Somehow, I tend go missing for a while and then finish editing posts in batches xD
In many ways, Moshidora could be seen as a fictionalized, dramatized management textbook that started off with pure technicality and eventually brought audience sympathy to the screen. Many of its characters were never given proper depth, and for much of the series it felt more like an academic case study than a story. It’s hardly surprising (in fact I expected it), as the name dictates that the entire theme was centered around a single book. But just as its own Marketing went, it accomplished this goal wonderfully. My only regret is that I didn’t have the chance to watch it years ago— because management skills often come into play way before you expect it.
Ducker’s Management is definitely not just for ‘businessmen in suits’…
Unfortunately, even most managers are not so enlightened. In most workplaces, you’re expected to work because it’s your job, it’s what you’ve been told to do, and that you’re paid to do it. This old-style approach was firmly embedded into society by Taylorism, which believes that people will be satisfied as long as they receive proper compensation. Thus, most motivational tools in our culture all revolve around completion incentives, rather than building trust and fostering the exchange of ideas during the process. Profit » teambuilding, one could say.
Most organizations don’t practice fair process… (They) assume people focus solely on outcomes… Outcomes matter, but no more than the fairness of the processes that produce them. — Harvard Business Review
So instead of relying primarily on winning and reaching the championships as the incentive, like most teams would, Minami (and her book) takes a much better approach: what are you hoping to find in baseball? It’s not merely a question for managers either. In fact, anyone who ever took part in an extracurricular or hobbyist project should have thought of it— the work being done is often genuine, but unlike a real occupation one isn’t getting paid for it. So… how does one keep themselves and others motivated on everything from translation groups to (anime) club presentations to team blogging? What about any other group activity where not everyone might agree?
Fair Process isn’t merely a managerial concept, it’s a group decision-making concept. It focuses upon the psychology that people will stay motivated and committed to teams they trust and respect, striving to maintain motivation and initiative through its three principles:
Engagement: To involve individuals in the decisions that affect them, seeking their opinions and reactions; as management has to show respect to members’ interests to receive respect for its own goals. This was central to Minami’s managerial goals in Marketing: it’s not just what the team needs, but what the team members want, and to find that out she has to converse with them as individuals (rather than just a ‘team member’ resource) by engaging them individually.
Explanation: Everyone involved and affected should understand why final decisions were made as they are. Minami realizes early that a key role on any team is Translation, making sure all details (especially disagreeable ones like pulling a pitcher) are properly explained to all parties so no misinterpretations arise. It’s also central to Innovation, as only proper explanations will allow fresh ideas obtained through Engagement, such as the captain’s radical “no bunt no ball” strategy, to become accepted— the team had no faith in it, but they trusted the captain enough to try for the sake of the team.
Expectation Clarity: Once a decision is made, all rules and expectations must be clearly made to everyone at start; in fact, understanding of the rules is more important than the rules themselves, as it allows members to focus on their tasks by minimizing unnecessary worries and favoritism. Be it boosting the lineup members’ sense of responsibility after Optimization or establishing individual roles in Tiered Management, clarifying expectations is arguably the greatest responsibility of leadership.
Yet despite her work in following the Fair Process, Minami completely focused herself on the completion goal (winning the championship for Yuki) for most of Moshidora. It took her until the end of the series to truly appreciate and understand her work — for a team, the process of getting to the goal is as important if not more so than the goal itself.
Just as the process of learning taught Minami something even more valuable than the concepts that produced the result~
K-ON! doesn’t need it [Diesel-turbo] but maybe now Azu-nyan wouldn’t have to be all alone.
Postnote: Part of the reason I felt so strongly about the series is because I led student development teams on projects before. I was definitely *not* good in a managerial sense, and watching Moshidora left me a lot of regrets on all the things I could have done better.