REPOST: A Formal Education Equals A Good Manager?

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In an article in Brazil’s daily newspaper O Globo, titled Bons gestores de TI são uma raridade no mercado, (translated to English, Good Managers Are A Rarity On the Market, translation of article available here), Fláviá Rodrigues notes the lack of good IT managers and points to the colleges beefing up their curriculum to accommodate the demand.

The shortage is accounting for a loss of R$45 billion to the Brazilian economy in November 2010 ($17 billion in Dec 2104 USD).

According to Case Technologies, the account for the shortage is…

  • The IT market is still not widely known in Brazil
  • Many in computer science and IT are dropping out early as they can start making a good paycheck rather quickly but in the long run, find themselves lacking enough skills
  • Lack of a foreign language skills, especially English

They also mention there is also the matter that technology basically changes frequently (which is almost every 18-24 months)…

One of my colleagues in Brasil Marco Ribeiro notes “that business schools are not able to train good managers, as even to many of our area and there will always be the eternal dichotomy technology vs. business, unfortunately. It seems that (is) an ‘arm-twisting.’ If anyone ever understands that the dichotomy does not exist, then you will see good managers.

He continues, “In the article Mr. Luiz Felipe Castro said: ‘I have interviewed IT managers who earned R$6.000 (US$2.322 Dec 2014, per month) and had not completed higher education.’ Is that (because) he thinks (this is) too much?? Ownership does not qualify the manager, but background and experience. Contrary to what he quotes, many of our colleagues have masters, PhD or MBA and not always result in good managers.

Marco has some good points.

But I feel we need to broaden this view by stepping back a little more.

Discernment — and lack of discernment — differentiates the wisdom each of us has (or doesn’t have).

We all know very wise children of 7 years and fools of 50, 60, 70 years….

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Background and experience is only part of the equation, discernment another, education yet a third, innovation and will power yet more.

A good car mechanic does not make a good car driver – just because someone knows the intricacies of IT, does not mean he or she can manage a department, or be a good project manager.

Good mangers, in general, happen to be very good not only with the subject matter but with people as well as with discernment.

These are not skills usually learned in any college – some may learn these skill with community involvement within the college community but this the exception more than the rule.

Personal Experience

Myself, I have had more than 40 clients in the last 19 years – some clients I worked with for only a few weeks while some had retained my services for a few years.

Many times I am sought to provide clarity and leadership to an HRIS project.

My education?

Have completed 2 years of college — in economics, not IT.

Yet, many times, I will find myself standing in front of a group of executives and directors, all have advanced degrees and they are seeking my experience, knowledge, innovations and wisdom on the complexities of their implementations.

This is NOT to condemn any education — but to say I do give everything I do everything I have.

This also provides a point that education can only go so far as education…

  • cannot condition the thinking process beyond the classroom
  • cannot provide experience
  • can provide only minimal real-life situations at best
  • cannot teach you the skills needed to deal with people effectively
  • cannot teach to think outside the norm, and cannot teach discernment beyond the text book

The person who has desire, will power, and a vision can overcome anything – this mindset is the basis of every successful endeavor.

What many people do not realize is that 80% of the companies now on the Fortune 500 were started by someone that had a dream and an education that many would consider lacking.

The most infamous in the past 35 years is Microsoft – both Paul Allen and Bill Gates left college to start a small company based on a dream to have a computer in every home, that company is now known as Microsoft.



Taking a Step Back

As well intentioned is the article of Fláviá Rodrigues, a better look at the desires of the workers as well as the market is needed.

The dynamics of any industry cannot be isolated to one contributory cause of failure – and when in very dynamic times as Brazil was a few years ago or in a struggling  economy as it is now, seeking a solution does require thinking outside the box.

For any field of endeavor, the lack of resources is not necessarily the result of official training.

The willingness to allow innovation as well as provide a work environment that is more compelling to remain than to leave is vital to retaining a workforce.

If a person is not compelled to stay, does not matter what your education — you will leave.

If compelled to stay, the employee — and depending on the fertility of the environment – and all within the company will prosper.

The article does note some reasons why many leave. But as I usually say in a circumstance like this:

we can’t fix a flat tire from inside the car,
we need to get out of the car.

Many times I have seen executives and managers approach a business problem by trying to resolve it from inside the car — the scary thing?

They think they are outside the car!

Market Forces

Any market can create an attraction to bring more resources into it – to keep a healthy workforce, the market also needs to learn to compel those resources to remain, rather than go someplace else.

If students are enticed by the concept of making a quick dollar and leaving classes too soon – maybe students that have returned could educate his classmates that, as green as it may appear on the other side of the fence, it is only because you haven’t seen the dung that keeps it green.

As to the 3 items Case Technology notes, here are my own thoughts – and I would be more than happy to hear from anyone for their views as well (I understand Portuguese, just not at a level yet to write professionally)…

  • The IT market is still not widely known in Brazil – promoting an interest in the IT market through marketing and advertising is the best means to overcome any unknown by playing on dreams and visions of a better future.
  • Many in computer science and IT are dropping out early – would not returning students would be a wealth of experience and wisdom for keeping students in classes until completed properly?

Students are anxious and ready to move forward, sometimes can be like trying to restrain a dog that has seen a cat.

Technology students and teachers alike have to be taught to think exponentially not linearly, which also means teaching methods for technology must change as well.

  • Students need to realize that the amount of technical information is doubling every 2 years, and translate this into something they can relate to…
    • List 10 in-demand jobs of this year that did not even exist 6 years ago…
    • Inform them that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study…
    • Most students entering college were just born when the first text message was sent – today more messages are sent in one day than there are people on earth…
    • Globally, this year alone we will generate more information than we have in the past 5,000 years
  • Teacher have to realize we are preparing students –
    • for jobs that don’t yet exist…
    • to use technologies that haven’t been invented yet…
    • to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet
  • Lack of a foreign language skills, especially English – I believe this is already being addressed in the schools, especially English as a necessary second language?

But no one can wait for a 12 year child to gain competition in the market now.

Are the Universities and Colleges including this language necessity?

If not, there is much value being lost and is more expensive to Brazil NOT to have this in the curriculum than it is to have in the curriculum of the Universities and Colleges.

Proficiency does take a few years and fluency several years – unless highly gifted.

This also creates a high demand for translators until the coming generation has mastered English.

Reaching outside of Brazil for Portuguese speaking resources that also speak English is an option but not very lucrative, doesn’t means it is impossible.

Maybe a collaboration with reputable international recruiting agencies such as Michael Page and Robert Half Technology would be beneficial???


The above content was originally published 6 years ago (2010) and very few if any changes were needed to the original content and no changes were needed to the original message.

We followed up with Marco Ribeiro (quoted above) to see what has changed for him as well as asked him to share any other observations he wished to add to this post.

Here is a translation of his response…

“Everything I said still holds – and not like this overvaluation of the young, it seems that no one my age wants to evolve and this is wrong (editors note: ‘my age’ would be late 50’s).

Ideal managers possess the ability, experience, ethics and human relationship – actually, age makes no difference if [these traits] exists in him / her;

Youth are needed where there is demand for energy – creative or management it is – but that does not exclude anyone of any age;

Finally, yes there is prejudice against older, when the true “old” is one who does not want to move, or barely in the company asking for promotion – where is the merit of it – now we accept absurd postures because they are younger?”

So here’s food for thought: if we are expecting the youth and younger generations to be ‘all things possible’, who are we to make such a demand just because they have more energy?

I can say this as I have more years than Marco and I agree with him.

This position hardly means we ditch wisdom and the years of experience we, as the older generation, have gained.

What this does mean is we are responsible, not for telling the youth how to do something, but we are responsible for mentoring in how to think, discern, develop scenarios, decide and lead.

Unfortunately, for many of us, that is a skill that has yet to be gained and for others, they are masters at it.

Are we not supposed to be leading and mentoring the yout to build a better future?

And do not many at all ages complain things could be better?

So what do we do — talk out of both sides of our mouth?

That’s not going to work at any level of life…

We will definitely visit this topic in a separate post as Marco does make an excellent point

The Last Word

To end this posting, we present a video that talks about convergence, globally.

Everything in this video is verifiable through source documents at most major libraries.

The creators of this video are Karl FischScott McLeod and Jeff Brenman.

All 3 have been highly involved in educating technology educators in the U.S.

Dr. Scott McLeod’s group, Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE) is the ONLY professional group in the USA that is focusing on educating our education administrators (teachers) in teaching students for tomorrow.

Maybe this will provide some ideas to assist the brain drain created by students leaving too early in this education process?

Feel free to contact me for more information — just leave a comment below or use the orange Feedback tag located on the right of your monitor.

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Garrett O'Brien

CEO, Chairman, Publisher, Editor at The HRIS World Research Group

Garrett is the publisher, editor, writer forThe HRIS World Research Group, which includes The HRIS World, The HRIS World Research, The HRIS World Jobs, The HRIS World News, The HRIS World NewsMagazines, and The HRIS World Videos

With more than 20 years in roles as a client executive sponsor (#thwCES), project manager as well as functional/technical lead, Garrett is sought for his expertise for project insights, thought leadership, and team management globally.

He has been involved in large-scale and complex implementations since 1991 and has recently moved his operations to be with his wife in Brazil.

Garrett has had the pleasure of working with some of the greatest talents in the industry, and constantly shares his experiences and knowledge through content and webinars.

He maintains his fluency in Portuguese, German, French, and English with his various endeavors and contacts..

When not working, you will have to be adventurous to stay up with him as Garrett loves motorcycling, gunnery, boating, sailing, flying, and sports fishing -- and accompanying his wife on her various likes

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As CEO for CGServices USA Inc, he focuses on multi-provider, multi-line implementations consultation for HRIS systems

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