Sunday, February 20, 2011

Organisational Behaviour Lecture Series - Part 8 - VON MANSTEIN MATRIX

Organization Behavior
Individual Group and Organisational Processes
How to Categorize Human Resources

Human Resources are the most precious asset of an organisation. 

Hence, before we try to “manage” Human Resources it may be prudent to classify your employees into suitable categories based on certain attributes.

The Von Manstein Matrix is an excellent paradigm to categorize your organisation’s Human Resources, especially the Executive or Officer level employees.

General Von Manstein identified four types of officers in the German Officer Corps of the army. I think this categorisation applies to employees most organisations even today.



As per Von Manstein, the first category comprises the lazy, stupid ones. He suggests that they be left alone as they do no harm. Maybe one reason for this is that lazy and stupid people rarely do much active harm. The harm they do is more often based on missing opportunities and stifling the creativity of those who report to them. Sometimes they are the unavoidable “baggage” or “passengers” you have to carry along.



The second category comprises the hard-working, intelligent individuals. These are excellent staff officers who ensure every detail is accurate. The hardworking and intelligent lot make competent administrators and line managers who can take orders from above and deliver the desired results.



In the third category are the hard-working, stupid ones. These, hardworking “idiots”, according to Von Manstein, are a nuisance and menace and must be fired at once because they only create irrelevant work for everybody and force everyone around them to perform pointless tasks and are a pain in the neck for everyone around them.



And finally there are the lazy, intelligent ones. These select few are suited for the highest office. Laziness stimulates creativity because lazy people are always looking for easier, simpler, and less laborious ways to do things, so they try and innovate. And if a lazy person is also intelligent he or she will certainly be a fantastic and ingenious innovator. Lazy people are also natural delegators so they find it very attractive to let their subordinates get on with their work without interference from above. Lazy, intelligent employees make natural leaders as they focus on the essentials and ignore anything that might make for unnecessary work, whether for themselves or other people. It is the lazy intelligent top managers who indeed make great strategists and leaders.


Dear Reader, now you know how to reach the “top” don’t you?

Why don’t you look around your workplace and confirm the accuracy of the Von Manstein Matrix.

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

VIKRAM KARVE educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale, and Bishop's School Pune, is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, a Human Resource Manager and Trainer by occupation, a Teacher by vocation, a Creative Writer by inclination and a Foodie by passion. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. He has written a foodie book Appetite For A Stroll and a book of fiction short stories COCKTAILwhich is being published soon. At present he is busy writing his first novel and with his academic work and assignments. Vikram lives in Pune with his family and pet Doberman girl Sherry, with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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