The following are
. They are management practices I used, (tried my best to use), when I was part of the work force. When used, they will improve a manager's success. When understood, they will improve you personal life. Use them, share them, enjoy them and
let me know
if you agree or disagree. I just love a good philosophical confrontation.
The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.
Don't you just loath downsizing? All that it means is the same old work is done in the same old way by fewer and more bitter employees.
Employees must get a true picture of what is going on and know they have it. If an organization has cynical employees who are mistrustful of top management, it's because they have a
Employee training 'beyond' basic skills is not an optional cost! Training may be the
most strategic investment
an organization can make. Lack of proper training programs results in poor quality. Business must realize the true cost of poor quality, maybe as much as 20% of sales.
The number one priority listed by customers for vendor interaction was responsiveness. This was by a factor of five over technical ability. The customers
be contacted consistently over time. They
feel that the vendor cares. All employees
understand the power of response. The customer does not, and should not have to, distinguish which department within the company that responsible for satisfying his needs.
Person-in-Charge vs. Leader/ Manager
The person-in-charge administers .......... the leader/manager innovates.
The person-in-charge maintains .......... the leader/manager develops
The person-in-charge relies on systems .......... the leader/manager relies on people.
The person-in-charge counts on controls .......... the leader/manager counts on trust.
The persons-in-charge does things right .......... the leader/manager does the right thing.
We have a problem when we glorify information technology and ignore human psychology. Enter the
. It calls for preserving the rich complexity of information
by people. In the traditional approach we create meanings that apply to an entire organization. In a human approach individuals and small groups define information in ways that make sense to them. We must abandon the idea that technology in and of itself can solve our company's information problems. We got a business to run and fancy technology alone will not make us competitive in the world market It's only when we stop being 'technologically correct' - when we start viewing information as ever expanding and unpredictable (human-centered) - that we will realize how little the latest computer application has to do with effective information use.
Sometimes that's all there is to say. Say it, take a deep breath, use the bathroom, and get on with it. What is already done ain't gonna change.
at yourself! The most comical person you will ever know is yourself and the most wonderful thing is that - that person is always around. If this is one of your approaches to life, then you will always be in a good humor when you get to work and the obstructions of the day will yield the comical value they deserve.
If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right.
Enjoy the process
. You can be so goal-oriented that you miss the joy of the journey along the way.
There are no bad employees, only people in charge who don't know how to manage. (Thinking of alternatives is harder work that just getting rid of the problem.) An employee who gives 100% of what they can do, can not be a poor performer. Given guidance, honesty, and a little structure -- any employee will be an asset to an 'organization'. (Haven't we learned anything from the role of 'family' over the last 2000 years?)
Perception is reality.
Project professionalism in manor, deeds, appearance, and be a professional.
Treat your customers as if they have value and Customer Excellence will be there.
If your employees are not numbers to you, they will be human beings to the company.
(If a bear shits in the woods, it's gonna smell.)
Customer satisfaction can be defined as the degree to which customer expectations are met. A customer will never be satisfied unless there are benchmarks. We have traditionally done '
Whatever It Takes
'. This is a good rule but impossible to live by in the long term and in all cases. We must set the expectations in all of our communications. Communications must be specific and consistent.
Customer Satisfaction = Perception - Expectation
This is a business formula. There are other definitions but it can be agreed that customer satisfaction is a support goal. An organization's goal is not the maximization of satisfaction. The goal of support is to offer a performance level equal to the value expected by the customer. When value and performance levels are equal, satisfaction is achieved and costs minimized. We must set customer expectations up-front. This will minimize required support levels and establish a base for performance measure. If this is not done, we can not win. For example, 'whatever it takes' is not a limit. Some expectations are set by the customer but not all. The company can help set the expectation by announcing its goals and performance levels in advance. The customer then assigns a value and the company measures its performance to that value. The customer will expect a level of service up to the critical level of the product. As the complexity of our system grows, this statement will increase in relevance. It emphasizes the need for us to set expectations.
When you become a manager, or soon there after, your Human Resource group will give you instruction for maintaining a racial mix (to keep the Fed's and other miss-guided do gooders out of your shorts). You will be instructed on how to obtain and what level is required for whites, blacks, yellows, reds (
and a token of greens and blues
), plus male versus female (
). You will be told what words to use, what not to say, and to ignore your needs when the balance gets too far out of line. (
In other words don't use that training and experience you have received over the past twenty years
.) All this training boils down to one rule.
--Hire the guy who is honest and wants to work. Nature will fix the mix.--
A Mission Statement is a rallying point where departmental bickering is lost. The idea of a written Mission Statement is not magic nor a new trend for management consultants. It is simply a tool to focus the organizational mix. Seldom can a single person focus a company anymore. However, it is possible for a philosophy, which is constantly re-enforced, to focus an organization. Federal Express and British Airways have been able to do this. I believe it is important for a company to put into black and white what is important to that company. I believe an operational slogan needs to be tattooed to everyone's forehead. I also believe management must re-enforce these statements daily.
' is a concept and a management topographical map.
At the last minute each year we throw together expenses to come up with a Budget. Often this is done based on forecasts that we get late, which are also thrown together. Most of the time expenses are based on last year and the headcount we are allowed to project
(independent of the work we think is required to meet the forecasts)
). The end result is a financial plan that someone, somewhere in management wants to see; not necessarily reality. This is not so bad but the shame of it is that we are held to the numbers that we were told to use with little regard for the changing business environment.
is a starting point and a concept used to go forward. A year is too long in our business not to experience changes that will affect the Budget. The
changes and in turn changes the Budget. Thus a Budget is a view of the land for as far as you can see right now. If you raise your head higher you can see further but the events are more blurred. As you move forward the distant events get more clear and you may choose to make corrections to your path. The Budget
all year. To assume otherwise is unfair to middle management and dangerous for the company.
The first step in reducing cost is to eliminate waste. Investment is not waste. Tools are not waste. People are not waste. If a group of five employees were told one of them had to go if costs were not trimmed enough to pay for them, there would be 20 hard suggestions before 5 PM. It seems simple to me to let those doing the work to optimize. (But efficiency is not publicly visible and mere employees are basically stupid. --
Grandfather's Rule of Service:
'Do unto the customer as they want you to do unto them.' To accomplish this, we must find out what they want. To establish these benchmarks, we must talk to them. This sounds simple but requires resource, thought and effort.
'If it ain't broke, then you ain't looking!' There is always a better way. Over time the need changes and how work is done also changes. Listen to your workers. They are the first ones to know when it is broken. That's how you keep looking.
Balance = Humanity + Dignity + Respect.
It takes all three.
Idiot-proofing is also genius-proofing. Have you noticed that we strive to develop procedures and means of automation that makes tasks easier for the unskilled or can be done by robotics. We set up rules and guidelines to limit chaos and maintain tight control. As a result we take away the need for making decisions or to
about a solution. By making things easier and avoiding the difficult path, it seems we are making it harder to use the genius in all of us.
Managers are not amplifiers of upper management direction. Managers filter direction from upper management and put it into the proper context for their people.
Financial problems must be resolved in month,
Human resource problems must be resolved in days.
The highest priority for a manager is his employees. A manager has no value without good tools. He can not meet his corporate goals without the support of his people. The output of a manager's people is the manager, or at least the perception of the manager's ability. People problems must be addressed immediately. You can not overlook the human factor or give it a lower priority to your personal advancement without damaging the company or making yourself less of a person.
If you don't make some mistakes then you ain't trying hard enough. As a person and a manager you will make mistakes. It may seem that by not rocking the boat you can get by but this in itself is a mistake. Your job as a human being is to try hard. When you reach out you will sometimes reach too far and mistakes will be made.
. That is when you learn and grow. When you stop growing as a human or a manager, that's when you become less of a person and of less value to your company, your family and yourself.
Make and allocate time to be with the front-line employees. MBWA, Management By Walking Around, is still the best way to hear your employees and for them to hear you. We try our best to listen to employees and to inform them on what is happening. However large scale meetings cover the most but often achieve the least. A manager can not be individual with a hundred people in front of him/her. It is more valuable to hear a few and make even little things happen rather than to hear none or only the things you want to hear.
Top level management must show commitment to the lowest level of employee. i.e. Invert the Pyramid. Management By Walking Around, MBWA, may cost time but the value is unlimited in loyalty and commitment. When top level management show concern it demonstrates to middle management that employee effort is worth while. Also, the individual employee feels they are part of the company and thus the problem then the solution. It is important to hear the 'little' things that can be fixed with no effort. These actions take no real time and the rewards are tremendous. The message will filter to middle management and the employee will see commitment of the company to them. Their work will reflect their increased personal value.
Catch the employee doing it right then make a
deal of it. As for any human being, immediate acknowledgment of doing good re-enforces the right behavior. This attention needs to be personal but also visible to peers. Also, the employee needs to know that this recognition is known by management above you.
Empowerment of the Employee is the road to Tetras. I like the little game of Tetras and a few other computer games. They are good ways to kill time and for me a way to think about things. However, I don't have the time to do them if I am always making decisions and doing the work (that could be done by an employee). My job is to give direction (not orders) and to look beyond the immediate. When I don't have time for Tetras, I am not doing a good job.
Give power to your employees. Give them the training to make decisions. Make sure lines of communications are always open for advice. Do not decide for them when it is time to pee-pee. Help them to grow by working with them. Let them 'do it' and if a mistake is made, rejoice that you have an opportunity to teach.
THAT'S YOU JOB
. The result is that the employee will trust you. They will work harder for you and the company. They will be happier and more productive. They will feel they have a future. AND you get to play Tetras.
There is no excuse for failing to take the time to teach. All you are doing is expressing a lack of confidence in your staff and not allowing them to change your mind. If you don't teach them, then who will? If you can't teach them, then you need to look at yourself and seek more training for yourself. The excuse of not having enough time has no merit. If the time is not taken now, then the time to complete the job increases two fold. You must make the time.
Analysis-Paralysis leads to failure
. (9 of 10 decisions are right anyway, see BROWNISM 608) If you are a manager, then you know something and probably more than you think. So,
something. Lack of action is more often the cause of failure.
Sometimes the right decision is no decision. (and that is the hardest decision to make)
Make it happen now! Too often, corporate bureaucracy kills the decision-making process, piling senior executives' desks with piddling choices that should have been made much further down. Signatures from too many levels. Committee approach, which divide and diffuse responsibility. What can you do?
Be a risk taker. == Don't dilute by seeking higher-up approval.
Make swift, bold decisions. == Any decision is better than not making one. Swift decision makers encourage decisiveness in their staffs.
Break or bend rules, (but do it judiciously).
A reputation as a decision maker is the most effective career builder around. So make a lot of decisions, make them quickly and don't fear making wrong decisions.
Use your ears to be effective. Active listening is a physically demanding task that involves not only grasping the whole range of the other's intent, but responding at the same appropriate emotional level as well. It's work but it is also you job. Practice it until it comes naturally.
Pay attention. Don't talk.
Relax and make the other person relax.
Let him talk-- and don't interrupt.
Read back what he said to you-- and keep doing so until he says,
'Yes, that's exactly what I meant.'
Don't be afraid of silence.
Acknowledge the other's feelings, even if you only say,
'I hear you.'
Focus on the problem, not the behavior, no matter how difficult.
Tell him how you feel -- but only after you're sure how he feels.
The choice is not the quality of work you or someone else does, but rather the benefits of the time spent doing it.
Or put another way, the choice is short-term vs. long-term strategy. Short-term -- you may be able to do the job better. Long-term -- your department and your own career are better off if you risk failure -- and have your people take responsibility and learn how to do it right next time.
Anybody who sees personal failure in delegation has far deeper problems of personal insecurity. This needs to be addressed and overcome. Insecurity has no place in a manager's lexicon
Repetitive tasks are a bore, so what? Don't fear being disliked. It goes with the territory. Besides -- so long as you are fair in delegating drudge work, you'll be respected
KNOW WHEN TO GIVE UP
proudly when you mess up. Mistakes will be made. Balls will be dropped. Issues will be overlooked. Problems will occur. You will forget something. There will be something you don't know. The customer will get pissed. All of this will happen in business and it is a waste of time trying to avoid them or to cover them up or to put them off. But take heart, all of them are excellent opportunities.
One thing that will definitely turn customers against you are surprises, especially those that you know about before he does and are withheld from him. Sharing knowledge quickly gets the customer to working with you and more acceptable to feasible solutions. I see no downside to raising the
as soon as you know you are not 'crying wolf'. However, -- caution --, doing the same within the company has to be tempered with mature judgment of your affect on a 'family' member. You have to consider politics before the finger is pointed. Dealing with customers is often a lot easier.
Money is not a motivater. If a Performance Appraisal is to be used for motivation and re-focusing on the proper Standards of Performance, then it can not be used to make pay adjustments. An alternative to our current method is to give Performance Appraisals at the end of Q2 and Q4. Then do a Merit Review at the beginning of each Fiscal year.