MGMT MEMO: Management Lessons from DEC

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DEC was the creation of its co-founder and president Ken Olsen, who for four decades shaped the cadre of managers and the corporate culture that motivated and enabled one generation after another of creativity and innovation as his company grew from a small team to a global corporation with over 140,000 employees. Fortune Magazine called him "the ultimate entrepreneur". When MGMT MEMO was originally published, most DEC employees couldn't read it. Labelled "For Internal Communication Only", it was only sent to managers, with the understanding that they would communicate the messages to their employees. Now, twenty years after the demise of the company, when there is no longer a need for confidentiality, these documents can help us to remember and relive the challenges, the triumphs, and the cameraderie of that time. Over the course of eleven years, this publication evolved from a collection of short news items to lengthy discussions of the many reorganizations and the reasons behind them, as well as Ken's thoughts on management and corporate culture, his hopes and his advice. It served as a tool for him to deliver messges that he considered important and timely. The articles reflect the dynamics of rapid growth in a fast changing high tech environment: the stress of the ever-urgent need to develop one new product after another and related services, for an ever-expanding range of uses; the need to come up with new ways to connect product to product and people to people, with new kinds of organization and new theories of how to motivate and manage large numbers of people. They repeatedly attempt to redefine the company, as the employee population doubled in size. They recount the struggle to invent not just new products but also new kinds of new products and to find ways to effectively use those same products to develop the next generation of products and to market them and to help an expanding range of customers who needed our products and services to build their businesses and to create new businesses and invent new kinds of business. How was it possible to manage such an entity in hyper-growth mode, to accurately prophesize changing customer needs and tastes and come up with new products and services that they would need and to be prepared to manufacture products in the volumes required, and to recruit and train the people necessary for all that, and to do all of this in sync, so the money and the resources were available when and where they were needed? How could such an entity -- such a storm of creative activity -- hold together and continue to grow? How was it possible to "manage" it, to deal with one unprecedented challenge after another? How was it possible to foster a core of values, a sense of corporate culture and identity?
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Seltzer Books via PublishDrive
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Published on
Oct 6, 2018
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Business & Economics / Management
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