“Story of the Stone” by Ton Voogt

What a nice surprise. Reading the “Story of the Stone” also known as “The Dream of the Red Chamber”, the number one famous Chinese novel written by Cao Xueqin about 1760 management advises that I like to pass on to you.

Xi Feng is asked to take over the management of an other household (company) immediately. The lady of the house died unexpectedly. Before entering the job she made clear agreements with the master of the House about the results and the lines of command. Who to report to; the freedom to make decisions. The rules of communication and support. All in one page and so clear. I hope every manager can tell that in five minutes.

The evening before she shows up in the household she asks herself: “What will be big problems in a household that cause most trouble?” People do not take responsibilities originating of no clear division of labour and responsibilities. People are constant dissatisfied because they do not have clear output agreements. Problems are not solved because nothing has consequences: no rewards and no punishments related to the performance. Probably a lot of money will be lost: no one is responsible. The cooperation will be very poor when everyone is focussed on his own benefit. Probably no serving attitude to each other.

Her first act early in the morning is to set clear responsibilities, output standards and communication (report and support) rules. And she says: “do not make the remark: this does not fit, here we do things differently. Now all is done in the way I tell you”. May be look for “a Xi Feng” to handle your company.

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