“Quality of management” – case study from Israel

What makes for a good manager in business?

As a teenager, I vividly remember a discussion between my father and a visitor from America. The guest was finishing an MBA at a top school, claiming that this would set him on a high career path. My father argued that the American first needed some experience in order to truly understand management and then he would be  successful.

It was and remains impossible to judge which position is correct. I suspect that as ever the two protagonists also confused the phrase “good management” with those of “leadership” and “strategist”. In a nutshell, while all three have common factors, they are stand alone items.

I mention all this, because I have come across two interesting articles from Israel about the subject of management – learning to be a manager and then how to use good managers.

In today’s Hebrew press, Yediot Ahronot, there is a commentary over a recent survey from the Bureau of Central Statistics, detailing customer satisfaction with local institutes of higher learning. As an owner of a food company and former student was quoted: “They taught me about stats and formulas. However, the important things – how to run a board, what commercial language to use or how to construct an effective presentation – that I had to learn by myself.”

I have a sneaky feeling that a criticism like that can be found in many places around the world. After all, almost by definition, lecturers tend to be academics, who have relatively little practical experience. You leave the safe comfort of your library lacking hands-on knowledge.

As an exception, I recently heard a senior administrator from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explain how the Biology Department is putting together a new course. The aim is to link the scientific modules with practical studies, such as how to create a company.

A second feature questioned why Israel has yet to generate more ‘large homegrown enterprises’. For its success as a start up nation and for all the wonderful exits, there are those that argue that the country would be better off with less buy-outs. However, something intrinsic is preventing that shift.

If you read the article carefully, you can see how good managers are ‘punished’ by the system. For example, there is so much pressure by investors and venture capitalists to deliver results in the short term that there is little scope to build a large company for the future. Others point to the natural characteristic of Israelis to rush into decisions, going round obstacles and move ahead, but without considering implications. Again, no room for the cold and boring thought process of a middle level manager.

It would be interesting to compile a study to analyse the link between successful companies (over what period of time?) and those firms that have invested in training managers with the ability to make decisions.

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One Comment on ““Quality of management” – case study from Israel”


  1. Really enjoyed this update, is there any way I can get an email sent to me whenever there is a new article?


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