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  • Writer's pictureLars Christensen

The Rational Manager by Charles H. Kepner & Benjamin B. Tregoe.



I finished this book in November 2022. I recommend this book 2/10.

I read the 1965 version, and there is a newer 1997 version. I did find it interesting that the book suggested promising places a manager might look for trouble 🙂 (See below.)

Get the new 1997 version here.

My notes and thoughts:

  • P23. A manager must rely more and more on skillful, rational questioning, and less and less on experience.

  • P75. Problem analysis worksheet:

    • Vertical

      • WHAT: Deviation Object.

      • WHERE: On object Observed.

      • WHEN: On object Observed.

      • EXTENT: How much, and How many.

      • Possible causes for test:

    • Horizontal

      • SPECIFICATION: IS

      • IS NOT

      • What is DISTINCTIVE of the IS?

      • Any CHANGE in this?

  • P127. An example of the above filled out.

  • P166. A Guide for making recommendations.

    • What was expected by leadership, or what should be happening?

    • What is actually wrong, and a precise description of it?

    • What is distinctive of the problem?

    • What has changed?

    • Possible causes that have been tested.

    • The basis for the determination of the cause.

  • P179. Seven basic concepts for decision making.

    • Setting objectives against which to choose.

    • Classifying objectives as to importance.

    • Developing alternatives from which to choose.

    • Evaluating alternatives against the objectives to make a choice.

    • Choosing the best alternative is a tentative decision.

    • Assessing adverse consequences from the choice.

    • Controlling effects of the final decision.

  • P191. Here are some promising places a manager might look for trouble:

    • People

      • Motivation and attitudes

      • Skills and abilities

      • Performance and productivity

      • Development and growth

      • Health and safety

    • Organization

      • Relationships among units, functions, persons

      • Communications

      • Responsibility and delegation

      • Formal and informal organization

      • Coordination

    • External Influences

      • Economic trends

      • Competition

      • Company image

      • Legal and government

    • Facilities and Equipment

      • Space

      • Flexibility and adaptability

      • Location

      • Compatibility

    • Ideas and Process

      • Security, proprietary position

      • Adaptability

    • Material

      • Sources and Availability

      • Quality

      • Handling and storage

    • Money

      • Capital or fixed

      • Costs and expenses

      • Return

    • Output

      • Quality

      • Quantity

      • Pace and timing

    • Personal

      • Goals and plans

      • Family

      • Strength and weaknesses

      • Interest

  • P195. To ensure the implementation, you should take the following five steps:

    • Set up controls and reporting procedures so that you can know the progress of your plan against the schedule worked out for putting it into effect.

    • Follow up on your orders to know that they have been received and understood.

    • Determine responsibility for carrying out your orders and verify that this is understood.

    • Set up specific reporting dates at which to measure the action being taken.

    • Set up a warning system that will tell you as early as possible if your plan is getting into trouble in any respect.


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