Jewish World Review Oct. 14, 2004 /29 Tishrei, 5765
Better than a management book
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | There's an army of management consultants. To keep themselves in business, they keep writing new books trumpeting new magic pills which, in turn, get them new consulting gigs. Otherwise, managers and leaders would simply rely on the old magic pills.
"You're the one in charge of your learning curve."
Anyone have a vomit bag?
Confidence by Rosabeth Moss Kanter The book's central premise: "The goal of winning is not losing two times in a row." The author is a Harvard Business School professor. You need to be a Harvard professor to know you should try to avoid losing two times in a row?
Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, by Larry Bossidy. A couple of its central exhortations: "Execution is what will determine success in today's business world." Duh. "The leader's most important job is selecting and training people." Duh.
Hey, I can give you more than that right here. And it won't cost you $29.95. I think I'll call it Nemko's Rules. My goal is for the rest of this column to be of greater value than all those bestselling books. See how I do.
The rest of these ideas, however, are mine. Or at least I don't remember where I got them from.
Rule 2: Your first goal as a manager or executive is to establish a vision for your workgroup. Do that by first asking your stakeholders: perhaps employees, co-workers, customers, bosses the whole 360-- for advice on the relevant strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Then create a goal that's exciting as possible for your workgroup and sell it to them inspirationally.
Rule 3: If you have good supervisees, don't micromanage. Require minimal accountability. Spend as much of your time as possible being a resource to your supervisees. Here's the speech I'd give to my supervisees: "My job is not to be a policeman. It's to make your life easier. If you need something to help you do your job better resources, advice, an exemption from a policy you ask and I'll do everything I can to get it for you."
Rule 4: Cut your losses. Spend just a little time trying to improve a bad supervisee. If you don't see quick progress, cut your losses and fire the person. Chances are, spending more time won't be worth it. And the longer you allow a bad employee to stay, the greater your risk of getting slapped with a wrongful termination suit.
Rule 5: Manage by walking around. Frequently walk by your supervisees' workstations and ask, "How are things going?" Take quick looks at their work. Make gentle, private, and brief suggestions those are least likely to cause defensiveness. Avoid or at least deemphasize formal evaluations. They're time-consuming and usually cause more enmity than improvement.
Rule 6: Minimize meetings. A meeting is most appropriate for on-the-spot brainstorming. Most other times, emails or one-on-ones are more efficient. When you do run a meeting, keep it on a short leash: tight agenda, tight time limit. It's easiest to end on time if you schedule the meeting to end right before lunch or quitting time.
Hey, do I have the makings of a bestseller here? Whaddya think? How about hiring me as a $15,000 a day consultant like those authors? Aw, come on. Please?
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09/29/04: Deep Down, I Don't Wanna Work