Not many people are aware that the 18th of January is Winnie-the-Pooh day. Here at Smarta, we have become very aware of the day, and have been trying to look for some connection between Winnie the Pooh and running your own business. We managed to find a rather peculiar book with the exact connection we were starting to think didn’t exists! “Winnie-the-Pooh on Management (In which Very Important Bear and his friends are introduced to a Very Important Subject)” wrote by Roger E. Allen (1925-2008) an associate of Allen Associates, a management consulting firm.
Below we have selected one of the key parts of the book and as Winnie-the-Pooh pointed it out “These all look like ‘Whats.’ It’s the ‘Hows’ that I have a trouble with.” And if you do have a trouble with understanding ‘Hows’ in management please see the link at the bottom of the page to where you can get this Very Important Book talking about Very Important Subject for Very Important You.
And this is how it goes:
One day when he was out walking, ha came to an open place in the middle of the forest, and in the middle of this place was a large oak-tree, and, from the top of the tree, there came a loud buzzing-noise.
Winnie-the-Pooh sat down at the foot of the tree, put his head between his paws and began to think.
First of all he said to himself: “That buzzing-noise means something. You don’t get a buzzing-noise like that, just buzzing and buzzing, without its meaning something. If there’s buzzing-noise, somebody’s making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you’re a bee.”
Then he thought another long time, and said:
“And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making honey.”
And then he got up, and said: “And the only reason for making honey is so as I can eat it.” So he began to climb the tree… .
Then as he climbed a little further … and a little further … and then just a little further… .
He was getting rather tired by this time, so that is why he sang a Complaining Song. He was nearly there now, and if he just stood on that branch …
“It all comes, I suppose,” he decided, as he said good-bye to the last branch, spun round three times, and flew gracefully into a gorse-bush, “it all comes of liking honey so much. Oh, help!”
He crawled out of the gorse-bush, brushed the prickles from his nose, and began to think again. And the first person he thought of was Christopher Robin… .
So Winnie-the-Pooh went round to his friend Christopher Robin, who lived behind the green door in another part of the forest.
“Good morning, Christopher Robin,” he said.
“Now, that illustrates the first function a manager should perform, which is Establishing Objectives,” said The Stranger. “It is also the first thing she should do for the operation she is managing.”
Pooh looked puzzled. “Are managers always ‘shes’?” he asked.
“No,” The Stranger answered. “Many are hes. You see, pronouns are difficult. The convention of using the male pronoun when referring to a situation that could involve either is confusing and annoys some people. Therefore, when I’m writing or talking, I sometimes use the male pronoun and sometimes the female pronoun, which is what I did here.”
Pooh nodded, to show he understood, but he really didn’t. “If Christopher Robin were here, he would write the first function with a stick here in this patch of earth, because it sounds like something to be remembered. I’d do it, but he is the only one in the Forest who can spell.”
“A good idea. I’ll do it as we talk.” The Stranger picked up a stick and wrote in the dirt in big letters.
THE SIX FUNCTIONS IN THE WORK OF A MANAGER
1. ESTABLISHING OBJECTIVES
“This was the first thing you did when you noticed the bee-tree. You decided that you wanted to get the honey, and how much of it you wanted.”
“All of it,” said Pooh wishfully.
“You then went to Christopher Robin whose help was needed to attain the goal and meet the objective.” The Stranger continued to read:
“I wonder if you’ve got such a thing as a balloon about you?”
“Yes, I just said to myself coming along: ‘I wonder if Christopher Robin has such a thing as a balloon about him?’ I just said it to myself, thinking of balloons, and wondering.”
“What do you want a balloon for?” you said.
Winnie-the-Pooh looked around to see that nobody was listening, put his paw to his mouth, and said in a deep whisper: “Honey!”
“But you don’t get honey with balloons!”
“I do,” said Pooh….
Well, you both went out with the blue balloon, and you took your gun with you, just in case, as you always did, and Winnie-the-Pooh went to a very muddy place that he knew of, and rolled and rolled until he was black all over; and then, when the balloon was blown up as big as big, and you and Pooh were both holding on to the string, you let go suddenly, and Pooh Bear floated gracefully up into the sky, and stayed there-level with the top of the tree and about twenty feet away from it.
“That was very good, Pooh” said The Stranger. “You effectively carried out the second function that a good manager performs.” Under first function The Stranger wrote:
“You analyzed what he had to be done in order to reach the objectives. You determined what resources you would need, what jobs needed to be performed, and who would be best suited to do the required work. You made that assignment based on your evaluation of their talents and abilities.”
“Christopher Robin had a balloon and a gun just in case something should go wrong and they were needed.”
“Exactly. He was best because Rabbit, or Piglet, or Eeyore didn’t have those things. Once you had picked Christopher Robin, you went on to the third function, which is Motivating.” The Stranger wrote that down as number three.
“What’s moti-motiva-whatever?” asked Pooh.
“Motivating. It means the reason why someone would want to do something. If you, as a manager, want someone to do a job or to help you accomplish an objective, you must find a reason why he or she should help and tell him or her what it is."
“I told Christopher Robin about the honey.”
“Since you knew he liked honey, that gave him a reason or a motive to help you get it. He knew that if he helped, he would share it when you achieved your objective. You were motivating him to help you.”
“Almost everybody likes Honey,” said Pooh. “But it seems to me that there might be another reason. Christopher Robin is always willing to do something to help me, even if there is no honey. I think it’s because I’m his favorite bear.”
“Excellent,” The Stranger complimented him. “Liking someone else can be the strangest motivator of all. That was very astute of you.”
“That Kind of Bear!” thought Pooh, although he didn’t say it out loud. “What is the fourth function?” he asked instead.
“Developing people. A good manager must make certain to do this, although it is easy to neglect.” The Stranger wrote it down.
4. DEVELOPING PEOPLE
“That was what you were doing when you were being a cloud and you were coaching Christopher Robin in how he should act to make the bees think that you were a cloud and not a bear hanging from a balloon. You remember, it went like this.”
“Have you an umbrella in your house?”
“I think so.”
“I wish you would bring it out here, and walk up and down with it, and look up at me every now and then, and say ‘Tut-tut, it looks like rain.’ I think, if you did that, it would help the deception which we are practicing on these bees.”
Well, you laughed to yourself, “Silly old Bear!” but you didn’t say it aloud because you were so fond of him, and you went home for your umbrella
“Oh, there you are!” called down Winnie-the-Pooh, as soon as you got back to the tree. “I was beginning to get anxious. I have discovered that the bees are now definitely Suspicious.”
“Shall I put my umbrella up?” you said.
“Yes, but wait a moment. We must be practical. The important bee to deceive is the Queen Bee. Can you see which is the Queen Bee from down there?”
“A pity. Well, now, if you walk up and down with your umbrella, saying, ‘Tut-tut, it looks like rain,’ I shall do what I can by singing a little Cloud Song, such as a cloud might sing… Go!”
So, while you walked up and down and wondered if it would rain, Winnie-the-Pooh sang this song:
How sweet to be a Cloud
Floating in the Blue!
Every little cloud
Always sings aloud.
“How sweet to be a Cloud
Floating in the Blue!”
It makes him very proud.
To be a little cloud.
“You mean when he had put his umbrella up and was walking up and down, and I told him he should say ‘Tut, tut, tut, it looks like rain’?”
“Exactly. You were developing his acting ability. What is more, you developed you won ‘cloudness’ by singing a little Cloud Song.”
“Yes.” Pooh nodded. “I thought it was one of my better Cloud Songs, but I’m not sure that the bees thought so.”
“Well, improvement in performance usually comes in stages. Perhaps next time they will think so. Now here is a great example of the fifth function.” The Stranger read from the book.
“Christopher Robin!” he said in a loud whisper.
“I think the bees suspect something!”
“What sort of thing?”
“I don’t know. But something tells me that they’re suspicious!”
“Perhaps they think that you’re after their honey.”
“It may be that. You never can tell with bees.”…
The bees were still buzzing as suspiciously as ever. Some of them, indeed, left their nest and flew all-round the cloud as it began the second verse of this song, and one bee sat down on the nose of the cloud for a moment, and then got up again.
“Christopher-ow!-Robin,” called out the cloud.
“I have just been thinking, and I have come to a very important decision. These are the wrong sort of bees.”
The Stranger wrote down COMMUNICATING as number five.
“Communicating is just telling everyone who has something to do with your project what is going on,” said The Stranger. “It’s something that happens when you tell them things, and also it has to do with the way you act and work with them.”
“Like telling Christopher Robin that the bees were definitely suspicious.”
“Yes, and you were also communicating when you said ‘ow!’ when the bee stung the nose of the cloud.”
“That wasn’t meant to be communication,” said Pooh, remembering and rubbing the nose of the cloud.
“Nevertheless, it was effective and gave a member of your team information about the true state of the situation, which is what communication supposed to do.”
“That’s nice to know. At the time, it wasn’t so nice.”
“I can imagine. Now the sixth thing that a manager must do is to establish measures of how things are, both in terms of progress toward the objective and in how each individual is doing-her performance, in other words.”
“That is called Measurement and Analysis. Remember, you did it this way”:
“Christopher Robin, you must shoot the balloon with your gun. Have you got your gun?”
“Of course, I have,” you said. “But if I do that, it will spoil the balloon,” you said.
“But if you don’t,” said Pooh, “I shall have to let go, and that would spoil me.”
When you put it like this, you saw how it was, and you aimed very carefully at the balloon, and fired.
“Ow!” said Pooh.
“Did I miss?” you asked.
“You didn’t exactly miss,” said Pooh, “but you missed the balloon.”
“I’m so sorry,” you said, and you fired again, and this time you hit the balloon, and the air came slowly out, and Winnie-the-Pooh floated down to the ground.
The Stranger wrote:
6. MEASUREMENT AND ANALYSIS
“This is possibly one of the most important factors, because unless individual know how they are doing and what they are doing correctly they can’t improve their performance. Of course, the results of your measurement must be communicated to everyone on the team.”
“You were doing exactly this, Pooh, when you told Christopher Robin that his first shot had missed the balloon. And by telling him what his first shot hit, you enabled him to correct his aim and improve his performance with his second shot.”
“I’m glad I did that,” said Pooh. “I think.”
“Managers are always glad when someone on their team improves their performance.”
Pooh was not so certain that he would improve his performance the next time he tried to get honey from the bee-tree unless he did something very different. He climbed down from his rock, walked over, and stood looking at the list of the sic functions in the work of a manager to see if they gave him and ideas on how to get the honey that he was almost certain was in the tree where he could here buzzing-noise.
THE SIX FUNCTIONS IN THE WORK OF A MANAGER
If you wish to find out more about 'Hows' please click here to purchase the book!