Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Story of a Book

Late 1996 I was approached by the Chief Editor of the Business Monthly, a monthly magazine published by the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, to write an article on management for a special issue of the magazine. I was not enthusiastic for several reasons: the magazine was of a very specialized economic nature; its circulation was limited, mainly to the chamber members and few other business communities in the country; although the members represent the elite business community in Egypt and had discussed hundreds of the business aspects either in public seminars or s part of their affiliated committees, no one has thought to contribute management articles to the magazine.

However, I decided to send an article and see how it would be received. Finding a topic was not the problem; it was my eagerness to tackle my topic from a completely different approach that took me a longer time and more suffering. Thomas Hardy once said: ‘Any fool may write a valuable book if he will only tell us what he heard and saw with veracity.’ I decided that I am very well qualified to play Thomas Hardy’s fool: I have heard and seen a lot during the last forty five years of continuous learning on both the academic and business levels as an educator and throughout my progressive career in local, multinational, and international organizations of different industries and disciplines, in different countries Arab, European, and Western cultures. What I have seen and heard can easily fill more than one book. I soon discovered that to telltale on the business and life situations I have gone through against my academic background in management, marketing, and economics will give my tales new perspectives that make them relate to the approaching new century.

Therefore, what started as a first article soon became a series under the name of “Reflections on Some Aspects on Management”, which was further developed into a book project. My writing approach was very simple: veracity of telling, and supporting my points of views with real business or life examples to illustrate the significance of the incidents I told. Such an approach, in my opinion, is human enough to help my readers identify themselves with each of the portrayed management situations.

By closely relating management to normal life situation, I hoped to promote the idea that anyone’s life – mangers included – is nothing but a long, non-stop negotiating situation where everyone is trying hard to use all in his personal and professional skills of communication, planning, organization, teaming up with others, coaching, counseling and all the other management and marketing skills to successfully manage businesses as well as their lives.

Management is a new science. It has only became a science since eighty years of so due to contributions of Peter Drucker who is considered the ‘Father of Modern Management’. Before him it was no more than ‘practices’. Knowledge of its secrets hase since been a privilege to specialists, management students, and practitioners. We still have a lot to learn on the art of management because the price of mismanagement is too high. It drains all life and business resources. Therefore, academics need to promote the art and practice of management finding simpler blend that integrates individual traits, skills, and competencies of managers with the rules of the science. SMEs are multiplying quickly, and if we can encourage entrepreneurs to adopt a healthy management attitude in a non-sophisticated way, the outcomes would be fast-paced developed flourishing societies.