Tag Archives: relationships

Five Skills You Need To Be an Effective Manager

Good advice from Ian Beacon on “4 Steps to Effective Performance Management“. I’ve added one.

  • Manage your own work-flow, including knowing how you add value to your organization. I recommend (in ascending order of depth and effectiveness) “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy, “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, and “The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker
  • Manage the performance of your team, including setting the vision of your organization (or interpreting it for your team), setting your own and other’s goals, and regularly spending one-on-one time with all of your direct reports
  • Identify, reward, and learn from your top performers – figure out what they’re doing that is so successful, duplicate them, and promote them. And no, the difference between a 3% and a 4.5% raise doesn’t cut it
  • Address and resolve poor performance – yes, this is hard. If you can’t learn how to do this then stop fooling yourself and stop being a manager. You’re certainly not fooling anybody else. Remember that the lowest performing member of your team is setting the standard for performance for the rest of your team. Scary when you think about it that way, isn’t it?
  • Encourage continual feedback – also known as open and honest (but not derogatory) communication. See the previous bullet.

The Richest Man In Asia Wants You To Know This

 In summary: relationships are important, learning is important, have a plan, be disciplined, learn to sell. Worth the (short) read:

5 Things the Richest Man in Asia Wants You to Know

On Being Nice to the Waiter (and Everybody Else) (All the Time)

pork and beansThere’s a saying that “A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter, isn’t nice.”

My first sergeant said it differently: “There are two people in the squadron you never want to piss off: the quartermaster and the pay-clerk. No beans, no bullets, and no way to pay your bar tab.”

That man had his priorities straight. 

He had a point: everybody is important. Everybody can and will contribute the company’s (squadron’s) success. We all depend on each other. We can’t do everything ourselves, so corporations (teams, squadrons) organize by task and specialities. With that comes the need to cooperate, collaborate, and communicate.

I’ve actually heard executives call employees in their company “little people”. Why is beyond me. Everybody on the payroll should add value to the company, and it should be clear how they do it. If they don’t it’s because the same executives haven’t designed their own organization properly.

It’s the “little people”, if you say hello to them in the hallway (better yet learn his or her name) who will let you into the building when you forget your swipe card, who will find a coffee for your client after hours, or who will help you get home when you’ve lost your wallet.

This happened to my father (losing his wallet) on his first business trip to Western Canada. No identification, no credit cards or gas money. It was the front desk clerk, whom he’d been pleasant to when he checked in, who helped him get home. Nice guys don’t finish last. They get things done because they’re nice.

They get things done when things go wrong because they’re always nice.

Laptops in Meetings? No. Just No.

When I see a laptop in a meeting I assume you’re cruising for porn.

Okay, that’s little extreme. I know you’re probably not cruising for porn, but I think it. You’re probably doing email, or writing a report, or something half-assed productive, maybe. But you’re not paying attention to the meeting. And that pisses me off.

If you’re not contributing to the meeting and not paying attention, then you’re wasting  your, my, and the organization’s time. And the time of everybody else in the meeting. Because we have to go back and repeat things just for you when you should have paid attention.

Your message to everybody in the meeting is “I have to be here, but I have more important things to do. So f*** all of you, I’m going to do the more important stuff in front of you now.” And that’s the generous interpretation that assumes you’re doing something work-related. Probably because you can’t manage your time well enough to get it done before the deadline.

So, to summarize, when you bring a lap-top to a meeting, and you’re not the assigned scribe or doing real-time research in support of the meeting, then I’m going to assume one or more of the following:

  • You can’t get your work done in the allotted time
  • You don’t respect me or the people who you’re meeting with
  • You think this meeting is a waste of your time (which may be true, so then why are you there?)
  • You waste company resources – your salary – by showing up to company meeting and not contributing anything because you’re too busy playing on your machine
  • The work you’re doing is of inferior quality (I believe multi-tasking is evil, but that’s a separate topic)

Please don’t do it. If other people in the room don’t think you’re listening, you’re not. You’re just damaging your relationships with them.

Bernie works with small, medium (and sometimes) large companies, start-ups, and volunteer organizations to help them set a vision that is executable, effective, and to surround themselves with people who will help them succeed. I believe the workplace is a place to thrive, not just survive. Call me if you want help transforming your business. 

One Email Outta Do It

Fourth in a series about communication and change management.

http://flic.kr/p/diquZA

Face to face communication is always best

I love email. It’s fast, it’s easy, its’ cheap. It also provides us a record of what was said. Sometimes it’s important to have a record.  Also I don’t have to ask people how their day’s going, or remember their kids kids’ names. But maybe that’s just me.

So what’s the problem with email? Words themselves make up only as much as 40% and maybe as little as 7% of communication. Words themselves are only a small part of what’s being communicated. So for trivial or strictly objective communication (“Where are we having lunch?”, “Please send me the numbers for the third quarter.”) email works just fine. After that, the chance of mis-communication goes up.

The more complicated the message, the greater the chance for mis-communication. The more emotionally laden the communication (“I think you have an attitude problem.”) the greater the likelihood of misunderstanding. The more people involved, or the less time people have worked together, the greater the opportunity for misinterpretation. Add all those together and the chance of added drama, resentment, and wasted effort is almost certain.

My experience, both as a manager and as a facilitator, is that mis-communication is really easy. You have to work really hard to *not* mis-communicate. Yet we often choose on one of the worst ways to talk to others about complicated, potentially emotional issues with people we don’t really know that well – email.

Fix #4  Talk to a Human

Talk face-to-face. Wash , rinse, repeat.

Mark Hortsman has an amusing saying (I paraphrase): “I’m glad to hear you want to work with people. All the jobs with trees and dogs are taken.” As managers and leaders we manage and lead people, not email. If our jobs were to manage email I wouldn’t have to write this blog post.

Keeping a record isn’t going to engage and influence people to change behaviour or create enthusiasm. Repeated human interaction, building relationships and trust, is the only thing that does.

Phone calls are better than emails for engaging human beings. Video-conferences better than phone calls. In person meetings better than video-conferences. One-on-one, face-to-face meetings are better still. Regular, repeated contact.

If you need a record of agreement, write it afterwards. First pick up the phone, walk down the hall, learn to speak publicly. Tell stories, have a vision, be passionate. Email is efficient  but it’s ineffective. If you’re a manager of human beings, learn to manage human beings. If you’re a manager of trees or dogs, carry on.

Link

Predicting Success

Predicting Success

Predictor of business execution success

Check out my latest article for RESULTS.com “Predictors of Business Execution Success”. It’s a gooder.

Focused Feedback

https://secure.flickr.com/photos/mikeriela/7611385110/

Focused Feedback: Timely and Specific

Some of us have met, or even worked for, the boss that thinks they’re great at giving feedback. The particular self-delusion I’m thinking of is the “Hey, great job” variety, perhaps even accompanied by a pointing / clicking gesture.

This kind of generic, blanket praise is nice, but also totally ineffective. Effective feedback needs to be focused.

By focused I mean actionable and timely. Tell them exactly what behaviour is good (or bad) so they now exactly what to repeat (or change), as soon as possible. Feedback is useless if the target of your feedback doesn’t know what to do with it. A general “good job – keep it up” is meaningless unless it’s tied to a recent, repeatable action.

For example: “Scott, you did a great job getting all those videos recorded before the start of the conference. Having that is going to make the conference so much better.”

Another Quick Way to Improve Your Leadership Skills

Pay attention.

Like, all the time. At least when other people are in the room. Put away the phone, the laptop, stop tapping your gosh darn pencil. It’s just freaking annoying. Look at the person who’s talking. Better yet, turn you’re entire body to face them, like somebody’s who’s actually interested would do. Maybe take some notes.

It’ll make you look like a great communicator. It’ll also build the relationships you’ll need to persuade and influence people when you need it. Like leaders do.

On the Importance of Trust and Relationships

Trust and relationhipsHere’s an article I wrote for RESULTS.com on discovering the importance of trust and relationships in business (and life). Enjoy!

A Quick Way to Improve Your Communication Skills

Face-to-face.

Instead of writing that email get off your keister and walk down the hall and talk to her. Or use the video camera on your computer (or get one) and have a Skype video conference. Or pick up the phone if that’s your only option

Let them see your face, hear your voice, see your body language. Look at theirs. Build the freaking relationship. Then you’ll be a fantastic communicator.

p.s. When using a video-conference tool, look at the camera when they’re talking. It’ll make it look like you’re paying attention. Oh, and pay attention. That helps too.