“I’ll Manage”

“I’ll Manage”

Embracing the blog medium and everything that goes along with it

By Michael E. Raynor

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Michael E. Raynor headshotAs TCB Review moves to a more online-centric format, I’ve decided to try and go with the flow and shift my musings to that quintessential medium-within-a-medium, the blog.

In the spirit of Marshall McLuhan's most famous aphorism, “the medium is the message,” I hope to do more than simply post online what I have, for the last six years, published in the magazine. That would be the magazine-world equivalent of putting a theatrical play on TV.

To exploit the medium, rather than simply be exploited by it (I’ll be writing more often but not, as far as I can tell, for more money!), I need to play by its rules. Insofar as I understand this newfangled online media world, blogs are living documents that record some sort of personal journey. (The etymology, after all, is “web log,” and as anyone who’s ever watched Star Trek knows, a log is a record of a journey.)

The best of the blogs find their way back to the old-media world in the form of books. Neil Pasricha’s blog 1000 Awesome Things became The Book of Awesome, and is now a trilogy, along with desk calendars and an iPhone app. It was born of his effort to console himself in the face of multiple hardships and heartaches, not least the death of a close friend and the breakup of his marriage. Julie Powell’s blog detailing the year she spent making every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking became the book Julie and Julia, and an eponymous movie starring Meryl Streep. And Colby Buzzell’s milblog became My War: Killing Time in Iraq.

Meanwhile, I’ll be spending the next several months detailing my road back from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL). This trauma is neither as life-changing as Neil’s nor as life-threatening as Colby’s, and the physio that lies ahead of me is likely to be far less enjoyable than Julie’s project was for her.

In the wake of my injury, as my wife, Annabel, sought to help me move about, I found myself responding, “It’s OK, sweetie, I’ll manage.” To “manage,” in this context, meant simply to cope with the demands of daily living . . . to “get by.”

Over the first two or three days post-injury, an irony poked through my Vicadin-induced haze: “to manage” established such a low bar in my personal life; yet professionally, I have devoted myself to helping managers, well, manage—with the expectation that successful management leads to exceptional outcomes.

The foundational conceit of this blog, then, is whether or not the principles of good . . . no, great management in an organizational setting can help me do more than just “manage” my recovery and rehabilitation.

I expect that some of these attempts to connect “competitive advantage” with the daily grind of physiotherapy will end up somewhat contrived. My hope, however, is that the exercise of exploring the implications of management theory in this intensely personal context might reveal a new facet or two on the endlessly complex gem that is modern managerial thought.

The journey begins . . .

The Conference Board Review is the quarterly magazine of The Conference Board, the world's preeminent business membership and research organization. Founded in 1976, TCB Review is a magazine of ideas and opinion that raises tough questions about leading-edge issues at the intersection of business and society.