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Practical philosophy for managers and management

Practical philosophy for managers and management

There is only one reason why it is worth reading or writing books and articles about “better management of life. Let me try to explain.

First of all: avoid gurus like Tonny Robbins. They are funny, and they might be even therapeutic with their ideology of positive thinking and other “Christmas stories”. It is so lovely to watch from your soft armchair in a warm room by the end of the year when it seems that not only snow is fresh but also the coming year is going to start as a blank slate. 

Will start with what it means “better” in the context of the management of life. 


Better in this context means using as least resource for as much as a possible final result. Such “better” conforms to Evolutionary Stable Strategy, ESS. 


Life in this context subsumes all possible domains from everyday life to the management of social units like companies, hospitals or states. The tools for such management are provided by practical philosophy. Practical philosophy offers a set of mental tools that can grasp reality/issues/events in their holistic totality.

Management and KPI’s

One can manage to drive a car or to execute heart surgery or to cut costs in a company or a state by using specialised tools (mental and physical) for each mentioned task. But as much as driving a car does not prove that we can manage our everyday life and surgery execution does not enable us to understand and manage us as humans. Consequently, to run finances for a company or a state does not mean we manage them in a strict sense of management. 

To manage whatever complex task implies a manager that is able not only to understand the complexity of indicators that influence the behaviour of that what is managed but also able to manage all such indicators. Suppose indicators define a task (production, product, event or any other Key Performance Indicator, KPI). In that case, it is only possible to change how such task (production, product, event…) evolves by forcing a change of indicators.


In such moments manager has to decide about which indicators to act upon and which to leave aside since resources that are needed for such manipulation are always limited. In management, he has to follow Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) principle. But does that mean that he can also understand organisation by applying KISS principle? No!

In the selection of indicators, the manager has to prioritise them. It is self-evident that one can prioritise better (more efficiently) with a better understanding of complex interrelations behind each indicator and among all of them. The one that could understand the totality of interrelations would manage best. No one single living entity has not only enough mental potential to understand everything but also not enough other resources. 

So what to do? Are we incapable of managing in principle?

Complexity and Sensemaking activity

Of course not. For that reason, I have written the previous post. It is written as if intended for undergraduate philosophy student of logic or ontology. It is also written for the purpose of practical philosophy for the everyday manager. It gives a reassuring simplified explanation of evolutionary biology and neuroscience discoveries about how our mental abilities evolved and are operating in practice. Reassuring because mentioned discoveries unburdened managers to search for explanations rationally each time and all the time. No need. Evolution hard-wired the vast majority of management solutions so that we do not have to understand them. 

But on the other hand, that same evolution brought us memes.  Memes as metal entities that are not hard-wired but produced each time any mental process happens. This faculty of constant writings and re-writings of memes allows us to decipher new parts of reality as co-constructed by our own memetic activity. It is not only physical reality co-constructed by our physical activity, management, but also memetic reality by our own constant “making sense of…”. 

KISS + complexity

That means that it is a severe mistake if a manager asks for simple KISS explanations of the situation, but is not only desirable but also necessary to ask for KISS solutions. Explanations have to be as complex as possible to allow actions as simple and as manageable as possible.

I do not hide that this post gives an explanation of why page as an explanatory page of certain traits of reality primary goal is to enable you with mental tools to understand complexity.

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