Theses of management



Authors: Kati Lehmuskoski, Tuomo Koskenvaara


At the root of all co-operation is appreciation and trust.

Managers must focus on building trust and creating a safe work environment.

Minimum viable management must be a primary aim. In specific aspects of management, such as safety, data safety and regulatory compliance situations in which rigorous processes must be applied, more management is needed. Minimum viable management is not a constant.

A great environment in which to work must be sought; one that impacts the composition of the team and provides more tools, resources or time, instead of managing directly.

Managers are expected to set ways of working including expectations, principles and standards.

The job of the manager is to lead with a vision.

Vision and targets

The team vision and targets may be created by a team, a manager, or a leader.

Whoever pays for the team’s work is entitled to approve the vision and targets at the end of the day.

Often, the most meaningful targets are presented as appealing stories.

If the story given by the sponsor is not appealing, no-one will follow.

The team sponsor chooses which mountain is to be conquered. The team chooses which route to take.

Targets should neither be too easy, nor impossible to achieve.

The role of the sponsor and the manager is to ensure that everyone understands the targets.

If the team has decided that it cannot achieve the targets, it most certainly will not achieve them.

Organizing the work

People flourish when gaining autonomy and responsibility.

Teams must be able to choose the best tools in order to complete their work.

Repetitive tasks should be centralized, or preferably automated, if this is feasible.

Measuring performance

The most important aspect of measuring performance is measuring the right things.

Measuring performance must seek to ensure value creation.

Data is the ultimate equalizer.

Too many measures are as bad as no measures at all.

Everybody is responsible for ensuring the data used for measuring performance is accurate.

Creating reports should create the minimum disturbance to the value creation of the team.


Build the road to success for everyone, juniors as well as seniors.

The role of the manager is to understand the motivation of individual team members and to strengthen that motivation.  It is also to understand the relationship of each team member’s motivation to the task ahead and be able to make changes to the team when it becomes necessary.

It is impossible to force great results from an unmotivated team.

People who do the work and manage problems proactively are the superstars and they should be appraised and rewarded accordingly.

Appraisals and rewards should be given to all those who contributed to the value creation.

The manager’s job is to help team members to understand why their work is important and beneficial, both for value creation and for that particular team member.

The concept of success may differ between different people in the team. This must be understood by the manager.

Innovation and development are created when team members are outside their comfort zones.

The manager may not be the best career coach for everyone.

The best motivation is created when people feel supported and appreciated and their dreams and personal goals benefit from creating value for the organization.

The best performance from the team can be achieved only when all team members are able to be exactly who they really are, freely expressing the influence of their backgrounds, interests and social connections.

Problem handling

Managers and leaders must allow their teams to have autonomy, even at the risk of failure.

Often the fastest and greatest learning is achieved through failure.

Poor performance demotivates the best team members.

Poor performance is a result of poor leadership practices and a lack of an inspiring vision.

Self-organization does not replace a missing leadership.

A mechanism to solve problems and make decisions must be put in place, even in a self-organizing organization.

Managers must create an environment of trust in which mistakes may occur, as that is the only way for the organization to grow in a sustainable way.

High level performance

Depending on the organization, time must be set aside for growth and development.

People enjoy high performance, however, targets that are too tight reduce enjoyment in the work and hinder improvement in the long term.

All roads have bumps. There is no such thing as perfection.

Exceptional quality inspires team members.

Rewards should be fair, immediate and dependent on your own actions.

Fit for purpose is good enough, anything else has no business case.

Complex work is often messy, entailing a process that includes numerous setbacks before success is eventually achieved.

High performing team members appreciate discussions that can be challenging and are not afraid to challenge each other.

The role of the manager is to discover and communicate stories of success.

A high-performance team always acts in a transparent way.

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