Project Management

You might be a management red-neck if…

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You might be a management red-neck if…

Strategic Debt  — What it is and how to avoid it

Full disclosure...this is meant as tounge-in-cheek...sort was fun to write though....

The signature routine of American stand-up comedian Jeff Foxworthy is his “you might be a red-neck if…”. For example

“You might be a redneck if . . . you think you are an entrepreneur because of the “Dirt for Sale” sign in the front yard.”

So what does this have to do with management (and leadership too..)? Plenty. Especially if you are a manager in a traditional organization or one who continues to hang on to traditional approaches while everything else around you is changing. So how would you know if you might be a management red-neck?

You might be a management red-neck if…

  • you think you have the right to tell resources what to do, because well, you’re the manager
  • you think you need to tell resources what to do, because after-all, they are generally lazy and stupid anyway, and you’re the manager
  • you consider the time a resource spends at their desk an indicator of their productivity
  • you think the amount of documentation a resource creates while at their desk is an indicator of their productivity
  • you like to surround yourself by resources who are just like you are because you like resources who agree with you
  • you think it’s OK to take the credit for the work of your resources
  • you think it’s OK to call out one your resources in front of other resources
  • you’ve mastered management-speak and consider it a status symbol
  • you think status meetings are actually useful
  • you hold said status meetings every week
  • you like to hold said meetings because it shows you are the boss and you get to sit at the head of the table
  • you don’t see the distinction between reporting and actual progress on delivering something of value
  • you think being “the boss” is power and you like to tell every resource you meet that you are one, and have it
  • you think you have to make all of the decisions, because, you know, you’re the boss
  • you think having an office with walls is a status symbol (or worse, it’s just a larger cubicle than anyone else on your team has but you’re the boss so you get a bigger one…)
  • you think that negative feedback and “tough love” are the only way to get resources to do your bidding
  • you think that resources have to do your bidding without any questions
  • you think that knowledge is power, so you like to hoard it
  • you think it’s OK to watch another manager flounder because it will make you look better
  • you reward resources who thrive at fighting fires
  • you have no time for resources who like to avoid the fires in the first place
  • you will adhere blindly to a policy even when you know it will get the wrong results, because well, that’s the policy
  • you think outputs are more important than outcomes or business value
  • you’re now thinking “what the heck does he mean by business value?”
  • you refer to people as resources…and treat them as interchangeable pieces of raw material (see what I did there in the rest of the list :))

So what do you think? Any others you’d add?

PS: This is meant as humor…so if you are offended or if you see yourself in it, then you just might be a management red-neck… :) and I’m sorry to call it out…well not really…

The bright side is that we are never too old to change our ways!

Posted on: July 13, 2017 12:19 PM | Permalink

Comments (24)

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Thanks Lawrence for sharing, very interesting

LOL! Lawrence thanks for this great post. Really made my day :-) The next-to-last is the best, so subtle and powerful...

I've never heard of the word red-neck. I google it and the images and definition...seems a little derogative, isn't?

Maybe is for that, I didn't understand your entry.

@Mayte Foxworthy's stand-up act, like this piece, uses it as a light-hearted metaphor. In this case as a metaphor for manager's and leaders who do not get the modern workplace and the behaviors that are expected. It means they are stuck in the past. It's calling out what is not acceptable as way to treat people through some humor.

@Lawrence, thank you for your notes.

American humor sometimes is difficult for me. Still working on it :) Sincerely I went to a stand-up comedy a few months ago and still struggling to understand why the people laughed when the guy blame the public.

@Mayte My wife is I can appreciate exactly what you say! :) Some humor is cultural and requires deep language and cultural understanding to get. She sometimes translates Chinese humor for me when I ask her what is so funny...she's in hysterics laughing and I'm going "I don't get it"...

During one project that I participated, the chief in the other company been refered to the time a resource spend at their desk like "buttocks hours", and always said it does not means is productive by all the time is at their desk.
PS please remenber this is meant as humor

You might be a management red-neck if you think that waterfall makes your projects flow...

You might be a management red-neck if you think that using Scrum is what makes your company agile.

Good one, Aaaron

Haha... Now write one with the angle of Bill Engvall's Heeere's Your Sign routine.

You might be a redneck manager if you leave at noon, but expect everyone to stay till 6pm.
You might be a redneck manager if you insist everyone work the weekend, yet you forget to do the same.
I could go on and on...

Hey Larry, great piece of work.

I have one for you too.

You might be a management red-neck if you refer to people as "resources!"

See you soon! (I hope)

Dan - Hope to see you soon too

Very funny Larry. Great way to kick off a Friday!
Also....You might be a management red-neck if you think "Agile" refers to the yoga class down the hall.

What's really sad, almost every single one of these applied to one previous manager I had and he's still getting promoted.

@rick I had a few in mind that I have come across lately at some client sites while I wrote it... :) which is sad considering how young some of them are..

Awesome Read Lawrence..
this immediately reminded me that Reward and Expert are the two core principles which help a PM control the team and get the work done. Power is less famous as the traditional ways are eventually graduating to agile methods.

With so many lists telling us what to do, it's refreshing to also see lists that aide in telling us what NOT to do. ;)

Thanks Lawrence, a good laugh.
What about, if you are working 70 hours because your team cannot get anything done right.
My experience is that, funny enough, the more you actually control the output (e.g. every email written to a customer) the more the general quality of work diminishes. Why? Because the team figures out, that they don't need to care, because you will correct them anyway.
Hope to read you soon again.

Thanks Lawrence, great piece!

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