
They may be more successful than others who are more skdled but less communicative. The way a person thinks can be deduced only by observing that person's behavior and paying careful attention to his or her conclusions. What information was used and how it was used remain invisible. So we have a two-fold need, complicated by the fact that we are often unaware even of our own thinking patterns.
The actual level of skill in thinking-about problems, decisions, and all other organizational concerns-needs to be as high as it can be. That level of skill rises when people have grasped the techniques of rational processes and have learned to apply their basic thinking patterns to management concerns. That's the easy part. It is more difficult for people to learn to think together.
How can we achieve teamwork in an activity as individual and internal as thinking? Teamwork in the use of patterns of thinking does not just happen. As discussed earlier, it must be contrived, consciously planned, or unconsciously fostered through the closeness and visibility of the team members. A group may become a team of sorts simply by working together on a particular task for a long enough time. They may come to understand each other's roles in a common task. They may come to appreciate each other's ways of thinking and learn to accommodate to individual idiosyncrasies in the way information is used.
Although a workable ' set of effective and appropriate compromises may emerge from this context, this group is not yet the full-scale, multipurpose team that can truly share in the thinking process. Hunting and Gathering: Models of Superior Teamwork We can gain insight into what is useful in today's organizations by speculating on the achievement and consequences of teamwork exhibited by our earliest ancestors. Teamwork is perceived as a precious commodity today, and the earliest humans had it down pat.
Hunting and food-gathering groups were smallprobably fifteen to forty people of all ages. The young learned from the old through intimate contact and close observation. Old and young pooled their intellectual resources by talking about what they saw. They thought aloud-a characteristic typical of people who live together closely.
In this way they acquired commonly understood meanings for their words. Their language became expressive of d e t d , of fine distinctions of form, color, texture, and of thoughts and feelings. They developed few abstract terms. The languages of hunting and gathering groups that survive today retain these characteristics, suggesting how life's business probably was conducted by early man. Although there is no difference between their mental processes and ours, early man's need for communication led to a language rich in concrete, literal words that were open to verification and that had explicit definitions within a shared reality.
With a common experience of their environment and a common set of terms to describe it, the members of a hunting team functioned more as a single coordinated body than any comparable modern group. The leader was the most proficient and skdlful but there was no need for him to give orders and "directions. Everyone understood what was to be done, who could do it best, and how to mesh individual efforts into a concerted whole. Entire vocabularies were committed to sign language to preserve silence.
Hundreds of words could be expressed by formalized gestures instantly and commonly understood. It is little wonder that hunting and gathering people were able to achieve such a high order of coordination and teamwork in their activities. It was as though they carried on-board headbone computers commonly programmed with a single shared set of routines and instructions. With these computers so closely abgned, even a little information was sufficient to trigger a common understanding among all those who received it: They knew what the information meant and what was to be done.
There was little ambiguity or uncertainty in the treatment of and response to an input. Success and survival depended upon everyone's getting the same message at the same time. Teamwork among humans probably reached its highest point of development with the hunting peoples, immediately before the advent of agriculture.
This teamwork was made pos- sible by possession of a common language to express and share a common way of thinking. The domestication of plants and animals doomed the hunting life, No longer was it necessary for the members of a band to think and exist in so parallel a fashion.
Now there was speciahzation of function. Groups became larger, and diverse social and political units appeared. Now there was room for different beliefs and behavior. Gone was the economic uncertainty of hunting and gathering, but gone also was the closeness such a Me imposed. The intense teamwork of the hunting group disappeared forever; the luxury of individual thought and individual interpretation of ideas had arrived.
Applying the Model: Needs of the Modern Organization No one in his right mind wants to go back to the days of hunting and gathering. But it would be tremendously valuable if we could recapture that ability to work together with even a fraction of that efficiency to deal better with modern problem situations. Now, through contrivance and planning, we can recapture that ability and channel it to meet the needs of the modern organization. This is not to say that the organizational team will somehow represent a modern hunting group armed with ballpoint pens instead of bows and arrows.
Hunters' ways of thinking were totally aligned, and their lives were totally aligned. What is required today is not total teamwork in all aspects of life; rather, it is a selective, functional teamwork that can be turned on when needed, limited to those activities where it will be most productive.
What is required is teamwork that can be summoned to handle organizational problems yet leave team members free to act as individuals in all other respects. We need an approach that can be invoked and sh;xed when we need answers to specific questions, regardless of content: the "What's going on? These man must be modernized, selectively adapted to current conditions, and directed toward the critical functions of organizational activity where teamwork is most essential. AU of this can be done.
It is just what was done by the company president who spoke earlier in this chapter. He brought into his organization a common language and common approaches for using the four basic patterns of thinking that produce orderliness, resolve problems, make good choices, and protect against future threats. His people learned to share this language and use these approaches. Their acceptance of his new and different modus operandi came as a result of their own experience.
The new, common language they learned was not a long list of jargon that required a month to memorize. It consisted of down-to-earth words and phrases that convey an exact meaning to everyone exposed to that language. Such sentences as "I'm not sure you really understood what I meant" were heard less and less frequently. The new, common approaches worked when they were applied to real situations within the organization.
The individual payoff for adopting the new behavior was great; the organizational payoff was greater. The people of the organization soon were equipped to act as a team in the fullest sense of the word. Rational Management Such results begin to occur only after planning and plain hard work. Rational management, which means making full use of the thinking ability of the people in a n organization, is a continuing process.
Use of the ideas-and their benefits-will eventually fade out if they are not continually used and reinforced.
Rational Management aims at major change and therefore demands major commitment. The four rational processes we will describe in the next several chapters constitute an explicit, logical system that can have a far-reaching impact within an organization. But this system cannot be introduced by halfheartedly sprinkling a few ideas and suggestions among a random mix of the organization's people in the hope that something good will happen. We must identlfy their subordinates and the people who provide them with information.
We must identlfy those who will implement the conclusions that come out of the use of the ideas. In short it is imperative to pinpoint all the people within an organization who make things happen. The objective is to move the organization closer to its full potential.
This can be done only by introducing teamwork based on the continuing conscious use of common approaches expressed in a simple, common language and directed toward resolution of an organization's important concerns.
While people in an organization enjoy the rewards that go with success, they also enjoy the process that produces success. A situation analysis will clarify the distinctions in all these processes and as a result it will be possible to search for suitable solutions.
This situation analysis provides an insight into necessity, priority and urgency of the various tasks. When it has become clear which tasks are to be prioritized action list preparations can be made for potential problems. By using a good problem analysis in advance, a process will be created to prevent future problems or in emergencies, to limit the damage. Certain causes are therefore excluded. Through research Charles Kepner and Benjamin Tregoe discovered that the registration of a problem is not a uniform process.
In spite of the available information, people usually process information badly, misinterpret this or overlook important matters. They discovered that a predetermined logical method facilitates the search for the causes of a problem. Apart from the fact that the Kepner Tregoe Method leads to an explanation of problems, it also helps improve mutual understanding within an organization. Moreover, it also helps improve clear communications with customer and suppliers, production quality, customer service and anything related to maintenance and repairs.
Do you recognize the practical explanation or do you have more suggestions? What are your success factors for the good Kepner Tregoe Method set up? Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below. If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our Free Newsletter for the latest posts on Management models and methods. More information Lussier, R.This caused Number One Filter to leak.
For example: "There is no way we can meet our deadline on the project with our present staff and no way we can get authorization to bring on anyone new.
How can we achieve teamwork in an activity as individual and internal as thinking? Two changes operating in combination may produce a performance deviation that one of those changes alone cannot. Sure enough, word comes back that Olson is deeply involved. To improve an organization, we must introduce good ideas, establish the means for making them work, and provide a visible payoff for the effort involved.
We found that most of these decisions were bad because certain important pieces of available information had been ignored, dscounted, or given insufficient attention.
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