The Visible Hand - Synopsis
For those who grow impatient waiting for the “invisible hand” of the economy gratuitously to deliver wealth, an alternative might be to get entrepreneurially active, employing the visible hand of controls and measures which have given this book its title.
James A. Garfield said: “things don’t just turn up in this world until somebody turns them up”. Another wit has put it this way: “don’t itch for something you’re not prepared to scratch for”.
The Visible Hand is a compendium of business tools and why they work or fail. It is a practical “toolkit” for business consultants and practising managers.
The aim is not to cover the whole range of management ideas and techniques nor even all of those that have survived scepticism and vogue fickleness in favour of newer buzz phrases. The focus is on real tools that have yielded and continue to provide cogent and impressive results.
The style is light-hearted yet technically intact, hopefully entertaining yet instructive.
The work comes with a compact disc containing a computer model for use by entrepreneurs or consultants in determining the viability of planned ventures and includes instructions and background to assist the user.
In addition to the techniques of measurement and control, the book contains provocative ideas on some philosophical questions such as the morality of profit-seeking and the creation of wealth. It examines some common fallacies, provides reasons for apparent failure of economic principles and debunks some sacred cows that meander in the meadows of managerial mystique.
The common thread of a controlling hand asserts its authority across a wide range of potential entrepreneurial quagmires from productivity to problem solving; from meetings to manpower and from projections to project management.
An environment of measurement and control can effectively provide an enabling hand through which the desired economic flow may be grasped.
In other words the benefits of Smith’s “Invisible Hand” could become a cascade given the intervention of The Visible Hand.
How could the tools of The Visible Hand achieve that? Well, for so many people hard work and accountability are not forthcoming without controls.
It is largely through measurement that people and their performance can be made to “measure up”. Measurement exposes people and ventures to competition and is the very essence of performance management.
The appalling extent to which accountability is shrugged off both in the public and private sectors calls for tools that can pinpoint responsibility and can show up the degree to which incumbents are facing up to it.
This book has been dedicated to the idea that measurement and control using numbers and ratios can play an important role in the success of enterprise and the performance of service providers.
Valid statistical data can provide indications of trends that can be harnessed and those that require defensive action. Measurement can enable improvement in productivity even in areas often considered to be too intangible.
Accountability is enabled and reinforced by the tools of The Visible Hand thereby offering a much needed counter to corruption..
A device employing computer modelling is described for preparing projections for a new enterprise in a style that enables financial and management accounting assessments normally used for existing ventures to be applied.
A wide range of challenges including problem-solving, strategy-formulation, training, competence and accountability have been shown to be susceptible to control through techniques described in The Visible Hand.