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General Management for Operational Managers

General Management for Operational Managers

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General Management for Operational Managers

77 pages
1 hour
May 28, 2013


General Management for Operational Managers is a book based on the personal experiences of Rudolf Hartong. It describes situations he encountered during his eighteen years experience as a general manager and answers a lot of questions.
The book begins with the basic and fundamental questioning of the general manager himself or herself. He confronts the general manager with the question Who am I?
Putting in long hours is good and appreciated, but that does not automatically make you a good general manager. Creativity and skills are the main elements that you need to survive.
This is a hands-on book to be used as a reference. It describes situations and decisions which you may be confronted with in your daily work of which you may or may not be aware. Leadership elements in your work as general manager are essential such as, vision, drive and passion. The writer believes that this will make you successful in operating as a general manager. Many questions and answers are based on situations the writer experienced. Cultural aspects, the uniqueness of local companies, development of a strategy, alcohol and drug abuse and managing departments are just a few of the subjects in which he shares his experiences.
Rudolf Hartong has also published Human Resources in Crisis, which you can purchase via www.authorhouse.co.uk/bookshop, and he is working on a new book entitled What Changed Our Lives. It is the story of an expatriate family with five children. It will give suggestions and advises for new and existing expatriate families.
May 28, 2013

Despre autor

Rudolf Hartong was born 1947 and worked for forty years in human resources and general management positions. Both his education and background are in human resources. He actively worked in human resources for twenty-two years, mainly in the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and Sweden. For the remaining eighteen years he worked in operational general management positions as managing director, general manager, and executive vice president in Russia (two assignments). He has also worked in the Netherlands and Indonesia – mostly in turnaround positions: change management and re-engineering of companies. He has been retired since July 2012, and, in response to numerous requests, is writing down his experiences. Rudolf and his wife now live in Switzerland. For comments and remarks, you may contact Rudolf Hartong via email at: rudolfhartong@yahoo.com You can follow him on his blog at: www.rudolfhartong.com

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General Management for Operational Managers - Rudolf Hartong


© 2013 Rudolf Hartong. All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means without the written permission of the author.

Published by AuthorHouse 5/23/2013

ISBN: 978-1-4817-8881-6 (sc)

ISBN: 978-1-4817-9679-8 (e)

Because of the dynamic nature of the Internet, any web addresses or links contained in this book may have changed since publication and may no longer be valid. The views expressed in this work are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher, and the publisher hereby disclaims any responsibility for them.

Table of Contents



Clarification:   General Management and Leadership

Section 1 – 1001 Questions About General Management

1.0   How do you start as a general manager in an operation or company?

1.1   How do you settle in as a family?

1.2   How do you handle the takeover period?

1.3   Preparation of a business plan

1.4   Employee representatives

1.5   Building of a local team

1.6   Motivation

Case One:   How motivation can work and also fall apart

1.7   How do you deal with your superior/boss/chairman of the board?

1.8   How to handle good boss/bad boss

1.9   Do you need to focus on your own and your company’s public relations?

1.10   Is support needed for staff functions from head office?

1.11   Do we need to contract specialist help from outside?

Case Two:   Quality counts

1.12   How do you handle obstacles if you do not have the full support from your staff?

1.13   Are you always acting like an agent of change?

1.14   How do you handle redundancies?

1.15   What is your role as general manager?

Case Three:   Your role as a general manager and refusing orders!

1.16   General Manager and Human Resources

Case Four:   How a wrong set up can create unrest and strikes

1.17   How do you handle your own departure?

Section 2 – Situations I Have Experienced

2.0   Cultural aspects in your position as general manager in a company/organization

2.1   Alcohol and drugs (including prescription drugs and stimulants)

2.2   Calamities and accidents

2.3   Obstruction and sabotage

2.4   Strategy and your departments

2.5   A classic quality problem


About the Author

For Suzanne, Maarten, Frank, Irene, and Paul


This small book is neither a scientific book nor an academic study based on theories. It is a book based on a very practical approach learned over eighteen years of working in general management.

I will describe and explain general management in operational situations. I will give answers to many questions involving a variety of situations that many newly-appointed general managers will experience, or have already experienced if they manage operations. A few of the situations I will describe will begin with your need to ask yourself, Who am I? I will move on to discuss cultural aspects, the uniqueness of a local company, and alcohol and drug abuse. I hope that my explanations and examples will help to improve a person’s management skills.

Of course, there exist general management positions within head or central offices; but these are less related to operational matters, and individuals may not encounter many of the experiences confronted by managers in operations. I certainly do not intend to disqualify their work (having worked in a head office myself). Quite to the contrary; but this book is limited to the description of my experiences in operational positions.

Why are you a general manager?

Members of your top management team may have selected you and given you this opportunity because of the following factors:

•   They recognized all the hard work you did in your previous position, such as physically hard work, long hours, or many trips abroad.

•   You delivered good results.

•   You followed and executed the instructions and directives of top management and met their expectations.

•   You managed to get a large order in on time.

There could be many reasons why you were chosen for this job. But, in any case, you now have the job of general manager, managing director, president, executive vice president, director, or whatever title comes with the position.

I am of the opinion that you were selected to be a general manager not only because of all the reasons I mentioned above but also because you used your creativity and your ability to solve problems in a non-conventional way by thinking outside the box.

The only way to be creative is through relaxing, not by working sixty or eighty hours a week. Work smart is the expression, but in reality it does not mean anything. Hard work, coupled with working long hours, can be necessary from time to time. But it does not make you creative.

Occasionally, you have to relax, take a step back and give yourself feedback. You may want to ask yourself some questions such as: What am I doing now?, Was this the right decision?, Did I treat my team member too tough in our last meeting?, A project has failed – did I support it enough?, Why did we lose that order?, How can we prevent this from happening again?, What lessons did we learn?, Did I put the right person on that job?

The way to relax, to be able to be creative, to take a step back, is a very personal one; but you should know what is best for you. It might be to have a drink in a bar, enjoy a sport such as jogging, or go for a walk along the beach with a loved one or close

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