Dann Principles of Management – The Complete List

Last month we revisited the Dann Principles of Management.  His original list was the result of his work starting and leading organizations as well as working alongside others doing the same.  In the time since then, Bill has spent nearly 40 years consulting in organizations big and small, for-profit and not-for-profit, government agencies, etc.  He has again worked alongside a wide array of leaders while implementing a variety of leadership and organizational tools to help these organizations grow and flourish. And as his experience, list of clients and tools to implement grew, so did his Principles of Management.

As we said in the introductory post, his first nine centered largely on leader integrity and how that plays out in the workplace.  His second set targeted staff more, and how good leaders can help them to succeed, thereby strengthening the organization as a whole. We introduce the full list in this post, then will use the succeeding 4 posts to organize them into categories and dive into a little more depth with each.

So here is Bill’s updated Dann Principles of Management, circa 2020:

  1. There is another side to every issue.
  2. What is, is.
  3. There are politics in everything and everybody.
  4. An organization is only as great, and its employees only as committed to the organizational goals, as they interpret the leader to be.
  5. Over time, employees will only work as hard as their ultimate leader and/or lowest performer among supervisory or even peer group.
  6. Nobody really likes to get away with anything.
  7. Consistency.
  8. An organization values its employees only to the extent and depth that it maintains two way dialogue with them.
  9. Everyone will find fairness somehow.
  10. What limits performance is not the potential of employees but the quality of the methods used which can always be improved
  11. The role performance coach should replace supervisor and the foundation for coaching is an honest, effective relationship
  12. Middle managers have proven to be the bottleneck for effective communication and change. you can’t improve the front-line without improving middle management who usually attract the least investment by an organization.
  13. Employees will forgive a wrong decision but not the failure to make one
  14. The fastest way to improve performance is to identify and confront barriers that top management can’t see.
  15. Employees have an insatiable need for communication. Find efficient and effective means but understand that employees will always believe they don’t know all that they should.
  16. Strive to at least acknowledge (e.g. “got it, will get back to you…”) all communications within 24 hours in order to maintain quality of relationship
  17. To avoid being overwhelmed, just take on task/problem at a time and take it to closure
  18. If you’re not feeling overwhelmed, you likely have blind spots
  19. The performance area that has the greatest leverage is personal admin, e.g. be on time, keep all promises, respond quickly to communications, maintain and work a complete, written “To Do” list
  20. In prioritizing tasks, put at the top actions by you that are needed for others to be effective/productive
  21. Only put in place policies where common sense won’t prevail for the vast majority of cases
  22. Staff performance problems are most often prevented by good coaching, not additional policy that reduces the self-determination for all
  23. Confront performance problems when first recognized by inquiring so as to understand the “why”
  24. Admitting mistakes strengthens leadership; denying them erodes it.
  25. Seek first to understand before being understood.
  26. A well-executed inferior strategy will outperform a superior strategy poorly executed.
  27. There will always be internal demands for more staffing and more “assistant” positions. Confront this by first focusing on performance coaching and continuous improvement of methods. Add resources when product/demand dictates it.

We sorted and shuffled Bill’s list as we looked more deeply into them. The end result was 4 groupings or categories of the principles which we will dive into in more depth over the next several posts.  In the meantime, we are very interested in knowing the top management principles you have learned through your experiences. Do you strongly agree or disagree with any of the above, or do you have some new ones you would add to the list.  Send them our way and let’s keep the conversation going.