Thursday, November 20, 2014

Interview with Glenn Bassett, author of The Manager's Craft


Title: The Manager's Craft
Author: Glenn Bassett
Publisher: Organization Diagnostics
Pages: 216
Genre: Business
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Almost any job or profession you can think of has a set of specific requirements for knowledge and skill that must be mastered. Managing and supervising the work of others is an exception. In part that is because the job of managing requires a range of social and technical skills that can vary widely depending on business circumstance. An infinite diversity of technologies, materials, markets and work skills can figure into the mix of the manager’s job. The manager may be asked to coordinate technically skilled team players, or, alternatively, may need to discipline the application of basic skills to achievement of production goals. Materials may be common or exotic. Customers may have influence over or little concern for product quality and design. Work skills may be common or rare. Technology may be critical or peripheral.

Some central managerial skills like accounting and finance can be trained. Mostly, they are dealt with as competences that are best left to specialists. Highly technical problems that demand specific training are, in general, treated as staff support jobs. The part of the job that always stays with the manager is that of working with and through other people to achieve cost-effective productivity using formal authority, personal influence, economic incentives and an understanding of organizing processes. As skill sets, these are very difficult to define. They blend and merge to become a personal suite of action strategies that are put to use as needed. Formal education and training can provide a summary focus, but only practice and experience can make them effective working tools. Much of managing and supervising is thus learned from experience on the job. The manager’s challenge is to find a mentor who can guide him/her past the most critical traps and blunders.

Much that passes for management training is, unfortunately, superficial or just wrong. Economic incentives are clearly basic but always insufficient. Application of authority is indispensable but can backfire or fail. Motivational programs can turn out to be all PR and noise. Workers may be satisfied and unproductive. Cost control measures can gut the core of product quality. Balancing it all can be a juggling act that daunts average intellectual and social skill. Managing and supervising skills can be learned on the job if failure is tolerated. Only limited trial and error can be accepted. The best available advice and mentoring is required for survival over the long course. The chapters of this book will provide the working manager with the knowledge necessary to accelerate learning and skill mastery. When put together in a coherent, working package through experience, that mastery rises to the professional level.

The author, Dr. Glenn Bassett, applies his unusual range of practical and professional experience to defining and clarifying the requisite skill and knowledge. From his background as a working personnel executive, professor of management, GE corporate staffer, social science researcher, consultant and business school dean he critically and synergistically sorts out the realities of sound management practice. He deals with issues of authority and discipline rationally and realistically, disposing summarily of nearly all standard motivational theory. He challenges commonly offered “principles” of management showing that many are misleading or illusory. He lays out the principles of worker productivity that a manager must grasp to control cost and quality. What emerges is a description of the Manager’s Craft that summarizes the knowledge and skill required of the working manager who must exercise control in the workplace, build commitment among colleagues, and sustain high quality, cost-effective productivity. This is an intellectually rigorous analysis applied to achievement of practical managerial results. This is The Manager’s Craft.

For More Information

  • The Manager's Craft is available at Amazon.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life, Glenn.  Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
 
A:  My hand writing has always been atrocious.  Don’t know why, just is.  Shortly after arriving on campus at Cal Berkeley as an undergraduate, I was advised by a kindly professor that if I wanted to get any kind of grade on my papers I had better get a typewriter.  I had trained as a typist, so it was not hard to make the switch over.  In this intellectually stimulating environment I quickly discovered that words flowed from my fingers effortlessly, almost magically, and that I could express myself eloquently on a keyboard.  I’ve been wedded to that keyboard ever since.  

Q: Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

A:  The Manager’s Craft is a practitioner’s guide to effective management of people.  It is not a book of theory, opinion or inspirational rhetoric.  It is the end result of a career long study of human relations in a formal organizational setting founded on  several score of applied research projects and experience as a working manager in both industry and academia. 

Q: What were some of the biggest challenges you faced writing it?

A:  The biggest challenge may have been breaking off the writing for meals and bedtime.  The material flowed effortlessly from start to finish.
 
Q: Do you have a press kit and what do you include in it?  Does this press kit appear online and, if so, can you provide a link to where we can see it?

A:  The press kit can be found on my web site, www.glennbassett.com.

Q: Have you either spoken to groups of people about your book or appeared on radio or TV?  What are your upcoming plans for doing so?

A:  I am confident and fluent in public presentations and am always open to speaking engagements.  Plans are in progress. 
 
Q: Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/she is?  If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

A: I have agent but he has not succeeded in selling the book, probably because it is not a mass market item.  

Q: Did you, your agent or publisher prepare a media blitz before the book came out and would you like to tell us about it?

A: I did a personal media blitz with business editors across the US that was initially promising but I was unable to followup adequately without the help of a group like New Shelves.  
 
Q: Do you plan subsequent books?

A:  I have another book coming out soon titled WordPlay; How Words Captivate, Illuminate, Intimidate, Inform and Imbue Us With Intelligence.
  
Q: Thank you for your interview, Glenn. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

A: Most bookstores and standard on-line sources have the book in stock for shipment.  The e-book version is also available online.


Dr. Glenn Bassett is Professor Emeritus of Management and former Dean of Business at the University of Bridgeport.  A graduate of Berkeley and Yale, as well as a former corporate staffer at General Electric, Dr. Bassett’s career has focused on applied Social Psychology.  WordPlay is the result of exended research into the science of psycholinguistics. He is the author of numerous articles and published books, including The Managers Craft. For More Information