GM1: Defining General Management

Michael Dearing

Part One of the series on General Management

What is General Management?  Where did it come from?  How does it work?

About 250 years ago, people who organize, administer, and lead businesses began to change life on Earth. First emerging in textile mills, then railroads, energy production, manufacturing, financial services, computing -- general management turned founder genius into thriving businesses. And the wealth created by those businesses pays for every good thing about modern civilization. How does this happen? Why does it happen?

We are lucky that the earliest General Managers left us a paper trail of their thoughts and ideas. We will read their words and borrow their ideas -- or at least the ones we like. And it's not all rainbows and candy -- capitalism earned the description "creative destruction" for a reason. General management amplifies the best and worst of humans. 

Here are the key questions we will tackle together:

  • What is management?
  • How is it different than leadership?
  • What tools should a manager have in her or his toolkit?
  • How might we make the most of those tools to increase the chance of success?
  • Does management align with your heart's desire for your work?

This is an open, short format class. It is pulled from the first half of day-one of Harrison Metal's core seminar on General Management. I've repurposed the content so that you can do it online with a group of other folks from anywhere. The reading load before class is about an hour. I hope you will join the class! We charge a small tuition ($20.00) to make sure you are committed.


Dearing, Michael. "Daniel McCallum's Superintendent's Report." Woodside: Harrison Metal, 2019.  Link.

Grove, Andrew S. High Output Management. New York: Vintage Books, 1995. (, chapters 1, 2, and 3.