At rehearsal of Oliver Twist (Broadway, ca 1912). Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

Jack Fallow on Managerial Authority

Forrest ChristianManaging Leave a Comment

I’m working through an interview I did with Jack Fallow awhile back. Really it’s me getting Jack talking and having the good sense (mostly) to shut up. When I do say something I sound like a complete doofus. Really. More or less I just wanted to hear more. “What do you mean by that?” and “Can you tell me more about that?” are great probing interview questions to hear stories.

Jack was talking about his experiences with GasForce, an employee-owned company for which he was the founding director that in six-years returned 15x initial shareholder outlay. Or 25x. “It depends on how you measure it,” he said.

Here’s a quick taste, Jack Fallow on Managerial Authority:

Managers lose their authority because they make daft decisions and they don’t ask people whether the decisions are okay. It’s managers who make decisions in a vacuum who lose authority. That’s my experience. I’ve never seen a credible manager in any situation lose their authority because the employees have been too strong, or the trade unions have been too strong, or anything.

What happens is that if a manager wants to do something and everyone can see that it’s wrong, then that manager may well feel usurped.

He’ll also talk about how they used the Glacier Works Council model of unanimous vote (single veto) on policy at the Board level.

He was apparently saving up a lot to put down on this recording, because it’s full of strong wisdom from deep experience. You’ve got to hear it when I get it done.

Image Credit: At rehearsal of Oliver Twist (Broadway, ca 1912). Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

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