BusinessPundit.com has a must-read post entitled, How to be an effective entrepreneur. I urge you to read it whether you are a manager or an entrepreneur – for profit or otherwise.
Archives for May 2007
Had a great conversation this week with a good friend of mine, Andy Bagley from TEAL Consulting. Andy is quite a rare bird in that although his ‘bag’ is quality and excellence, balanced scorecard, lean thinking and all that stuff – HE REALLY GETS THE PEOPLE ISSUES! So many of those ‘quality’ people are just into the ‘system’ and miss the people and process issues entirely. That might be one reason why so many organisations with quality badges struggle to get much beyond mediocre!
Andy and I were talking about the danger of the gap between the rhetoric and the reality. We both consult in the social housing sector and were looking at how many housing organisations claim to be ‘customer focused’ but are actually focussed on getting 2/3 stars from the audit commission – quickly.
Now often times this can lead to them doing all sorts of the right things – but for the wrong reasons. They ‘do’ tenant involvement because that is what the audit commission want to see. And that is just not a good enough reason.
They take short-cuts to quality – making sure that systems and processes are in place before the next inspection.
But they avoid the real work of management and leadership which is about winning the hearts and minds of employees and customers.
About managing stakeholder expectations.
About tackling under performing staff, recruiting and retaining talent and letting go of those that still do not get the new world of social housing and communities.
There is no short cut to excellence. It will not come along conveniently to fit in with audit commission inspections.
It is a long but wonderful journey that takes passion, courage, commitment and above all believe that you are doing something that is worthwhile with your life. Doing the right things for the wrong reasons creates an integrity gap that just kills an organisation. Or at least turns it into ‘The Living Dead’.
PMN member Adam Woodhall is running a workshop to mark World Environment Day on June 5th. Environmental Action… Everybody’s Business: Take action on World Environment Day, 5 June. Registration & refreshments: 9am. Workshop 9.30 – 1pm. Leeds City Centre.
I subscribe to my fair share of newsletters, RSS feeds and updates. Most of them I unsubscribe from pretty quickly as the content is so poor. However there are some notable exceptions – one of which is Gavin Ingham’s The Sales Apprentice: Sales Training Tips from the Hit TV Show. Each night after the show Gavin captures his thoughts and insights about candidates performance and e-mails them over night. One of the things I love about this is the immediacy. (Last nights was mailed at 01:48). Another is the observations of someone who watches the performance from a pure sales perspective. They notice things that those of us who are less sales obsessed simply don’t see. In last nights post Gavin offered the following:
Sales training tip for success: Learn how to work as part of a team.
I think what is really annoying me about this show is the fact that our Sales Apprentices are seemingly incapable of working together.
They spend so little time working as a team and so much working divisively.
Take a moment to look around your team and think of simple things that you can do to support and challenge each other.
The Apprentice is not a team competition. Co-operation is not the route to success. The prize will go to one person.
It is personal.
1 on 1.
It is about looking good, or hiding.
It is about undermining potential threats.
The behaviours and results that we see in the Apprentice are a direct consequence of the things that the leader, SAS, chooses to highlight, reward and punish.
As we lead – so shall they follow.
Unless a manager recognises this, effectively and publicly dealing with (in the context of this show – firing) those who focus on the Machiavellian side of management, these behaviours and the associated mediocre performance will persist. You can seek solutions in Balanced Scorecards, JIT, Lean or Systems Thinking – but the mediocrity will persist.
Now I would love to believe that ‘The Apprentice’ is not a fair representation of management at work. But so many organisations are just like this – competitions to climb a slippery pole rather than genuinely create value for the organisation. And many – perhaps most – managers are just not perceptive, skillful or brave enough to deal with it.
They focus so much on the task and the numbers – that they just don’t see the pain or the potential for improvement that lies in the process.
Are you fed up of attending meetings that achieve little or nothing?
What irritates you most about meetings?
Is it eager colleagues who answer their mobile phone when it rings, or tired employees who drift off during a presentation? If you notice these disturbances in your office, you’re not alone.
A recent study (Opinion Research USA) found that disorganised, rambling meetings topped the list of meeting annoyances at 27 percent.
Employees who interrupt their peers and try to dominate conversation during the meeting followed at 17 percent.
Interestingly, while mobile phone interruptions came in at 16 percent, frustrations over people checking BlackBerries only measured about 5 percent. Other pet irritations include people falling asleep in meetings, lack of refreshments and meetings without bathroom breaks.
I am surprised that late starts to meetings don’t feature in the survey – and even more surprised that meetings that over-run aren’t also higher up the list. Perhaps it is just that thing shave got so bad in this respect that people no longer notice or care? I was recently working with a medium sized organisation with a middle management team of about 20. It was obvious to me that the culture was to expect meetings to start late and end even later. People would drift in at the meeting start time and then make a cup of tea – or go on the mobile. When a meeting finally convened, typically at least 10 minutes after the planned start time a couple of stragglers would usually still arrive late.
I asked what might happen if at the very next meeting the Chief Exec ran, were she to start on time – regardless of who was in the room – and after the meeting gave every latecomer personal feedback about her expectations of timely start to meetings. The first person to respond said ‘I would think she was a bit of a plonker!’
There was a silence and then someone else said ‘Well I suppose it would be quite professional’.
In my book – not only would it be very professional – but also within a few days the entire culture of the organisation could be changed with respect to meetings.