I was dragged off to the gym this morning for a tabata circuit (which is a high intensity cardio workout). I know I need to exercise. I want to be fitter so I know it’s good for me. I almost died. The instructor was unrelenting in ensuring that each of us followed the drill and kept up the pace.

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Whenever there was the slightest deviation in pace or completion of the task individuals were publicly shamed and told to repeat the exercise. It had the desired effect. By the end of the session I was totally spent and got full value for my money. Left unsupervised in my own home gym I’m sure I would not have expended half the effort. So effectively a 50% improvement in my productivity as a result of direct supervision.

Herein lies the message.

Modern management theory preaches the virtues of empowering employees, self managing teams, hands off management approach, etc. Have we been pursuing the modern management panacea in vain? Is there an argument for the ‘no frills’ style of management where there is no beating around the bush – employees are told they are here to do a job and that their productivity will be supervised and they will be called to account.

imageWould a no frills management approach improve productivity in your business?

I look forward hearing your thoughts…… and to my next tabata circuit!