Chapter 04: A Theory of People Management and Another Career Move

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Chapter 04: A Theory of People Management and Another Career Move

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Mr. Daigneau describes lessons he learned about management and his own management style, giving examples. He says that was "inquisitive about how things work, and if it doesn't work, then abandon it." At this point his ideas about management by objectives changed and he saw the importance of creating an environment where the objectives of individual employees matched those of the company. Mr. Daigneau then talks about the lack opportunity for promotion in academia, a fact that led him to next take a job as Assistant Vice President at Greeley College, where he stayed for eight years. He lists his achievements: he developed a master plan that is still being followed and developed the co-generation plant to produce heat and electricity very efficiently.

Identifier

DaigneauW_01_20131003_C04

Publication Date

10-3-2013

Publisher

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interview Subject's Story - Overview; Professional Path; Influences from People and Life Experiences; Evolution of Career; The Administrator; Overview; Professional Practice; The Professional at Work; The Leader; Leadership; On Leadership; On Mentoring; On the Nature of Institutions

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Tell me about your management style.

William Daigneau, MBA:

Well, it evolved over the years, quite a bit I mean" dramatically. As I say, I was blessed with this inquisitiveness about how things work. And if it's not working, I would abandon it. I would throw it overboard and try something else. The old saying is, When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Well, if the only management tool you have is a hammer, then truly everything looks like a nail to you, so you're going to pound it. Well, the same with my experience was I realized that some things couldn't be driven in.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Can you give me an example of how something wasn't working and how you had to strategize to fix it?

William Daigneau, MBA:

Well, this took me almost thirty-some years. Now, you're going to say, This is obvious, Bill."

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

No, I won't.

William Daigneau, MBA:

But in management, it's not obvious. This is what I'm writing about in my book. So how many times have you been at your annual performance review, and you finally get around to next year, and your supervisor says to you, Well, our goals for next year are the following: A, B, and C. We're going to improve production twenty percent"? Very common in business. You sit at that and say, Well, our goals for next year are" " So here's the process at work. Whose goals are they? Your boss.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Yeah, absolutely.

William Daigneau, MBA:

They're his goals or her goals. They're not your goals. But even in almost every business school, the Personnel Department, as a new manager, they bring you in and say, You've got to set goals for your folks. That's one of your jobs. You've got to set the goals for them." This is taught routinely. It's the old hammer and the nail. As a manager, you set goals. It doesn't work. What does work? When the employee sets their goals. Okay, so now here's the dilemma we have. Most people will set some goals for themselves, like, I've got to get my grocery shopping done on Saturday because Sunday we're going to the football game." Goal. What is the likelihood that that is going to occur? Pretty high. It's very high" 90%. Now, something could happen, but it's very likely to happen. Why? Because that person has set a goal, and there's a rationale, there's logic behind it, and they're purchasing out their time. They're going to make it happen. They're actually going to make this happen. If I say to a person, Look, I want you to do your shopping on Saturday because I want to take you to the football game," what are the chances of that goal happening? Fifty/fifty, because, well, I can't get inside your head. Well, I actually have my Book Club on Saturday." And so what comes up? I don't do my shopping, we go to the game, and on Monday, let's go out to dinner. (laughs) So the odds" the chances of goals actually occurring drop dramatically when they're imposed. Yet in management, we teach the opposite. So one of the greatest changes in my own self occurred" was somehow I had to have someone sitting across from me tell me that their goals for the year were consistent with the objectives of the company or the organization. I had to create an environment where I would say, So, let's talk about goals for next year." And it's a dialog. What happens is a dialog. You start saying, Well, one of my goals is I want to learn critical path scheduling." Good. That's a good goal." So then I might say, How can we apply it to our business? What can we do to use the benefits of that here?" And that creates a dialog where it now becomes their goal that's tied into the objectives of the organization.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

And tied into their learning process.

William Daigneau, MBA:

Yes. So now the chances of this actually happening have just dramatically ratcheted, and that was the problem with MBO" management by objectives. I was giving these people their goals and asking them to fill out how they were going to accomplish them. It wasn't their goal; it was always my goal. It took me thirty-some years for that light bulb to finally go on that I could dramatically improve performance if I could somehow figure out how people would set goals for themselves that would support the objectives of the business. I spent thirty-some years honing that skill. So anyway, that was one thing that evolved for me significantly.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

Well, obviously, the difference between theoretical and practical, taking that theory and then understanding how it actually works with the real context of individuals with their own motivations and agendas.

William Daigneau, MBA:

And we management teachers, the HR departments, their standard management classes on supervision, et cetera, you've got a problem employee, how are you going to correct that problem? You give them a list of expectations. Right? Hand it to that person, and you're going to see dramatic improvement. Oh, no, you're not. (laughs) And so you're scratching" well, now we go into progressive discipline, so we hit them with the hammer. And that's going to correct the problem. Sometimes it does; most of the time it doesn't. It may improve for a while, and then it falls back, because that person has not decided for themselves to change their behavior. They haven't made that commitment. It's like alcoholism; until you've come to grips with it" you have this problem" you're not going to fix it. We have all these things in management over the years I tried and nothing happened. I didn't get the expected result. But on my journey, I have to say, I wasn't committed to it. I never felt like, All right, well, that didn't work. I ain't going to do that again." So it evolved.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

So how long did you end up staying in Superior?

William Daigneau, MBA:

Well, so this is the problem with higher education. Unlike a company" you can work for GE, and they keep promoting you. You may go from the Plastics Division, because you're a good manager there, to their turbine engine plant, because they expect you to be a good manager there. But in universities, either, A, you're just going to sit out your career there, or what you have to do is you have to go to larger and more complex universities. So to borrow a phrase, My work is finished here." George Eastman. Of course, he shot himself. (laughs) But my work is finished at Superior. I could have stayed, but I wanted something more difficult and complex, so I took a job as assistant vice president at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. That's how we got out to Colorado the first time. I was there eight years. Went through two presidents there, saw a change in leadership in presidency, and stayed there" and actually, that was more family time. I continued to" I developed a master plan for the campus that is still being followed to this day. I really started to learn the value of creating a management team there, that it was important who you had working with you. We did a number of innovations there. It was one of the first" and still is in existence" cogeneration plants" combined heat and power cogeneration plant. So I did a number of things there.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D:

What exactly is a cogeneration plant?

William Daigneau, MBA:

It produces both electricity and" a lot of universities are in what is called central plants. They provide heat and in some cases chilled water to all of the buildings instead of having a boiler and a chiller in every building. They're all interconnected by these pipes. It's a very efficient system when you have a number of buildings like university campuses have. They're very common in universities. Not so common elsewhere. Large industrial parks" like Kodak Industrial Park in Rochester was on a central plant. So because of the fact that you have one plant that's heating a whole bunch of buildings, you have economy scale in your boilers" you know" you have these big boilers that are producing steam or hot water. So in the case of a cogeneration plant, when you generate electricity, you throw off lots of waste heat. That's why those nuclear plants need to be by water, for cooling purposes, because you're cooling off all this waste heat. You've taken all of the productive energy out of the heat, but there's still a lot of it left over. That's not enough to run a turbine or anything, so you have to get rid of it somehow. Well, in cogeneration, you produce the electricity, and that waste stream that would normally be vented to the atmosphere, you use it to boil water to make steam to heat buildings. So whenever you have a situation where you have" it's called a balanced load" you have both a heat load as well as an electric load" you can really make cogeneration work. But at the time, this was a new technology. We're back now in the early ÷80s, and the utility companies would not accept electricity into their grid, so what do you do when you don't use all of the electricity? But the laws changed, so all of a sudden, cogeneration became feasible. So we were one of the first plants.

Chapter 04: A Theory of People Management and Another Career Move

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