At the time this book was written McCay had been in management consulting for 10 years. His background came from his degree in chemical engineering and practical experience. He traveled the world with an extended stay in Japan where he studied Zen.
In order to write this book he observed and interviewed many of the most successful and influential people of the time. Several of these people credit McCay with guiding them to insights that provided a foundation for their growth and profoundly influenced their careers and lives.
Here are three examples of McCayisms which have been popularized by today’s management gurus. We share them with you to establish his credentials and also to provide a personal image of McCay – a maverick of his era.
The Four Personality Types Seen In Organizations
For years McCay consulted to Alcan, while David Culver was CEO. Mr. Culver remarked that even though he admired all of McCay’s ideas he did not always subscribe to his methods. (For example, McCay prescribed executive meetings in swimming pools – so everyone was the same height and weight.) However, to this day Mr. Culver applies McCay’s analysis of the four personality types in assembling an organization:
- Hunters – frequently seen as the salespeople, the people who go out of the cave to bring back the food; the innovators who create competitive products within;
- Spiritualists – those individuals who maintain the organizations values – what is right and wrong; the need to be a responsible world contributor;
- Jesters – the ones who release the tension at just the right time before the project self destructs;
- Leaders – the people who appreciate that you need all of the above three types to succeed.
Positive Energy Inspires Performance
Bill Dawson, Chairman of Descon corporation, was McCay’s business associate and personal friend. Often the first audience for his friend’s concepts, Bill routinely found himself involved in McCay’s experiments. One such experiment involved having a whole project team laying on the floor of a dark room with loud music playing. Starting with, arms and legs together, they then attempted to move right and left appendages away from their bodies equal distances. The object was to find your center. The Zen influence on McCay’s work is immediately apparent from this experiment.
Another hypothesis that Bill tested with McCay was that the direction of positive thoughts and feelings towards a person increases their level of positive response. This was routinely tested in numerous individual and group settings with favorable results. You can test this yourself the next time that you are listening to a poor presentation. Instead of mentally criticizing the speaker, focus on something positive to generate good feelings towards him. A This is a particularly useful exercise when one of your own team members is in difficulty.
Messy Organizations Are More Creative And Responsive
Both Culver and Dawson recalled McCay’s philosophies of organizational culture. Culver has referred to the evolution of matrix management and quality teams and their relationship to McCay’s early work. At Descon Bill and McCay worked to develop teams that could shorten development and production cycles using McCay’s principles; for example, McCay believed that work groups should be designed so that the leader of any one group reports to an individual in another group, creating infinite networks of responsibilities.