• Lars 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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