December 2008

December 28, 2008

Capable Employees Are Good For Managers

Look, managers are not perfect in every way – they cannot fix everything in their business on their own; it’s their ability to get the most from their people that makes the difference.

Any employee will grow and develop hugely when given responsibility – empowering them to act and make decisions is a great way forward for them.

And when a manager says, ‘Look, do your best and I’ll always support you’, they will take risks at just the right level for them.

This is precisely the way that the very best managers gradually release what they do into the increasingly capable hands of members of their team.

Filed under Developing Your People, Managing Me by Martin

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December 26, 2008

Building Trust – Three Key Management Tactics

Consistency is the key.

In the process of building trust, being consistent and predictable is vital.

If your behavioral patterns change from to week to week, trusting you becomes difficult. Your people get twitchy and uncomfortable when plans and expectations change too much.

Be Easily Available.

Your people you! That’s what you are a manager and a leader for!

Whilst there may be times when, for purposes of doing your own work, you need to remain undisturbed, there needs to be a balance. You are the manager and they will need you for specific involvement in day to day activities.

So, be around when they need you!

Maintaining confidences

Employees who you manage must be able to confide in you sensitive information, express concern and share problems.

People need to know that you can keep this confidential when they need you to.

Sometimes these can be personal matters and in such cases this becomes even more important.

Remember, you need to be seen to be trustworthy at all times.

Filed under Focus on Results, Managing Me by Martin

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December 22, 2008

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often” Winston Churchill

“To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”
Winston Churchill

Making the effort to improve when performance is poor is tough. Especially when you are manager and it’s up to you to make difficult decisions.

Yet it’s usually the easiest thing to rapidly improve performance when you are measuring against poor results in the past.

Adding 30 percentage points on when you start at 10 is way easier than adding 30 to 70!

It’s much easier to improve on what’s bad.

What is much more challenging, is not to rest on your laurels when the going is good. You’ve done the hard work; you’ve arrived; it’s done!

Not true. Because when it gets very difficult as a manager, is when you’ve made the big changes and things are ticking along nicely. It’s at this very time when the questions need to come:-

“What else is there?”
“How can we improve on this even more?”
“Where are the next level of opportunities?”

Reviewing and changing, time after time in an ongoing upward cycle of success is when the tough really do get going.

Sure, it’s time to celebrate successes and learn from what went well. The very best managers and their teams look back into the mix and ask those questions others would pass by.

It’s a sign of quality, persistence, tenacity and great leadership that only the very best demonstrate. Showing their people how to be best in their work and their careers.

It’s the easy option to take the foot off the gas. It’s not the best option by far.

Filed under Focus on Results, Great Quotations by Martin

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December 21, 2008

Delighting Customers With Employee Empowerment!

Customers like to have their problems fixed by the first person they approach. Having an employee call for the manager only causes irritation and frustration.

They can see it as a stalling technique and is more likely to require more costly remedies for the problem the customer has.

Managers facing such an intervention are more likely to have annoyed customers to face, which is not much fun for anyone.

Empowering your customer facing employees is a great step to delighting your customers.

Filed under Developing Your People, Managing Me by Martin

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December 20, 2008

A Simple Strategic Thinking Process for Managers

Planning and preparing in advance with a vision or purpose is difficult. It is so much easier to just act and take care of the immediate requirements without thinking or planning too much.

And, to be frank, this is as good a recipe for disaster in anything but the very short-term that can be adopted.

Yet if there is the aspiration to improve and grow with operational performance, it is imperative to adopt the benefits of strategic thinking.

By simply asking what is required as outcomes from actions, and what might realistically will follow from them in terms of unforeseen consequences and then the potential outcomes of that, a tighter fit may well be accomplished, bringing the thinking closer to reality.

This will allow thinking and planning with an eye to the outcome and encourage approaching every interaction with a view to the desired result.

It gives a long term focus and not only enables dealing with short term disappointments, but also helps to identify and make best use of leverage opportunities turning situations to maximum advantage, whilst expending the minimum effort.

Filed under Building the Future by Martin

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December 19, 2008

Two More Trust-Building Skills For Managers

Establish strong business ethics.

Where managers create a moral value system for the workplace, they will nurture their employees. Teams which have a common ethics are healthier, much more resourceful, adaptable and productive, because of the common root of their consistent value systems.

Always keep your word.

By making actions visible and fulfilling commitments, managers become trusted.

Failing on promises is insincere and causes tensions. A manager needs to deliver actions visibly, to ensure everyone is aware that they can be depended upon.

That builds trust!

Filed under Developing Your People, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

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December 17, 2008

Strategic Thinking Skills – Time To Be A Smart Supervisor

If you want to get a clear vision for where your organization is going, then looking closely at strategy is an absolute must. A process for this is to take time out to use a ‘strategic thinking’ activity that will enable you to have clear space to think closely about this vital development opportunity for the long term success of your business.

To make a business progress according to a manager or owner’s wishes, there needs to be a conscious effort to build a skillset that includes facilitation, negotiation, creativity, team-building and the ability to work through perceived problems with positivity and good humor.

Strategic thinking itself, as a valuable tool, is a process whereby leaders critically examine and evaluate the identifiable implications of their choices in business and explore the available options before making absolute decisions.

Strategic Thinking – What’s It All About?

Strategic thinking has its application and use in a very many differing circumstances, from devising strategies or policies for a company, arriving at or ironing out a business decision, to even simply gauging or understanding a situation.

The hallmark of strategic thinking is considering and defining the medium- to long-term business objectives and expectations for the future and then working backwards to the present situation as an analysis and decision-making tool for managers.

This provides the much needed and often quoted ‘larger picture’ and creates a feeling of direction and growth along with a sense of progress. So if any organization makes decisions without adopting a comprehensive strategic thinking procedure, it risks being hasty and uninformed in its decisions and deprives itself of the creativity and insight which strategic thinking can provide.

Strategic Thinking – Why Bother?

The main thrust of driving ahead with your strategic thinking is for it to research the potential opportunities and threats long-term and how they might impact on the bigger picture goals and aspirations of your business over the long term. Even if you are a large multi-national, there will be a timescale for the health of your business that you will want at least to protect – and preferably enhance.

It’s also a sufficient and clear guideline for the continued development and growth of the organization. One of the most important purposes of strategic thinking, is out-thinking your competitors and keeping ahead of your rivals.

If you can, it’s always worth utilizing a number of people in this activity. Different people, bring alternative viewpoints, often which might be invisible to you alone. These varied perspectives will help you get the clearest picture of what you want to know and understand.

There is only a crystal ball to help you (and we all know the value of that!). There are no certainties any more and the world seems to turn faster every year. And by grabbing a little time out on a regular basis to consider possibilities and their impact on you, there will be much value in it.

Easy Strategic Thinking For You And Your Team

Planning and preparing in advance with a vision or purpose is difficult. It is so much easier to just act and take care of the immediate requirements without thinking or planning too much. And, to be frank, this is as good a recipe for disaster in anything but the very short-term that can be adopted.

When you’re are focusing on the long-term as well as the short term, it must become the way everyone works within the team or the organization as a whole if possible. When the culture of the business is always asking “Is this right for the longer-term as well as right now”, then you will recognize that the culture is getting there.

This sort of measuring up actions in the day job in the light of where you are going over the years ahead, encourages a healthier future. This protects what you are your people aspire to achieve – a great way forward to a successful and sustainable future, which will benefit everyone. Where strategic thinking is in place, there is every hope that your successes now will continue on till the sun sets!

Strategic Thinking, In The End It’s Everyone’s Future…

At its best, strategic thinking is a useful management tool and an overview that enables simplification of complicated procedures, whilst providing a clear set of alternative choices and outcomes.

Strategic thinking is not, of course, the fix, more, it is an ability to confidently look into the future, although it is impossible to see how it will end up definitely.

It’s the best we can do.

Filed under Building the Future by Martin

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December 15, 2008

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again?”

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it again?”

Time is of the essence in the fast-paced modern world in which we live our days.

Unless we are very careful, we rush each day, fixing things as best we can, without the time to correct things so they are permanently fixed. We just about survive – on a good day!

The trouble is that when we sticking-plaster mend, it doesn’t often correct the underlying issues.

And because we don’t devote enough time to delve and fix the bigger issue, under the surface, it comes back time and time again to haunt us, wear us down and suck the energy right away.

Next time you find a recurring problem, take a little longer and invest in a bigger fix than the sticking-plaster.

It will take you longer and it might seem quite a challenge. Then as you do this, you notice that your investment starts to pay off and you will get the value of that time back, with interest.

How often in the past week did you have to ‘fix’ something you fixed before? It can drive you crazy! So, by endeavoring to get a layer beneath, you can sort out the sources and fix those, instead of the top-level problem coming up time and again.

Your people will soon start to see you do this and over a surprisingly short time, they will make sure that new tasks are right, first time too.

Frustration eases, people become more productive, confident and creative. It takes time to make things work well right away every time and when it works you know it’s been worth it’s while.

This investment of your time might seem a challenge at first. Yet, quite quickly, you will see that the outcomes you are achieving were worth those days where you put aside seemingly important tasks, to invest a little in the future.

Filed under Great Quotations, Management Basics, Managing Me by Martin

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December 14, 2008

Empowerment Skills – Only The Manager Is Responsible

Many managers do other people’s roles without even thinking.

It’s quite a step to recognize that employees will evolve their capabilities when they have the trust of the manager and are allowed to do more.

In the front line with customers, having the power to solve their problems fast is a particularly valuable asset.

Filed under Building the Future, Managing Me by Martin

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December 12, 2008

2 Key Business Management Skills To Build Trust

If you trust others in your team, they will trust you.

A manager must develop an ability to trust others and create an environment of trust throughout the workplace. Really, it is better to assume the trustworthiness of employees to start with, rather than waiting for them to earn it.

Team members find it much easier to trust their manager if they feel trusted themselves.

Being honest In everything will build trust more.

Being open and honest is a key ingredient for generating trust. When you are open about your vision, actions and intentions, you will usually generate strong support.

Both good and bad news should be openly shared, reducing gossip and internal politics.

By admitting mistakes and not trying to cover them up, shows any manager to be a normal human being, just like everyone else!

Filed under Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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