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The New Renaissance Man

The book In Search of Excellence (by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman) mentions work by Stanford’s Harold Leavitt on the management process. According to Leavitt, the managing process is an interactive flow of three variables:

At the time of writing, 1982, the focus on management was rational and analytic approaches to decision making. The other two variables being neglected by so called professional managers.

To provide example, several types of people were associated with each category.

Path Finding: poets, artists, entrepreneurs, and leaders who have put their personal stamp on some business.

Decision Making: systems analysts, engineers, MBAs, statisticians, and professional managers.

Implementation: psychologists, salesmen, teachers, social workers, and most Japanese managers — essentially those who get their kicks from working with other people.

The obvious point from all of this is that a manager needs a broad spread of skills across all of these areas. To be successful as a manager implies a generalist approach, with skills in many diverse areas, a focus on people and the ability to execute ideas — a Renaissance Man (or person in modern parlance).