Author, Consultant, Executive Coach - Helping people and organizations grow into desired results

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Mintzberg’s Five (plus one) Minds of a Manager

The business website BNET recently offered a useful summary of the classic HBS article, The Five Minds of a Manager co-authored by Henry Mintzberg (management theorist and professor at my alma mater, McGill University).

The article outlines five mindsets for managers to cultivate in order to cope with the often conflicting demands of their jobs.

I noticed that these five mindsets line up with five of the six intelligence centres (ICs) of the brain as described in the NeuroPower framework (developed by author and strategist Peter Burow). To explore the parallels, I’ve therefore added to Mintzberg’s five the “clarity” mindset, which corresponds to the sixth IC and in a sense completes the set.

Six mindsets, six intelligence centres – how do they match up? Read my full article comparing the two theories.

Just to give away the ending: I think The Five Minds of a Manager theory aligns quite well with what NeuroPower has to say about brain function, which is why when we read Mintzberg’s article it is easy to say, “Yes, that all makes good sense to me, I want to start doing more of those things.”

In fact the great advantage to the NeuroPower framework is that it makes no claim to “replace” other frameworks and theories. Rather, it lays out a powerful explanatory method describing how our brains work in certain predictable ways. And because everyone's brain functions in remarkably similar ways, any other framework or theory that produces positive change and possesses real explanatory power will do so in the exact degree to which they line up with what we now know about brain function.

NeuroPower therefore provides an overarching brain research-based framework into which so many other models can be readily integrated without people needing to “un-learn” what they have previously learned. Quite simply, if it works, it is because it aligns with how our minds are working.

What is more, NeuroPower is a profoundly practical framework that can help turn the best theories from Harvard and elsewhere into real results based on a common language and explanatory system that everyone can understand – from the boiler room to the boardroom.


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