Canada Post Leads by Example

Crown Corporation's management-centered philosophy seen as corporate future

Aug 16th, 2014 | By Heber Dolphy | Category: Business, Lead Article
Canada Post Logo

Canada Post Logo

Management gurus around the world are looking closely at Canada Post’s experiment with a radical new business philosophy as it faces challenges in a changing market.

Developed by some of the top MBAs in the world, Pure Management is based on the assumption that the most successful companies don’t actually “do” or “make” things, they “manage stuff.”

“We’ve seen management philosophies come and go over the years,” said Sidney McQueen, Canada Post’s Senior Vice President in charge of Vice Presidents. “We’ve had Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, Matrix Management all at various times.”

“For about six weeks in 2007 we tried Management by Objectives and Management By Walking Around at the same time but it caused fights to break out among the junior vice-presidents.”

The crown corporation backed away from management fads for a time after that, said McQueen, but troubled by the decline in its core mail delivery business, and emboldened by the increasingly pro-business federal government, the agency has made the bold move into Pure Management.

Pure Management is the most philosophical of the business philosophies,” says Andrew Duncan, a PM consultant who helped Canada Post with its implementation. “It sees the primary role of a corporation as being a corporation.”

“Sure, providing services or making goods is OK, but the perfect corporation is a Platonic ideal. It exists as a flow chart, a management tree, a concept. The genius of Pure Management is that it transcends all the trivial concerns of day-to-day transactions or problems and focuses instead on what the greatest managers do best: manage.”

To that end, Canada Post is gradually getting rid of the thousands of employees who “sort” or “deliver” mail, and replacing them with MBAs who “manage” by holding team meetings, creating charts and – most importantly – delivering PowerPoint presentations.

“By the end of Q3 in 2015, we expect to have more than 5000 vice-presidents and twice that many senior consultants,” says Canada Post president Deepak Chopra. “Our letter carrier staff will have twindled to a few hundred by then. We regret the losses, but are encouraging these employees to get out and acquire MBAs so they can become more useful to society.”

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