The person who knows ‘how’ will always have a job. The person who knows ‘why’ will always be his boss.
Diane Ravitch (1938 – ), research professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education and former US Assistant Secretary of Education
Your short-term, or working, memory lasts a mere 5 to 20 seconds. At the end of those few seconds, when you don’t do something with the information you’ve just put into that short-term memory, it’s lost forever. So don’t slog on reading through the text — stop frequently to:
- think about what you’ve just read and link it to what you already know
- think about what it means to you personally (or better still) see yourself using it
- think about how you can use the information you’ve just read
- think about how you could explain this to someone unfamiliar with the subject
- repeat the key points to yourself (the more you repeat information, the more it ‘sticks’).
Take brief, key point notes to help send new information into your long-term memory. (Reviewing and discussing the material with a study partner or study group helps embed information in your long-term memory, too.)
Concentrate while you’re reading; when there is too much interference from your environment (conversation, music, TV …) it’s more difficult to retain new information.
Read ‘mindfully’. As you read through the text and case studies, look for general management principles as well as ‘exceptions to the rule’. A management principle is something that most managers have found to be true in most situations, which means that it can usefully guide your actions and decisions. Keep a list of these lasting management principles; some examples to start you off might be:
- Build a a strong and diverse team where people have the information and resources they need to excel.
- Build a strong culture that emphasises high performance, risk and safety awareness, innovation, and quality.
- Continually find ways to work faster, more efficiently and more economically.
- Identify and solve problems systematically.
- Keep updating your skills and your team’s and team member’s skills.
- Keep your work priorities and goals at the forefront of your mind and devote enough time to achieve them.
- Provide plenty of formal and informal feedback on performance to your work team and team members.
- Put the right person in the right job so everyone can work to their strengths and find job satisfaction.
- Treat people with respect.
Refer to and draw on these management principles when writing essays and answering end-of-chapter and case study questions, and look for the various ways the principles apply in everyday life—at work, in your studies and in your personal life.
It’s also a good idea to keep a vocabulary list, too. There is a full glossary at the end of the book where you can check terms you’re not sure about and you can also keep your own list of ‘new’ or confusing terms that you come across, as well as words that have a special meaning in the field of management. In order to become familiar with them, begin using these words in your discussions and essays straight away.
Note down any questions and information you’re not quite sure about, so you can go back later and check to see whether you now understand them; when you don’t, ask your teacher or study team to explain them.