“The school was growing rapidly. The number of productive industries carried on by the school, the large amount of building we were engaged in, and the large amount of business carried on between the different departments made the accounts of the school particularly complicated and the problem of a proper business organization a most important one.”– “My Larger Education” (1911) Booker T. Washington
Presidential Commentary by Dr. Brian Johnson
An institution that is as large, vast and prosperous as Tuskegee Institute (University) possesses many problems but “the problem of a proper business organization [is] a most important one.” Known in its heyday as the “Tuskegee Machine,” the designation was partly attributed to Booker T. Washington’s highly efficient and organized administrative management of Tuskegee Institute (University). While the “machine” designation was a fair and complimentary designation used to describe such a well-run institution-for it alluded to an emphasis upon function not feelings-the designation, “organization,” as opposed to “machine,” is perhaps a far better one used when describing it as “business.” For a business is made up of people that serve people-thus making an organization a living, breathing organism with interchangeable people-not parts-who are organized to the maximum effectiveness of the enterprise. (This is what makes the principal “problem of a proper business organization a most important one.”) Effective management of a business organization is not the mere management of its monetary resources situated in “accounts” but its people situated in “departments” that together make the overall enterprise “productive.” And productive people are the highest testament of a fully functional and healthy business organization. For proper planning in business aligns the right people for the right positions to accomplish precise purposes for both the individual, as well as the organization.
Brian L. Johnson, Ph.D.