What the Wright Brothers Can Teach You About Management


What was the greatest challenge the Wright brothers would face? Wilbur and Orville, from Dayton, Ohio, designed ‘wing-warping’ and gave the world controlled-flight. They were perfectionists who labored as fastidious mechanics.

The Wright brothers were meticulous men who understood tight tolerances with little allowance for error. In-flight failure could be fatal.

The brothers insisted on doing the work themselves. Wilbur would even do the mundane chore of pouring oil into the engine. His nickname was “Old Oilcan.” It was not a compliment. Today, we can almost hear Wilbur saying, “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself …”

And this is the work and thinking of the individual contributor. The work must be completed exactly right.

But the ‘work’ changed when the Wright brothers went from research to commercialization. Their newly formed Wright Company needed management attention.



Management is getting things done through the active support of others. The brothers would now see to it that others did the perfect labor. Employees would now pour oil into the crankcases — not the owners.

As the brothers made sales, their priority was to defend their patents. This was a management task that consumed attention. This depressing distraction took time.

Historian David McCullough would note this problem in the acclaimed biography, The Wright Brothers. “When we think what we might have accomplished if we had been able to devote this time to experiments,” Wilbur wrote in a letter, “we feel very sad … ”

They learned that manipulating a precision instrument requires a different skill set than managing relationships. Wilbur would lament, “[I]t is always easier to deal with things than with men …” (McCullough)

The most difficult transition might not be from ground to air but from individual contributor to manager. To go from things to people.

And this is the move that all successful small business owners go through. From doing the work — to managing the work. This is a dangerous time for the entrepreneur. The owner has a passion to create, to pull up his bootstraps with his own hands. His product and service are his own handiwork.

But no more. Staff now have that job and joy. Management is the reward, some would say the penalty, of a successful company. The Brothers’ greatest challenge may have been facing the change from hands-on entrepreneurs to management.

The Wright brothers adapted well. They won every lawsuit and built a dream and a company.

Wright Brothers Photo via Wikipedia

197 Comments ▼

Jack Yoest


Jack Yoest John Wesley (Jack) Yoest Jr., is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Management at The Catholic University of America. His expertise is in management training and development, operations, sales, and marketing. Professor Yoest is the president of Management Training of DC, LLC. A former Captain in the U.S. Army and with various stints as a corporate executive, he also served as Assistant Secretary for Health and Human Resources in the Administration of Governor James Gilmore of Virginia.

197 Reactions

  1. Jack, the hardest thing I found is that managing the sports team is harder then playing the sport. Great article!

    • Jack Yoest

      Chandler, you are right — managing requires a different skill set. And there is nothing harder than working as a player/coach. Where both the work of the individual contributor and the manager is done at the same time.

      Unfortunately, this is the first experience of nearly every manager. For example, a waitress is good at her job and gets promoted to ‘team leader.’ She will manage a station of 8 tables and two other waitresses.

      But she still must work her own tables and ‘plan, organize, lead and control’ the behaviors of other waitresses.

      She is both an individual contributor and a manager. This is hard work.

      Good comment,
      Jack

  2. I do agree that the hardest part of management is dealing with people. It is truly easier to deal with things as opposed to people.

    • Aira Bongco

      But it inevitable for any business is built with people and for people.

      • Jack Yoest

        Aira, you are so right– I work with a client who is an artist. The work is produced by her own time and talent and treasure.

        But she still must sell her work. And this puts her in the people business in managing her own company.

        Good Points,
        Jack

    • Jack Yoest

      Jack, yes, things are easy and people are difficult (this is why people are treated as things because relationships are so hard to work).

      Well Said,
      Jack

  3. When I was younger I read quite a bit on the Wright brothers, though perhaps that was more due to the fascination with flight. America and its free market approach caters directly to the small business owner and many times as the company grows or it becomes time to retire, you see an original manager struggle to let go of the thing he or she has built from the ground up with their own hands. I listen to a financial show on a daily basis and quite often i’ll hear of children struggling with a parent who refuses to step back even if they are incapable of the work or are well past retirement age. Management relates directly to relationships, and these relationships build the trust a true business manager needs to believe they can hand their life’s work down to someone else and know that the company will be ok.

    • Jack Yoest

      Baron, you are on to something.

      “By 1918 [Orville] had sold the Wright Company and established his own Wright Aeronautical Laboratory in a plain, one-story brick building downtown, where he intended to concentrate his energies on scientific research.

      McCullough, David (2015-05-05). The Wright Brothers (p. 258). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition. ”

      Managing was/is such a challenge for Orville that he returned to his original love of getting things done with his own hands.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  4. This article goes to show that management is indeed a practice and is completely individualized. There is something to be said about the value of trust and how it will lead to success.

    • Jack Yoest

      Bianca, great observation: management is a ‘practice’ like law and medicine where the work and learning is not quite perfect and never completely done.

      And this is why management is like housework — there is always something to do.

      That’s why mothers in the workplace make such terrific managers…

      Well Done,
      Jack

  5. It is very interesting to me that Wilbur took the time to fill the oil himself. This is a great example of what it takes to be successful, a desire to be the best and the work ethic to complete the job perfectly is what separated the Wright Brothers from their competitors. The work ethic that these men possessed is just as important today, businesses fail when their is a lack of attention to detail. The reason that the Wright brothers were able to make a successful transition from individual contributor to managers was that attention to detail. The pride they took in their work is directly correlated to their success. The modern business owner would be smart to take the same approach to business as the Wright Brothers did in the past. Having high standards is the start to any great business but trust in your employees is the crucial next step.

    • Jack Yoest

      Bill, an excellent outline of the strategies of the individual contributor compared to the manager.

      The individual contributor works in the world of perfection, six sigma, zero tolerance, error-free.

      The manager get things done through the active support of others — through the work of other people.

      And people are not perfect.

      A machinist working on a lathe living in the work of microscopic tolerances.

      The CPA has the numbers perfectly arranged and summed at the double underlined number at the bottom.

      But people are not machines and not software. We each have wide variations and mile-wide tolerances. We each have strengths and weaknesses that must be managed.

      Individual contributors and managers have different jobs.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  6. Adriana Del Castillo

    I also agree with the saying, “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself…”. Sometimes it is hard to become a manager and delegate certain tasks to other people and not micromanage their work. It is important to be able to assume the role of a manager, and perform other tasks that will further the success of a small business.

  7. I would agree in saying that doing the work of the contribute as well as the manager simultaneously can be very difficult. One needs to recognize what he is willing to give up for what he is willing to gain and put faith in the process or plan that he will implement to do so. I think that any good small business owner knows what he has to do in order to make the transition into a manager it is just difficult to pass the reigns of something that is your own onto someone else.

    • Jack Yoest

      Luke, management is a challenging and learning experience — and this is why the best managers and small business owners command substantial incomes– because management talent is so rare and valuable.

      And this is why it takes decades to season a competent manager. It takes experience, wisdom and judgment to make the best hires to delegate work to.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  8. Jack Yoest

    Adriana, True, it is nearly impossible to make the move from individual contributor to management. Few of us get it right.

    But to run a small business, this transition must be made. Good management is the true ‘scalability’ of a successful organization.

    Best,
    Jack

  9. The skills the Wright Brothers developed while designing, and testing their aircraft are the same skills that are needed to effectively manage a business, namely their attention to detail, and perseverance. The difficulty only arose when they needed to redirect their skill set to a new end goal, because they failed to realize initially that they only needed to change their perspective.

    • Jack Yoest

      Elias, you are close to the truth in that the Wright Brothers had to change from the perfectionism of the individual contributor (efficiency) to the world of imperfection of management (effectiveness).

      In managing there is often no exact correct solution. Most of the time being the boss is attempting to manage a conundrum — attempting to get the least worst outcome.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  10. It shows some of the greatest minds should not be apart of business management, and to be successful they need a trusted business manager.

  11. Colleen Trombetta

    The Wright Brothers possessed essential characteristics which helped them succeed in the innovation process. Their strong work-ethic, ability to adapt, and optimistic attitude allowed them to move past failures and set-backs, and move towards perfecting their work. These characteristics not only pushed them to be successful innovators, but these characteristics helped them manage a team of employees and build a successful business in a world of unexpected change and circumstances.

  12. Gabriella Cornacchio

    I really liked reading the article. It was fascinating to read about the various traits the Wright brothers embodied. Their determination and adherence to perfection is what really moved me. First and foremost, they spent an immense amount of time simply finishing the designs. In doing this, they had to make sure the design and build were precise, as to avoid further complications. From there, they had to alter their work ethic to go from working with one another to working alongside a team. This team came in the form of management. The brothers had to find supporters who could help them market their product to consumers. This type of adaption also required determination from the Wright brothers. This article was inspirational to me, because it shows how a small idea can be transformed into something larger. In order for this to happen and end in success, however, one must be adaptable and open to criticism from others. It also forces one to work alongside others by accepting the help of an outside team through management.

  13. “And this is the move that all successful small business owners go through. From doing the work — to managing the work”

    I agree with the above statement. Having a family owned small business, I have seen first-hand how difficult the transition can be to switch from taking part in the creative stage to overseeing it instead. There definitely is a realization process that small business owners must go through to understand that the technical or creative skills can be transferrable to a leading role as a manager. For example, Steve Jobs went through the transition as the creator to the CEO of Apple and his technical knowledge as a creator had a substantial impact on each Apple product that was released. It’s the transition or re-focusing of talent that is the most difficult to make. Similar to the Wright Brothers, once the transition is made then success can follow.

  14. Jack Yoest

    Gabriella, you are right: the small business owner works in the world of constraints and limited resources.

    And a key limitation is the shallow talent pool to recruit a talented CEO and a management team to accelerated building an organization.

    Managment has four key components: plan, organize, lead (and motivate) and control. These skills are developed over decades and are necessary to scale the entrepreneur’s innovation.

    Well Said,
    Jack

  15. Jack Yoest

    Jackie, you are so right. There are few management challenges greater than the family owned small business. Each family member can be an influencer and a decision maker. All family members do the perfectionist work of the individual contributor (intolerant of error)– but then, switch to the management roles working with people and our imperfections (and tolerant of error).

    And the family members cannot really be terminated.

    The small family business has all the traits of happy and unhappy families. With money and budgets and pressures. Not every family can cope well.

    The Wright Brothers never married and were doted on by their caring, compassionate sister, Katherine.

    When Katherine decided to marry at a late age, Orville felted betrayed. And Katherine was nevermore a part of the family business. The years never healed the bitterness.

    Orville did not attend Katherine’s funeral.

    I will pray your family business has a better outcome, no matter how much money you earn.

    Thank you for you comment,
    Jack

  16. This is very true, the hardest part for any entrepreneur is letting go of doing the task yourself, and delegating that task to subordinates while not losing quality or productivity.

  17. Jack Yoest

    Brandon, you touched on a key challenge for managers: delegating a task or a project without losing quality. And this is the concern for all small business managers–the individual contributor will probably not be able to do the work as efficiently as the manager. The boss can do the job faster, better and cheaper. But–

    The manager cannot do both the work of the individual contributor and his own. He may have to be satisfied that staff may only do the job at some 80% as well as the manager could.

    And this can be good enough.

    Good comment,
    Jack

  18. Cristina Del Rio

    “From doing the work — to managing the work,” strong and true assertion. Knowing how to do the job is not the same as knowing how to manage it. It is important to recognize that these two together (doing and managing) are indeed very difficult to do at the same time. Thus, the help of others, delegating tasks and working as a team is necessary for any great idea to become a successful business. I think that the difficulty for them, and for most entrepreneurs, is trusting others with your work and ideas (placing your products in the hands of others). This detachment can be difficult and can lead us to making their mistake: trying to do and manage it all. However, having a team with different mindsets and views, and counting on others is key to success. They were extremely talented and intelligent – I mean, look at their product! But knowing how to build airplanes was not the only important factor to their business, they also needed management. Great story.

    • Jack Yoest

      Cristina, well said. The greatest challenge of small business owners is not just in learning how to to delegate what to what person; how to lead then how to check and follow-up–

      The real challenge may be finding the right talent and staff to trust.

      And this is why most businesses in USA and nearly all in some cultures, such as in China, prefer to hire family members. They can be trusted.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  19. “From doing the work — to managing the work. This is a dangerous time for the entrepreneur. The owner has a passion to create, to pull up his bootstraps with his own hands. His product and service are his own handiwork.”

    I find it rather fascinating that the Wright Brothers had to change from the perfection of an individual benefactor to the great but faulty world of management. Managing must be one of the hardest things to do. You must lead your people, show them the way to success, even when their isn’t a way to it. It’s certainly not easy to do and manage. That’s were teamwork arrives. With teamwork, you’re open to endless ideas and opportunities. Even when the team does not have the same views as another, it is still necessary for the growth of the business. That way, everyone is open to learn from one another, thus, creating a great mind for the business.

    • Jack Yoest

      Raymond, that is a terrific descriptor of management, that “faulty world.”

      And this is what makes the transition so difficult — to go from the perfectionist world of the individual contributor to the foggy grays of management with its ambiguity and risk and imprecision.

      In the world of the individual contributor, it is enough to be right. But in the ‘faulty world’ of management, being right — being perfect — is not enough. The manager must advance organizational goals — it doesn’t matter who is in the right or in the wrong.

      Well said,
      Jack

  20. Julia Barakat, Will O'Neill, Andre Mitchell

    With the Wright brothers having to adapt from being the workers to managers is a difficult transition and even more difficult in the fact that there were no precedents on how to make this transition but still be successful. This shows just how genius of entrepreneurs that the Wright brothers were and why they were able to create so much success out of such little materials.

    • Jack Yoest

      Julia, Will and Andre, we can learn the science of management (I teach this stuff all day long). But most of managing is an art (insight) and craft (practice) which is gained best through on the job training.

      Cheers to the Trio,
      Jack

  21. This article shows that being hard working and intelligent do not perfectly translate to being a good manager. A good manager needs a certain level of trust and needs to be a good leader. A perfectionist, like the wright brothers, would struggle to trust others to do a job that he gives them. A good manager knows that his employees would get the job done for him efficiently and properly.

  22. This article rings very true. Management of inanimate objects is alot easier to do because they are much more consistent. Humans can mess up, while a rock cannot. A rock is predictable, while humans can do many different things at various quality’s. So you have to trust in other people in business and give them directions using good communications. Overall management is one of the best skills in this growing world.

    • Jack Yoest

      Edward, this is so true — managers get things done through the active, thinking support of others. But this is a challenge — people are less consistent than a keyboard or software.

      Well said,
      Jack

  23. I think that people believe that management is not an important part of how other things work, and I think this article proves that theory wrong as the Wright Brothers would manage on their own in which they had their own small business. I like how they transition from pilots to being entrepreneurs and I think it is important to see how people can transition in their lives and still be successful people. They may be more known for building planes, but they were just as successful business people as they were at building the first plane.

    • Jack Yoest

      Robert, an outstanding observation — the Brothers were the expert Individual Contributors as aircraft pilots. But then had to transition to managers where others did the “work.”

      Well done,
      Jack

  24. I think the transition from entrepreneur to manager is something that may require more time to master for some people than others, but regardless it is an essential skill to deal with people effectively and delegate tasks to increase the production of a company. If not, then a company would never expand.

    • Jack Yoest

      Carlos, exactly right — it takes decades to season a CEO to assume responsibility to take the top spot of a very large organization — or to run a small business.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  25. I thought this article very interestingly shows the difference between being an innovator and being a manager. An entrepreneur must have the ability to be both. They must be able to create a business from scratch, and then have the wherewithal to step back and let others do the small work while they focus on the bigger issues of maintaining the business.

    • Jack Yoest

      Stephen, this is the problem of every small business owner: to do what needs to be done but to also find and manage others.

      These are nearly opposite skills and most of us rarely get it right (the first time).

      Best,
      Jack

  26. Comment from Kallie Farley, Emily Long, Sean Dempsey, Colin Cunningham, and Bailey Gaul (Management 04 group):
    The Wright Brothers demonstrate the transition from performing the tasks of a business to delegating and managing the tasks. This is a complicated and difficult transition, especially when the enterpenuer is invested in their work and wants to make sure it is all perfect. As a group we agree with your opinion on how it is in fact easier to do it yourself, but when you create a successful business it is necessary to include others to aid you in your work. By understanding that you need help to have a successful busniess makes you a better manager and business person, thus this article teaches a valuable lesson about the business world.

  27. “And this is the move that all successful small business owners go through. From doing the work — to managing the work.”

    I thought it was interesting that the Brothers’ greatest challenge may have been facing the change from hands-on entrepreneurs to management. It goes to show that even some of the most intelligent minds cannot be separate from management and do all the work on their own. Management is a practice necessary for all businesses, small or large.

  28. Great Article! I enjoyed reading about the transition from engineering to business management. The Wright brothers were truly spectacular business men and inventors. It is great to read about the transition and growth of a successful company.

    • Jack Yoest

      Arthur, right — The Wrights were both inventors and small business managers. These days an inventor might be quicker to find a business partner to manage the day to day operations.

      Jack

  29. The hardest part of management is to allow yourself to pass responsibility off to those that you manage. It may not be apparent at the time that passing on responsibilities is the right call but over time your business will grow to large to be solely run and operated.

  30. This article points out many points of view that anyone that wants to pursue thier own business should see as a great example because the Write brothers took a risk to do something that wasn’t thought to be possible. I think during that time period it motivated people to grow their own businesses with the example they were given. This open a lot of people’s minds from thinking it wasn’t possible to it being possible. The Write brothers dedicated a lot of time to this wonderful business they created and to the day of today it has become a role model to many of us.

    • Jack Yoest

      Hally, correct — the Wright Brothers example serves as a model for the protection of intellectual property (wing wrapping for controlled flight) and the challenges of moving from individual contributor to management.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  31. Professor Yoest, I found this article really interesting because it is not a modern example. I never thought of how difficult it would be to pass down responsibility from owners to managers, nor how difficult it would be to go from only managing supplies to managing people.

  32. Dear Professor Yoest,
    I found it interesting how much personal effort went in to beginning a business.

    • Jack Yoest

      Lindsey, a small business is a jealous mistress and can be a destroyer of relationships.

      This is why astute managers also have outside advisors for both accounting and accountability.

      Jack

  33. “The most difficult transition might not be from ground to air but from individual contributor to manager. To go from things to people.”

    I really enjoyed this part of the article because I do agree that it is much easier to work with things rather than people.

  34. ” management is getting things done through the active support of others ” the Wright brother had to put this to idea of management into work to protect their patents. They used the idea of mangment to make their small business successful. The Wright brothers helped influence management to become what it is today.

  35. The Wright Company start-up began as the typical industrialized small business. Looking now at the popularity of flight and travel one never could have imagined the way the Wright brothers would mobilize the internationally commercialized business. This article promotes the necessity of management in a large business setting, despite the benefits that are presented with a sole contributor. Introducing management into a business unfortunately welcomes in the possibility of a lack of control, poor product quality, and drastically less time for innovation. However, the negatives can allow one entrepreneur to succeed and find “The American Dream.”

  36. “Management is the reward, some would say the penalty, of a successful company.”

    I think when a small business owner reaches this point in his career, he or she should feel very accomplished. All the hard work they have put into the business has payed off, they have in a sense made it. Yes, it may be hard to give up on completing their own work and letting others take over the production but it is worth it. It is a chance to change your role in your business and, if you are able to adjust, to make your business more successful and grow exponentially. However, not all can adapt and only great leaders can maintain their success after changing to management.

    • Jack Yoest

      David, Yes, “if” the small business manager can adjust — indeed, he must, if his organization is to grow. There is only so much time and energy the owner has. (She jealous mistress above…)

      Good points,
      Jack

  37. The most interesting part of the article is the truth that business owners face when hiring employees. It is no longer their job to create the product or in Wilbur’s case put the oil into the plane. It puts the management aspect of ownership under pressure, and this can be the downfall to a lot of small businesses. Using a tool to make something is predictable, the tool can repeat the task over and over until the product is finished or there is enough of it to meet demand. When humans take over the production part of a business the manager needs to stay on top of the employees, without seeming to overprotective of there idea or dream.

  38. Matthew Campanella/Frank Loughran/Jake Walsh IV

    Our group found that it is difficult for inventors and entrepreneurs to go from devoting your life’s work on your “baby”(for Orville and Wilbur it was the airplane) to managing a business and trusting others to do the work that you found so sacred. Its the feeling that you no longer have direct influence on the manufacturing of the product and that you must trust someone else to do the work to your standards. But all growing businesses experience this struggle and thats just part of growing your small business and making the transition from laborer to manager. -Matt, Frank, and Jake (Section 4)

    • Jack Yoest

      Matthew et al, you are right — this is the key question, can the small business owner’s passion be instilled into, say, hourly employees?

      Maybe not.

      This is where designing processes come to play — the small business owner has a variety of methods to keep a careful watch and control of his baby.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  39. The Wright brothers can teach us that management is key to a firm’s growth and success. The Wright Company may have been established by the brothers’ creativity and ingenuity, but The Wright Company would not be a “company” without the brother’s management. The brothers’ competent management resulted in defended patents and the foundation of the aerospace industry.

    • Jack Yoest

      Elliot, a small business can only grow, or scale, with trusted agents who will act as the owner would decide — managers.

      Managers are necessary for most organizations to expand.

      Best,
      Jack

  40. Professor Yoest,

    I took from this article that the management staff of a company can either make it flourish or make it fall. I never realized how vital management is toward a company’s success. I enjoyed the quote, “Management is the reward, some would say the penalty, of a successful company.”

  41. Everyone in the business world can learn something from the Wright Brothers-from employees to CEO’s. The Wright brothers had to have many attributes from all aspects of business in order to be successful. They were creative, hardworking, intelligent, and had to be good with people. Qualities like these are vital for managers and employees alike in order for a business to grow and be successful. Many times a small business owner will not have an extensive staff so he/she has to take on the roles of both the employee and the manager. Owning a small business urges the manager to be connected with their customers. This is where small businesses can have the competive edge against bigger corporations. People like other people. The small business owner can get to know their consumer and create a personal relationship that a big business would be unable to have. In our high tech world, personalized attention is so valued. The Wright Brothers-although they made an advance in technology- knew that people were a vital piece to their business.

  42. I completely agree that the most important part of management is being able to work as a team to get things done right. I will also add to it that it is vital to have mutual trust as well. The Wright brothers were scientists who needed to hand down there work, there creation to strangers and know that all they worked for was not for nothing and would be treated well. In this sence management is the hardest job, but if the right people are doing the job, people you can trust to get the job done, and get it done right then the business will run smoothly.
    Management is about teamwork, and trust. Without these things a business would not succeed.

  43. Ana Melissa and Paola

    I do agree that managing is more difficult than doing the work. People believe managing is the easy job but they are wrong. When managing you needs various skills to be able to deal with a lot of people that don’t agree with you. One of the skills required is that you have to be persuasive. When I played soccer in High School I was the co-captain. When the captain came to training it was easy because the only thing you needed to think about was scoring but when the captain didn’t show up all the responsibility was resting in my shoulder. It was difficult to score and manage the team.

    • Jack Yoest

      Ana and Paola, well written. The hardest job is that of the player/coach/team captain. Each has multiple roles and requires multiple personalities.

      This is nearly impossible. But it will probably be every manager’s first management job — as a team leader doing some work and managing some people.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  44. This article really opened a new prospective for me. Managing a business requires very strategic skills. Although I think that in order to manage a business you need to have the experience of working in the business, the skill set that a manager needs to pertain is far more complex than it seems. You need to be organized in all that you do and be able to lead people as respectively and efficiently as possible. “They learned that manipulating a precision instrument requires a different skill set than managing relationships.”

    • Jack Yoest

      Isabella, A well constructed comment — management is a skill, a practice that can be learned. But it requires time and study and effort.

      Managers may make managing look “easy” but there is far more to management that is visible to the individual contributor.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  45. I found this article interesting in the sense that the Wright Brothers needed to transition from hard labor to managing a business and hiring employees. The Wright Brothers enjoyed getting their hands dirty and innovating new projects, so when they needed to step away from this line of work and move to the business aspect of the company it was something unfamiliar to them. These two men would rather use their hands to work with machinery and improve their inventions than hire someone else to conduct what they love to do. I appreciate the Wright Brothers’s devotion to hard work because I think there is a lack of that in today’s society. Although managing a business might not have been what they favored to do, they excelled in that art which is why they are regarded as one of the greatest success stories of American innovators.

  46. This article explains how management is essential to have a successful business. The most intriguing point in this article is how difficult the transition from being a contributor to a manager is. It is not simple for an individual to become a manager because this individual must experience the first steps of accomplishing the daily chores of a business in order to have a clear background about what he/she is attempting to achieve. A real manager must have been through all the steps that could help him/her to establish and control a business.

  47. Management is about teamwork, cooperation and trust. Without these things a business would not succeed. People tend to overlook the responsibilities of a manager. Having a good manager with good management skills is essential to a successful business. I like how The Wright brothers did everything themselves. It is true that if you want something done right you do it yourself.

    • Jack Yoest

      Dylan, You cite the biggest concern for the small business owner, ” It is true that if you want something done right you do it yourself.” But the owner must become a manager and learn to get things done through others in order to expand his business. This is not always a perfect solution producing a perfect outcome.

      A business is seldom stagnate — it is either growing or dying.

      Jack

  48. Management is all about cooperation, teamwork, and trust. Without these things a business could not succeed. People tend to overlook the responsibilities of a manager. Having a good manager with good management skills is essential to a successful business. I like how The Wright brothers did everything themselves. It is true that if you want something done right you do it yourself.

  49. Professor Yoest,

    Interesting read, personally, when I think think of a company, I do not think about the management side, but rather I look at and base what I think of the company on the production. I now realize how important it is to manage a company well because manageing the employees directly impacts the efficiency of your production.

  50. Group: Austin Finnegan, Colin Eustace, Steven Button.
    In the article i found that with creating a new company or creating a new machine, comes many challenges such as people trying to steal the idea that you have created. People are the hardest thing to deal with when you create a breakthrough in technology.

    • Jack Yoest

      Austin et al, Security is always the first concern — in combat or in business–

      Sometimes hard to tell the difference…

      People will always want to take or copy what has value.

      We call this, “stealing.”

      Best,
      Jack

  51. This article certainly provided a side to the story of the Wright Brothers that I had never seen. The focus of this article was to highlight the difficult task of transition management from the creator to the employees. My biggest take away was that as a business owner, it is important to take the transition of tasks when hiring employees. Management is certainly a key to success in the business world, but so is adaptation. If one cannot adapt to the circumstances in their business climate, they are almost destined for failure.

    • Jack Yoest

      Matthew, you are exactly right — the most dangerous time in a business is when the small business owner makes his first hire.

      For (at least) two reasons:

      1) The owner may have made a bad hire — which is the worst mistake a manager can make, and,

      2) The owner may not know how to manage — unless he has sat in my seminars.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  52. I am a strong believer in the saying “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself”, but sometimes when you’re completing a task as big as what the Wright Brothers completed, you need help from others. This is where management skills come in handy. Its always easier when you have a group of people available to help.

    • Jack Yoest

      Danasia, I like your phrasing, “I am a strong believer in the saying “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself”, but…”” That conjunction is the connection — the very definition of management is getting things done…wait for it… through other people.

      Doing something yourself is the working of an individual contributor not management.

      We should heed GK Chesterton who wrote about the amateur (which is what most managers are) where, “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” https://www.chesterton.org/a-thing-worth-doing/

      Well said,
      Jack

  53. I completely understand why the Wright Brothers had trouble going from doing everything to the management side. When you build a business from the ground up, you feel as though only you know what makes it thrive and achieve efficiency. You want to be there to oversee every detail to ensure that the business meets the expectations and goals you have set for it. When you begin to move into the management part of the business, you are no longer able to do that. You are forced to trust a group of strangers with the business you created. This can be hard for a lot of entrepreneurs because to you, they have no idea what it takes to make the business run the way it is supposed to, and they have no idea what it took to get the business where it is. This is why management is considered both a reward and penalty. You can begin to feel as though you aren’t as big a part of the company as you were before. I can also see why the Wright Brothers felt it was easier to deal with things rather than people. With people, there is the stress of having to uphold relationships as well as the emotions that come with them. With things, there is none of that. Things are a lot less complicated, and they don’t bring the drama that other people do. I definitely was given a new insight in to the Wright Brothers that I never had before.

    • Jack Yoest

      Tyler, you are right — efficiency is the watchword for the individual contributor: faster better cheaper.

      But this is not the work of the manager — the job of the boss is to be “effective” which is to advance the goals of the organization.

      A well written comment,
      Jack

  54. This article provided an interesting perspective on management. It focuses on the transition “from doing the work to managing the work,” which I think can either make or break a business depending on how an individual adapts to this transition. The Wright Brothers are an example of people in business transitioning from working hard as entrepreneurs and innovators to focusing on the managing side of business, which was completely new territory for them. The Wright brothers adapted well because they quickly learned how to deal with people rather than things. They were driven to succeed, which helped them find a way to adapt.

  55. The wright brothers transitioned from pilots to entrepreneurs because of their great management skills. By doing everything themselves they were able to grow their brand and their business and form something very popular and useful.

    • Jack Yoest

      Emily, The Wright Brothers did want to control every aspect of their heavier than air flying machine.

      But I am not sure that they had great management skills, especially in the early years of their company.

      Jack

  56. “And this is the move that all successful small business owners go through. From doing the work — to managing the work” This quote really sparks my interest. I have witnessed this transition first hand as I watched a family member go through this. Knowing the true difficulty I believe that not every superb worker is cut out to be a manager, just as every manager (may contain all the knowledge) but lack the skill set to physically complete the task. With that being said I do not believe that a worker should have no managerial qualities nor should a manager lack a physical skill set. I believe a good manager has to have the perfect balance and knowledge to be able to hire the best men for the job (so he can trust them), but also be able to physically demonstrate things to his men when needed.

    • Jack Yoest

      Brenna, You are right,”I believe a good manager has to have the perfect balance and knowledge to be able to hire the best men for the job (so he can trust them), but also be able to physically demonstrate things to his men when needed.”

      This is especially true for the first line supervisor and the small business owner.

      Knowing each person’s job will become less of an issue as the manager begins to manage other managers and the company’s strategic direction.

      Best,
      Jack

  57. I enjoyed this article because it provided a different perspective on the story of the Wright Brothers. While their innovative side is widely known, it was interesting to learn about the management side of their business. The managers of a business should have the same burning passion and desire for their product to succeed as the creators and owners do.

    • Jack Yoest

      Andrew, you hit on the headache of every small business owner — finding managers and staff who will work as hard as the boss does.

      This is even a greater challenge in other cultures. I worked with a family with a business in Hong Kong where the father, the patriarch could never go on vacation — because the employees (as mice) would simply stop working when the owner (as cat) was away.

      The only solution is to install other family members or ‘adopt’ managers to be a part of the family.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  58. “They learned that manipulating a precision instrument requires a different skill set than managing relationships.” – This article has opened a new prospective for me. It shows that as experienced as you may be in a certain area, becoming a manager requires far more. Managing a business requires a specific set of skills. You must be able to lead your employees as organized and efficiently as possible.

  59. I found this article very interesting because I never knew about the struggles of the Wright Brothers outside of their designs. I found it easy to relate to this article from being a pool manager myself. Going in I thought it would be easy being the boss of people who were both my age and older, but i soon realized its a much different task than I thought. To be a manger one must have special communication skills that are not possessed by everyone. The article states, “[I]t is always easier to deal with things than with men …” (McCullough). After reading this, it is very clear that management is a very difficult job for many people, eve the Wright Brothers.

    • Jack Yoest

      Katie, you are exactly right — management just seems so easy, until we are actually tasked with running a unit.

      And that’s why we should always extend grace to our bosses — they are attempting to balance multiple points of accountability.

      Best,
      Jack

  60. I found the quote of the article “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself …” to be wrong. I find that you might not be the best at doing something just because you do it yourself. There might be someone who you hire that can do something way better than you. For example the oiling of the motor. I am sure that there was someone better than Wilbur at doing this and he might have not been doing it 100% correctly. I think that the only thing that you can do if you do it yourself is that you will do it as good as you picture it in your mind. However, I find that an important part of being a manager and leader is that he must recognize that he might not be the best. He must recognize that there might be someone better than him and to be even more successful the manager should hire him not for your own interest, but for the company’s. In the end a manager’s responsibility is to improve the company or business always.

    • Jack Yoest

      Gabriel, you are on to something: Managers must always — always — always hire people smarter than they are. The business owner had better not be the smartest person in the room (or the boss hired the wrong people…)

      Jack

  61. Jack,

    Just the encouragement needed to start my day. I’ve hired great people at our retained search firm…it’s time for me to release and empower them to do the work. My greatest challenge is allowing our team to put their own spin, personality and even different approach on our search and selection process. Encouraging them to take ownership within the framework of our structure…and for me to stop putting oil in the engine.

    To be honest, its time for me to stop micromanaging, letting them do what they are called to do while I focus on what I’m called to do which is building a search firm that serves non profit and church communities. I need to enable them do their work, guide them, provide vision as I focus on our clients.

    Thank you for your article…a great reminder and encouragement to those of us who own and operate small businesses who need to relinquish the day to day activity required when we launched our companies.

    President
    AGORA

  62. Jack Yoest

    Rob, Excellent points. The great challenge for the business owner is to delegate, as you outlined. And this is what we preach in academia. But the problem is that the owner may not have staff in place who are able, available or willing to take on the initiative and the work.

    Your flexibility in inviting the staffers’ “spin/personality” on execution is the model attitude of a good boss.

    Well done,
    Jack

  63. I agree with this article, because doing that work is a lot different from managing the work. This is a problem that many entrepreneurs will face. When making a transition from contributor to manager you are making a transition from things to people. The good companies make this transition well and understand what needs to be managed.

  64. Christine Loughery

    What stood out to me most in this article was the quote, “[I]t is always easier to deal with things than with men …” (McCullough). I think many people can relate to this quote because dealing with other people, as opposed to yourself, requires unique skills. This then ties into the idea of management. While it may have been easy for the Wright brothers to manage their own tasks when it came to managing other people it was a whole other story. The transition from doing your own work to managing the work of others can be a very difficult one, but it is essential in the growth of a business.

  65. One thing that I liked about this article was that it pointed out how being meticulous and detail-oriented are helpful in business. I think that it is very important for a person to do his or her work exactly how it is expected to be done. This is because when people catch an error on a person’s work, even if it is small, they could immediately assume that he or she is lazy or incompetent. Getting work done right requires close attention to detail. However, companies cannot be successful by the work and effort of a single person, so it is important that people realize that they cannot do everything themselves. They need to delegate work to other employees, and everyone in the company should be responsible for doing their own work right.

  66. MacKenzie Gardner

    What stuck out most to me in this article was the quote ” if you want something done right, you must do it yourself”. I believe it is extremely difficult to let others do work and not micro manage them when it is your work at stake and you want to make sure everything is done correctly. Managers have some of the most important jobs in the workplace because they assure the work is done correctly and in a timely manner.

  67. This article is very interesting and brings up alot of problems with businesses. Everyone has a different skill set that needs to be utilized. Some people are number cruncher, creative thinker’s, outgoing sales people, but each are needed in the company. The issue with some companies is that the people who are number cruncher excel at there job and when it comes time for a promotion, they do very well at there job and could be qualified but the thing is that they are good at number crunching not necessarily managing. So when they become managers, the company loses one of there best number guys to management and they have a spot they need to fill but there might not be someone qualified right away. I think that is what this article is getting after because it said that one of the biggest challenges was moving from inventors to advertisers. Luckily for the Wright brothers they passed this challenge and did a great job.

  68. This article brings up some very interesting points about management and running a business overall. I agree that sometimes in order for something to be done right you have to do it yourself but this could sometimes cause a problem within your business. If you are the CEO or one of the top-level managers doing everything yourself can be very time consuming and could take away from the tasks that only you can handle. Thats why delegation within a business is very important, allowing others below you to handle more responsibility can allow you as a manager to focus on what you need to do to keep the company running. Time is one of the biggest factors a manager has and by giving more responsibility to other employees it gives the manager more time to get his work done efficiently and correctly.

  69. Mary Margaret Sheridan

    I think this is an interesting article because it highlights one of the potential downsides to owning a successful small business. When one decides to open his own business, he has the drive and the passion to work tirelessly in order to perfect every aspect of his business. As his business grows, he starts to have less of a hand in the day-to-day tasks that he once loved doing when he first started to grow his business. I think this would be hard for many small business owners to give up some of the responsibility and to not be able to have a say in every single small detail of the day-to-day business. I think this is something that is inevitable if one wants to grow a successful business.

  70. “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself…” This statement could not be more true. We can only count on ourselves to complete a project the exact way we want it to be done. However, by not allowing outside input we are depriving ourselves from the creativity and logistics of others. A great manager knows the type of people they can trust to get the job done the right way. However, an even better manager trusts his team to build on his great idea to make it bigger and better.

  71. I agree with my class mates what caught my attention the most was the quote ” if you want something done right, you must do it yourself”. To become a successful manager you must have the work done by yourself or you go over the work and see if it needs any adjustments. This will help to have a clear and consistent work.

  72. I can perfectly relate to the Wright Brother’s management struggle. Two summers ago I served as a camp counselor, and the next summer I served as a camp director. This is a big change, and people start relying on you heavily for information and answers to questions. I have always struggled with delegation, and I learned as a camp director that it is impossible to do everything on your own. I learned to delegate very quickly and as a result was a successful camp director.

  73. Business should be built for the greater good. For large scale success, small business owners must expand their horizons and include other people. Although trusting others to do the work you want done perfectly is difficult, people are needed for overall business success. I think a great way to make sure the business will succeed in the hands of others is to instill morals and purpose to your workers. If all workers work towards the same goal for the same reason, they will care more about your business. Managing people who truly care about the business’s success will allow the owner to manage more and work less.

  74. I found this article to be very interesting. Most people who invent something become and entrepreneur of their product. Many of these people do not necessarily have experience in business and management but they do know their product, and how they want it to be produced. From going to developing a product to managing a product can be very difficult and challenging. I understand what the Wright brothers are saying when they said, “If you want something done right do it yourself.” Many people have this mind set and it is hard to put responsibility into another person’s hands. However, if you want a business to grow you need to be willing to give responsibility to other people.

  75. I found this article very interesting. What stuck out most to me was the quote “If you want something done right you must do it yourself.” I would have to agree and disagree with this quote. Doing something by yourself does not guarantee that you are doing that task right, but you can most certainly do it the way that you want it done. Just because you did It yourself, does not mean that you did it right. The part that I disagree with this comment is not understanding that sometimes there are people that are better than you at certain skills. For the most of the time you are not going to do everything right. Therefore, to be successful in business, I think you should be able to give others authority to complete certain tasks, while you complete the ones you are good at. It is important to understand you are not the answer to everything and sometime you have to drop your own self-interest and hire people to do work you may not best suited to do.

  76. I think that what the Wright brothers struggled with is something that I would probably struggle with as well as a small business owner. It must be so hard to let go of control of something that you have worked so hard on and care so much about. As a smart entrepreneur you have to know when it is time to let go of your project and take on more of a managerial roll in your small business. You have to accept that someone may be able to control different variables more efficiently than you are. As a manager/entrepreneur you have to learn to let go and accept your new role as someone who watches over the work instead of someone who does all of the work for the company. If the manager can learn to do this the business will be successful.

  77. I am quite similar to the Wright brothers as I find that relying on others a difficult task. This feeling is only intensified when you know that you are better qualified or love to do what ought to be done on your own. Additionally, when one’s name or reputation is associated with a product or service, you wish to ensure everything is done perfectly. However, if one is in a managerial position, they must learn to delegate by relying on staff workers so that the manager can focus on other aspects of their job and help a business to grow. Personally, I see this “Wright brothers” attitude with my Dad, who owns his own business. Dad not only manages the workings of the business, but he also completes the tasks of other positions to ensure a quality product.

  78. Catherine Warchot

    I find myself being able to related to Wilbur Wright and his need for control over his own projects. I am very much the same way, and I understand that it must have been difficult, for Wilbur in particular, to go from doing everything themselves, to stepping back and managing their business instead. I do, however, think that it is indeed a reward to go from doing all the hard, manual labor to becoming a manager and getting to oversee everything instead. Even though you’re not doing anything for the business hands-on, you become the most important part of the business.

  79. Jack Yoest

    Katie, you are so right — we want things done exactly right and we can do a job perfectly as an individual contributor.

    But when we move to a management role from a staffer, we move from the world of perfection to that of supervision which is the world of imperfection. Managing is not perfect.

    Remember, the individual contributor works with machinery, tools, software — that is: things.

    The manager deals not with things but with people. And people are imperfect. As Immanuel Kant said, “Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

    Cheers,
    Jack

  80. Madalaina D'Angelo

    I understand how the Wright brothers feel– when you have a passion project, or something you’ve worked so hard to develop, handing the reigns over to management can be difficult, especially when you’re the kind of person who feels it’s easier to do everything yourself than trust someone who could potentially mess up what you’ve worked so hard to create. But I think that’s where the owner/creator/founder has to from the start hire people he or she trusts implicitly, and train any new hires and employees in such a manner that they feel comfortable and confident with stepping back and allowing management and staff to keep their vision/business running as smoothly as if the owner were doing it all themselves. Continuously checking in with management and staff, and being an active part of training and of the business is key.

  81. Jack Yoest

    Madalaina, you got it right: The worst mistake a manager can make is to make a bad hire.

    And trust, as you note, is important as the manager manages the relationships. But the trust has to be earned by the staffer and not automatically bestowed.

    As President Reagan often quipped, “Trust but verify…”

    And your comment echoes Reagan where “Continuously checking in with management and staff, and being an active part of training and of the business is key.” This is the ‘Control’ the evaluation component of management where we compare the end results to the plan.

    Well done,
    Jack

  82. Gerald Esparza

    “From doing the work — to managing the work”, this stuck out to me the most in this article. The Wright brothers transitioned much better than some, but the change from hands on work to managing relationships and people is one that could doom most small business owners. The realization that you need help should be looked at as a positive in business, however for small hands on business owners it can be frustrating and to see that the Wright brothers also went through the transition was interesting. Overall I enjoyed the article because it highlighted an interesting aspect of transitioning for small business owners and that even some of the most legendary inventors went through it.

  83. Leanne Robinson

    This article resonates with me when referring to front-line management. What is interesting about the Wright Brothers, is that they were their own bosses. Not only did they labor on their product, they created a company and an eventual industry out of it. It is worthwhile to note that there is difficulty in making the transition from technical skill to interpersonal skill, and a small business owner must in many ways, effectively time manage to do both. While it is sad that the Wright Brothers could not focus on their designs due to commercial push-back, it taught them the value of people skills. No matter how great a product is, someone must be there to guide the process, protect ideas, and sell their mission. Whether that be a newly hired manager or the person who innovated the product is what is tricky. I think that it was bold that the Wright Brothers found that balance in their transition between technical and personal skill, as they ended up winning their suits and taking the world by storm, creating a multi-billion dollar industry. Great article!

  84. Abdulaziz Baamer

    This is an interesting article. The Wright brothers had crucial qualities, which helped them to succeed. One lesson I learned from Wright brothers that understanding the process is very important to get the work done. Also the work ethics is an important part to get the work done perfectly.

    • Jack Yoest

      Abdulaziz, true, and the process of management — the science of managing — is to get things done through the active support of others.

      The manager cannot do everything by himself with his own hands — the boss needs staff to do the hands-on work.

      Jack

  85. This is certainly a very interesting article to read. As I read through the first part of the article the first thing that came to my mind was a phrase that I was about to read “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”. This for me is a life principle and at the time for the Wright Brothers it was imperative for things to be done right. Nevertheless, before this article I have always thought that having an idea is not enough to succeed, and this article proves it. Something else I though off is that in such a technological world this skill and ability to do things ourselves can easily fade away. I believe that at some point we should let someone else do things once a process is proved and successful. This will permit us to move on and set more goals. Finally a phrase that caught my attention from this article is It is always easier to deal with things than with men. I agree with this because once we have a new idea we have to able to develop it without letting other people influence our work.

    • Jack Yoest

      Paola, you are right: “It is always easier to deal with things than with men…” and dealing with people and the interconnectedness of complex relationships is what separates management from the work of the individual contributor.

      Things, are easy. People, not so much.

      Best,
      Jack

  86. Joseph Lasaracino

    The Wright brothers worked extremely hard to build their foundation from every nook and cranny. Even the littlest things the Wright Brothers did like filling the oil proved to show how dedicated the brothers were. Once things shifted from research, the Wright Brothers were forced to utilize their managerial skills. Managerial skills are crucial for people in business, because it is important to be vigilance, organized, and attentive. However, the most pivotal attribute of management is adjusting and implementing new ideas to formulate solutions. I think the article exemplifies the forum for managerial practice, because like the Wright Brothers it is vital understand your products and pay close attention to detail.

    • Jack Yoest

      Joseph, good point — managerial skills are necessary because so much is needed to get done, the boss just can’t do it all.

      The best managers learn early the art and practice of delegation.

      Best,
      Jack

  87. Mary Margaret Sheridan

    “[I]t is always easier to deal with things than with men …” This quote from Wilbur Wright confirms the fact that not all small business owners are cut out to be managers. While it is a mark of success to go from doing the work to managing the work, it can be a tough shift for small business owners to make. For most small business owners, they take pride in doing the work and they want to control every detail of the operation they worked so hard to build. I can see how it would be hard to shift from doing the work that they so passionately started to managing others doing that work.

    • Jack Yoest

      Mary Margaret, you are exactly right — the serious challenge for the small business owner is to ‘allow’ staffers to do the doing — to do the work.

      The ‘problem’ is that the owner/entrepreneur loves the work: that’s why he got into the business to begin with.

      Cheers,
      Jack

  88. Management has the ability and should follow The Catholic Social Teaching of subsidiarity, allowing work to be done at the lowest possible level where the skills are adequate for the task. The Wright Brothers seemed to get their work done. They were passionate about their craft and wanted it to be done perfectly – there is nothing wrong with that. However, managing through subsidiarily allows people will the correct skill and specialization to complete the necessary task. Therefore, the task can be done perfectly too. More importantly, managing through subsidiarity works toward the common good because it gives people more jobs and betters society. As the manager/entrepreneur loves his work, he can also love the impact that work has on other people in society if he manages through subsidiarity rather than trying to do everything himself.

  89. I found this article very interesting, and it reminded me of a semi-personal anecdote. My mom was a nurse. She, like so many, started from the bottom and worked her way up. She ultimately became the head nurse in her ward. When she was starting off, she was the nurse that did the dirty work, the work that the head nurses didn’t necessarily want to do. As she worked her way up, she began delegating and overseeing other nurses doing work. She mentioned to me that it was hard for her to make that transition because she was so used to being hands-on with the patients, as that was her passion. It was important that she made that transition, however, because it allowed her to move up in her field and become successful.

  90. I really enjoyed reading this article. It shows the drive of an individual to constantly improve. Sometimes, it is best to do things on your own to make sure it is right. When starting a business, you need to make a name for yourself, and who better to represent yourself then your own work! Of course, as your business becomes more successful, more people are hired and your role slowly transition from being ‘in the field’ to managing others. After the challenge of transition, it can be rewarding to then act as a mentor for those who were previously in your situation to move up the ladder.

  91. What I found important in the article is that the Wright brothers wished that they had more time to devote to experiments. As managers they treated their company like individual contributors. The Wrights were too hands on and had trouble relating to people enough to manage them. Their operation was perfect when it was just them two because they trusted themselves to get the work done. If the Wrights had found competent employees to trust, then they would have had more free time to make decisions and experiments

  92. What stood out to me is that if the Wright’s had appointed competent managers to handle the lesser problems of the company, then they would have more available free time to experiment. The Wright brothers made the mistake of being too hands on while managing. It is hard for them to allow their employees to do the work because the company was their great idea. The Wrights wanting to be involved in their company is a understandable mistake.

  93. The Wright brothers main problem was that they tried to be too hands on as managers, which is an understandable mistake. They were passionate about their work and wanted to make sure things were done right. If the Wrights had let their employees do the work, then the two brothers would have had more free time for thinking and experiments.

  94. didnt mean to reply so much, thought there was a glitch and my posts weren’t sending

  95. The quote about doing things yourself to make sure they are done correctly really rings true with me. Why have someone else do something that you have mastery in? It’s still important to delegate to subordinates, but if a project is so important that you want to make sure it’s down to perfection, why not handle it yourself.

  96. There is certainly something that can be said about those that do everything themselves. It takes a mindset and a passion in what you are doing to maintain every meticulous detail. When it comes to management, I don’t think anything actually changes. The only thing that is different is the details you are focusing on. “Old Oilcan” can take that meticulous nature to the companies books, or how he prepares for a sales pitch, or how he hires his employees. They are stilling doing what they love, just working on different aspects.

  97. It is difficult to transition from worker to manager when you have put so much time and effort into what you have crafted. You see this with a lot of residential construction workers who start their own company, they all started by doing all the work themselves and when they transition to a manager roll, they feel the need to fix every little problem. Some people handle the transition better then others, like we have said in class before leaders are not born, but you can be born with natural leadership skills.

  98. Fernanda Jocelyn-Holt

    From being an entrepreneur to then becoming a manager is not easy at all, just like the article stated. It is difficult to go from someone who created a business and it becoming very successful, to then letting others do some of the work for you. When this happens, most leaders and/or bosses tend to be very controlling making it hard for others to work with them. When this happens, the leader and/or boss needs to learn how to step back, and voice to others what he or she would like them to do for them, in hopes that they complete the job and do it as asked.

  99. I like the focus on time in the article. The majority of things you do in life are going to have a timeline to finish the task. By being a good manager, you are able to practice time management in what you do. You are able to do that by tasking the appropriate person to each task that you think will fit best. If you assign the wrong person to the task, it is almost like you are assigning yourself to it because you are going to have to go back and fix his or her work.

  100. What I took away from this article was that the Wright brothers followed the “do it all myself or not at all” way of working that they didn’t know how to manage when it came to people. When you’re that high in your company, you should have people under you doing the things like pouring the oil. It’s a different time now where these types of things are more common compared to when the Wright brothers were around which makes sense as to why they loved to do it all themselves.

  101. I agree with something that has been mentioned but a lot of others that managing of people is so important when running a business. Managers should always have the interests of the people they manage in mind and should think about them over themselves. Adapting also plays into this again, as a great manager must adapt to the needs of the people under them.

  102. I don’t think it is any secret that inventing a product or service is far easier than growing and managing the organization tasked with selling the product. It is no secret either that fully developed organizations tend to crumple under poor management regardless of the viability of their business, this article correctly highlights the inaccuracies involved with facilitating human relationships. Clearly the steps taken by the Wright brothers to ensure the growth and sustainability of their fledgling organization proved to be more than sufficient in achieving many if not all of their goals.

  103. I think one interesting takeaway from this that I got was that persistence and determination are key. The Wright brothers were obviously pioneers in their field, and it was no easy field to be a pioneer in at the time. It’s wild to think of how far the airplane industry has come since then, and it may have never been possible if it wasn’t for the persistence of these guys. Do whatever it takes to get it done if you truly want it done.

  104. Every big thing starts out small. In other words, nothing is great and perfect since the start. It is important to see how through creating and developing things we learn to be perfectionists in that field. We become obsessed with our products and that is how we create perfect things. When it comes giving the power to others is hard because we know how to do them perfectly. However, in order to become big it is important to teach others to also be as perfectionists and that way we can become bigger and better.

  105. Working on a project yourself and managing a team both have their own challenges. However, doing the work yourself is less complicated due to a higher level of control. For example, if I was writing a program and ran into a problem, it would be up to me to do research to figure it out. On the other hand, if I was a manager who delegated the task of writing a program to a team and a similar problem occurred, it has a greater capacity to go wrong. It has a greater capacity to go wrong because perhaps the team is not as invested. Relying on other people to carry out tasks can sometimes be difficult without the proper motivation and understanding the most effective way to get a team to perform their best.

  106. Kathleen Roszyk

    “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself.” this is a phrase many of us have heard from a young age; nevertheless, in business, it is best to abandon this idea to achieve a completed staff work. This concept is a difficult task for owners of companies, especially small businesses. In many cases, these owners have typically put the time and hard work into growing the company, and the concept of handing over the reins seems like a good theory, but is most difficult to do. This is a challenging, but necessary trust for owners to have with their employees, in particular for owners who are perfectionists as they may feel that every product has their name on it, and it must be perfect.

  107. Teamwork can be beneficial in many situations. If an employee doesn’t communicate with other employees and thinks about ideas together then that can be a big problem. The Wright Bros. believed that if you want to do something right then you got to do it yourself.However, this can be difficult nowadays in the business industry. It’s not a bad thing to brainstorm and communicate with others to reach a common goal. It all depends on the person and his ability to work by himself. Working with others can be a difficult thing to fo. However, if an employee can do a hell of a job by only trusting his own ideas and instincts, then it is something rare and can be given that liberty.

  108. Bernardo Guillamon

    The key takeaway that this article highlights is the importance of managing and maintaining that management. Anyone can have a great idea and a company with billion-dollar potential, but all of that is impossible to achieve if your company/idea is poorly managed. In this article, the story of the Wright Brothers is a great example of how these men were able to create a unique product, test it, and launch it. They attributed all of their success to great management. Good management is what led to the development of their business and idea. If they had not had good management their idea may have been implemented much better by someone else.

  109. Elizabeth Gittings

    If you want something done right do it yourself. The Wright brothers were innovators and knew how to deal with the machinery they had created. It is hard to understand how an object works unless you created it and worked with it every step of the way. This is very similar to adding human power to an organization. Nothing is easy when you introduce a person to something new, or someone new because they don’t have the immediate knowledge to work with it or them in a perfect manner. Skills must be learned as well as feelings and culture. I think that the Wright Brothers being around an object that they created had a hard time allowing other people to get their hands on it. This mentality is completely understood because I also wouldn’t want anyone to touch something I gave my time and money to.

  110. The Wright brothers were such insanely talented visionaries that they felt it was their responsibilities to complete all the tasks at hand. I do not blame them because they were the only two working on man-controlled flight at the time. Although anybody could pour oil into a can they believed if something were to go wrong by even a slight margin that it could be the death of them. That’s why they took the time to pour the oil into the can to insure there were no mistakes. This is different in today’s world to an extent because there are so many delegations in major companies but a true boss will still leave the work they feel most important in their own hands in order be sure of the job getting completed.

  111. Katarina Percopo

    The biggest take away that I found from this article was that if you want something done right you must do it yourself. This is something that should be avoided in a successful business. The boss should not have to do everything for the company so that it is done right. It is his job to hire the right employees that will do their tasks and complete them in the manner expected by them from the boss. It is the employees job to understand from the beginning what the boss wants and expects of them and then they need to do their work with that in mind.

  112. I feel the phrase “If you want something done right, do it yourself” is extremely important to the mindset and work ethic of any small business owner at the beginning of their company. That kind of mindset is what inspired my grandfather to start his company in the first place; he felt had the skills and work ethic to provide better service than what was currently being offered. By providing an efficient, quality service to others, my grandfather believed he was doing “right”. As his company grew, he hired people he felt had similar values, and who above all had a strong work ethic; the company would not survive without the right kind of dedication and perspiration propelling it forward. My grandfather attributes the success of his business to the fact that from management to labor, each and every worker shared the same vision.

  113. Sometimes that hardest thing that people deal with is other people. This can be the case when someone has created something themselves and has to start relying on others. It can be hard to trust other people with your work that you have been working on for a long time, even if it is as simple as pouring oil. Owners of startup companies need to learn to give tasks to other people while they manage them. They can’t do all the work on their own. They have to go from learning to start their own business to learn how to trust others to get the work done. They have to interact with people more and not just deal with product.

  114. This article perfectly describes the main issue a manager has. Dealing with people is probably one of the most difficult tasks any person has. Everyone has their own opinions and they are their own person which makes it harder for a manager to deal with. A manager has to create solutions and compromises because not always will their followers agree with him. Sometimes the manager believes he should do all the work because he does the work perfectly but now that he manages other people, he must pass on his skills and teach it to his followers. Great managers are the ones who are able to teach and clearly communicate with his followers. A good teacher will not have to worry about his workers doing something the wrong way because he has taught his followers well. That is the biggest reward for a manager, passing on his knowledge of a task to his workers in order for them to do it the way the manager likes it, which will save much more time for the manager.

  115. It is interesting to me that Wilbur Wright described managing as a sad process. The action and completion of that action is what brings joy to the performer. The only thing worse than not being able to perform that action anymore is watching others perform that action. It reminds me of one of the worst aspects of sports; injuries. When an athlete is injured he or she must stand idly by and watch his or her teammates practice and play without them. Having put in so much work and time into something only to be injured and taken out is depressing and frustrating. It fits the description of a penalty used in the article to talk about the promotion to manager.

  116. One thing that I enjoyed about this article was the fact that being detail oriented is one of most effective thing in business. When one is detail oriented the business flourishes for the better. For example, the work that is on a timeline will get done before the deadline that way no one is left scrambling around at the last minute. Also, the act of completing work is half the desire to make sure it is done in its entirety. Most of the time people miss out important details as a staffer, but this article helps show the importance of being so detailed that nothing is left out.

  117. It is true that many small business owners must make a smooth transition from doing the work to simply managing it. My dad has owned his business for 30 years and when I was very young, I would often see him doing the work that his company would do and as I got older, one could find him alot more frequently at his desk, making calls, writing contracts and overseeing the day to day projects that the business does. It is a transition and if it is not made smoothly, the business owner could mess all of his control up. As a company grows older and bigger, someone needs to simply control and manage it.

  118. Giving up power is a hard thing to do, but giving up responsibility and the work of the company that you built from the ground up. When up until that point you have been responsible for everything in the company and now you must delegate because you physically cannot handle the workload, you’ve made it. But it is tough to relinquish power and take on a managerial role. However it is a necessary step, and one that requires patients, the owners need to hire capable workers and be able to teach them how the process is done. Then the p=owners just need to trust the process, trust that they can manage their workers and trust that their product is in capable hands and will continue to produce the way that led them to their success.

  119. The Wright brothers’ biggest challenge of transitioning into their new role as managers is a challenge that any highly productive individual contributor can expect to encounter. It seems that as soon as one of these stellar individual contributors starts to get ‘momentum’ he is quickly promoted into a management position. Thus, while hard work and technical skill are essential, it’s important for good workers to always be practicing their ability to lead and to work with people so as to stay ready for the next stage in their career. In the long run there is no getting around the need for ‘people skills’ and leadership ability if one is to be successful.

  120. this article depicts that one must make the transition from doing all the work to having someone doing the work for you and managing them. in fact this is a reason why some companies never succeed at the large scale. the owner may be doing all the work early on, but once the company grows the owner no longer can keep up with the day to day tasks. unless the manager transitions from day to day tasks to long term planning the company is doomed. the wright bros. had a bad habit of trying to “oil the engine themselves”. Not surprisingly the company was held back because of it. the hardest part of growing a company is learning how to go from doing the work to managing.

  121. Grant Czerwinski

    This article was very interesting and had some useful information packed into such a small piece. I don’t agree with the saying “if you want something done right, do it yourself”. I find it an extremely close minded way of thinking because it means you’re not open the ideas and thought processes of others. People do have better approaches to a situation than you and to say that the “right” way is your way is very close minded. The president’s cabinet is filled with members that hold polarizing opinions for a reason, to introduce new ideas and get a very broad perspective on situations.

  122. Adrienne Thompson

    I liked the message about the Wright brothers learning how to go from doing the work themselves to learning to direct staff when their business started to become successful. I agree that management can be a reward and, yet a penalty in itself. It is difficult to go from doing things yourself, to the way you like to do things, to then hand over your skills to staff members. While management is about making decisions, it is important to make the right decisions. For another class project I had to interview a manager of a company, and he described how he acts as not only the manager, but also the accountant, auditor, and does a number of others jobs. Sometimes it is necessary to let go and have faith and trust in the staff you hired to do the job right. If you want the job right you can do it yourself, but if you want it done more efficiently and right, then communicate with your staff about what you want and what needs to be done.

  123. The transition exhibited here by the Wright Brothers in their establishment of their business serves as a perfect example for how to start and manage a business. They transitioned from workers in the field of flight, and used their expertise to develop a successful business and ultimately be the first in flight. They paid attention to the details and were motivated to work hard to accomplish their goal of flight. They brought in people who shared this passion and goal and as a result were able to do something special in their discovery of flight. The importance of bringing in motivated individuals as a manager cannot be understated. When everyone is on the same page, working towards the same goal, this is when the manager truly reaps the rewards of managing a business.

  124. In business, I believe that there will be times when you will have to complete work on your own or with others, such as co-workers. This article highlighted the belief that everything has to be done on your own if a task needs to be completed. However, organizations should praise team work for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons that team work is essential is work gets done more efficiently. Leaders should put trust in their staff to complete work and this will lead to much more success within the company. This article also highlighted the difficulties in dealing with co-workers and people you work with. I believe it is sometimes easy to rely on yourself, but asking for help or asking to work with others could be a good idea when working in a company. Everything will go much more efficient if everyone is on the same page and works together.

  125. The Wright brothers faced the inevitable entrepreneur’s dilemma. It is easy as a visionary or entrepreneur to want to control all of the processes of your idea. However, although someone is good at innovation or creativity they may be a poor salesman. With this being said it is up to a leader to effectively delegate responsibility to trustworthy individuals to do the job the way you want it done. For a team or organization to succeed there must be reciprocal trust between the leaders and the followers that each party is doing their job up to organizational standards.

  126. The article is sharing facts which should be implemented in firms in order to fight against their challenges. Manipulating a precision instrument requires a different skill set than managing relationships. For success of any task within an organization, individuals should participate fully in their work and thinking towards meeting their firm’s expectations. In addition, for success of any task, the work must be completed exactly right at the expected time. The article perfectly illustrates on importance of commitment in work using Wright brothers who were termed as meticulous men. According to Wilbur statement, if you want something done right, you must do it yourself. This is an indication that, firm managers should serve as an example through performing tasks in the right way.

  127. Abayomi Adebayo

    From this article, the main takeaway is that you must take things into your own hands to get the job done. The wright brothers were able to do something nobody else. They did not have any more recourse then others had. But they used what they had and made the most of it. In business, there are times where you must work with others or do it on your own. Eve though you are in the same business, their is often internal completion. People are always fighting for the next promotion. I believe the best way to go about this is to keep the best interest of the business in mind.

  128. Abdulmajeed Anwar

    This article encourages managers to ensure that they focus and give the vital work their all. Managers need to focus on the work like any other employee. They should not just delegate the work and watch the others work. It enlightens on the importance of management in the growth of a business. It also provokes the idea of the difficulties of accepting change: that is changing from being the hands on entrepreneur to a manager.
    It states and describes that this time of change is not an easy one since one has to leave something he/she is passionate about in the hands of others.

  129. Michael Cavanaugh

    Trust is incredibly important for a manager to have in their subordinates. When a manager believes “If you want something done right, you must do it yourself …” it becomes extremely inefficient. Good management is getting things done through the active support of others. Without the support of others it is nearly impossible for a company to strive. When a managers time is taken up by time consuming necessary tasks it is hard to focus on the more important issues such as protecting patents. Protecting patents is something that was very difficult in the Wright Brothers era as well as remains difficult today. A companies success can be completely derailed by the taking and modification of a companies technologies that provides them a competitive advantage. For the Wright Brothers this was the wing warping technology. With this technology the Wright Brothers were able to protect they were able to grow and be successful as a company.

  130. The comparison of the Wright brother’s and their ability to manage is a good one. They exemplify how challenging it is to change from the mindset of an individual contributor who wants everything they do to be perfect, to the mindset of a manager who realizes they cannot make everything perfect, because they cannot do everything. Instead managers must focus on getting things done in an almost perfect way through maximizing their human capital. This transition is vey difficult, but is clearly of the upmost importance for an organization to be able to thrive. Good managers are typically perfectionists and they must be able to get past the idea of everything being perfect.

  131. I enjoyed this article because it provided a different perspective on the story of the Wright Brothers. While their innovative side is widely known, it was interesting to learn about the management side of their business. The managers of a business should have the same burning passion and desire for their product to succeed as the creators and owners do.

  132. I think when an entrepreneur achieves this point in his profession, he or she ought to feel exceptionally proficient. All the diligent work they have put into the business has payed off, they have as it were made it. Yes, it might be difficult to abandon finishing their own particular work and giving others a chance to assume control over the generation however it is justified, despite all the trouble. It is an opportunity to change your part in your business and, in the event that you can modify, to make your business more fruitful and develop exponentially. In any case, not all can adjust and just extraordinary pioneers can keep up their prosperity in the wake of changing to administration.

  133. Excellent read! This article presented a thorough analysis of the manager versus the individual contributor. It is important to make a clear distinction between the two positions. The manager is not concerned with each individual product rather he is concerned with the overall outcome of all the products. The individual contributor should not occupy his thoughts with the success of the product, rather he should focus on perfecting each individual product. Everyone who starts a business, at some point, will encounter this transition. It can be difficult to see past the role of an individual contributor, but it is necessary in order to manage fruitfully. I good manager understands the role of an individual contributor and takes control of situations caused by mistakes.

  134. The experience of the Wright brothers after gaining success and having to transition to management is something my father often complains to me about. He works in biochem field, but years ago was promoted to a manager position, which has taken him out of the labs and put him more in a position to lead and delegate more than actually doing any discovery. He understands that it is a good position to be in, but longs to do the hands on work still. However, the position of management between the owners of a company, and my fathers situation are very different. I’m very interested in what could have been the potential of the Wright Brothers discoveries and inventions had they delegated all the management options to someone else. In this article, they’re initial reaction to the transition makes me feel like they may have needed to work on the ability to manage, and didn’t have the predisposition naturally. I wonder what might have been if they had hired highly skilled managers to have handled their company and then focused themselves on the growth of their products, similarly to how companies like McDonald’s manages their franchises. Highly skilled and thorough training, and then the company just leaves them be to run semi-independently, but with the same perfectly duplicated standards of the first McDonald’s that achieved so much success.

  135. Similarly to the Wright Brothers, I am a meticulous independent contributor. I prefer to work alone rather than in groups because I’m more focused and I feel comfortable knowing I have control and can be detailed. I have had numerous projects in high school and some in college where I was frustrated because my group mates did not contribute enough or do their part as well as I believe it could have been done. When I do work alone I make plans and know what to expect of myself. If I make a mistake I can take full responsibility verses taking the blame for a group, which is what a manager would do if her team made an error. It is the manager’s responsibility to make sure other people are doing the work right and being meticulous. People have different personalities and work ethics however, which makes managing people verses things much harder and at times frustrating. Like any entrepreneur the Wright Brother’s struggled with this challenge, however, if they wanted to expand their company and be the most successful aviation business they needed to establish management. Their new responsibilities such as defending their patents was crucial to the company’s success and so was its management. While leading, monitoring and controlling a group of people is difficult, management is imperative for the success of any entrepreneur and his/her business.

  136. After reading this article, it is clear that being hard working and intelligent has little to no correlation to being a proficient manager. A skilled manager is someone who knows how to lead others to success without having to be involved in each and every step. Perfectionists, such as the Wright brothers, struggle with this and believe in the age old saying of “if you want things done right, you must do them yourself.” This way of thinking will not only prevent proper management, but it will also hinder the scalability of the business.

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