Focus on Results

January 24, 2010

Workplace Collaborations – The Power of More than One

Managers can be notoriously isolated. The role of manager is usually someplace between the team they lead and the powers that be in the organizational hierarchy.

This makes managers pretty self-sufficient, yet there’s power in the workplace relationships they build.

As we progress to management, we are able to develop skills that enable us to take on the role. Through experiences and training; through coaching and mentoring; through the networks of colleagues and experts We encourage and build, we are able to generate the skills and know-how to do the job of management.

Once in the role, it is easy for others to see us as an incredible resource, which builds our own confidence in ourselves, such that we find answers to the questions that many answer and problem-solve for our people.

This makes us feel good! It’s natural and when we’re good at it, we enjoy this part of our role, because we feel fulfilled with our abilities.

As we progress, the teams we lead are bigger and have a bigger job to do, so our input can be stretched ever more, with each promotion we take on. It is easy in this growth of role to mean there are expectations of many more people to focus on us.

This is not sustainable, because you cannot do it alone.

When you are good with people, you foster great relationships with your employees as you progress. Your first management offers you great opportunities to work intimately with those who are in your team.

In such situations, you can build your abilities in communication, intuition, performance management and many more of the management skills that will be so vital for you in the years to come.

When you’re smart, it’s here that you start to understand, when you are open to it, how you can leverage the interaction with others, sometimes with your team as a whole. More often, by utilizing the great relationships you have built with each individual employee, to get their input too.

Imagine a conversation when you have a tricky decision that you need to make. When you’ve invested a bit of time with your people to help them feel comfortable contributing openly when they work with you – their manager – the richness of the debate will be stronger and much more valuable.

Ideas will flow from them as well as you, synergizing thinking to create the outstanding solutions.

Once you can have this quality of debate with individuals, you can extract even more with whole-team debates too, magnifying the value of the wonderful workplace relationships you’ve already got in place.

There is much more power in ‘more than one’, particularly when you’ve done your groundwork and prepared your interactions with others, one-by-one, by creating business relationships that are ripe for reaping the reward.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Focus on Results, Management Basics by Martin

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January 19, 2010

5 Ways to Delegate More – Today!

Try these five tactics, today!

  • Become more aware of others who share their important work with you – watch how well they do it – note the benefits; to them; to you! See – it works!
  • Note those things you do in your work, that someone else could and create a plan to give them all away within one week. Take time to plan it and show people what you want. Then plan to delegate more next week & on.
  • Can’t decide? What would you do if you only had half the time (note:- do not think tactical or fire-fighting here – someone else has (or should have) that job).
  • Ask your people what they would like to take on that you do now – where do you get in their way? Let them have it!
  • Encourage this down the line – who can your people share key tasks with? Be the model – help them do this too.
  • Figure out what you can do with all that lovely time. Scared? Don’t be – look for growth opportunities – people; marketing; future things (See ‘Q2 time’ – Begin with the End in Mind Chapter – Covey’s Seven habits).

Delegation is a valuable tactic to free up your valuable time, as well as enlightening your people with an understanding of the capacity they have to do more, learn and develop.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Focus on Results, Management Basics by Martin

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January 13, 2010

Introducing And Managing Workplace Change

Change is a fact of life. Managing change brings challenges for even the most experienced of managers, yet it’s how it’s handled that can shape a career.

How we take on board the changes that are expected of us when we manage others, can have a significant impact on the way that our people react to them.

By investing time in getting and keeping close to our employees makes a huge difference in how they view us, so what we do with changing situations can be made much easier if we help them understand that we have our job to do and sometimes, just sometimes, that involves introducing changes that are challenging.

Getting them on board the train you are driving is a very smart tactic to adopt, so that there will be a coherency in approach with everyone pulling together as far as possible.

Often, where the bonds between you are very good, there will be an appreciation of the way you handle difficult change and even a support back for you from those affected, where they understand how difficult the experience is for you as well.

Working on those regular interactions with as many of your people as possible is worth it, to help with managing change – one of the many benefits of the investment in being with your people on a regular basis, day-in, day-out throughout your time working together.

It can be tempting for managers who have difficult changes to bring about, to pass the buck upwards to avoid any personal links to the actions being undertaken.

“I don’t agree with it, but…” is a lame effort to shirk responsibility and get off the hook. Where you do this, it’s likely that you will make matters much worse.

Your people will disrespect you for it. Your bosses will come to appreciate your lack of support and for you personally, there will be a gap in how your own actions have not been authentic within the positions for which you are being paid.

The key to progress is to have the great relationships with your people pre-formed; be open and honest about the changes that are coming about; and then to involve as many of the people for whom change will have an impact, in working on ways to make the change work for the benefit of them too.

Generating their ideas and input with refocus any energy they might have to oppose change and often, so often, they will come up with much better solutions to smooth the change through than you might have on your own.

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Developing Your People, Focus on Results by Martin

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January 11, 2010

Workplace Relationship Building – Getting Out Of Your Own Way

Effective relationships with team members is vital for managers to deliver the very best results. Yet one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is quite close to home.

As managers need their people to be fully productive, it is vital that they nurture the strongest of working relationships with them. Every individual has particular skills to offer and to make the most of this, their full commitment to the cause is vital.

This can be challenging for some managers to work through, with them believing that as manager, their role is superior to their people and they will lead the way – and deliver it – at all times, even when it’s almost impossible to carry the workload output required.

Good managers overcome the challenge that their own high level of self-importance can present. By being able to see the bigger picture of the needs of the team to create results, the best managers recognize that rather than them being the most important in the team, the contrary is true. Their people are where the vital energy and competence needs to lie.

Appreciation of their role as a facilitator, managers who get the best results simply know that they will only deliver strongly when they get the best from every individual they have as a colleague. So they will focus on working much harder at building motivation and collaboration with their people than by trying to show their higher level of authority.

Managers who cannot get past their own ego, pride and ‘position’, will always find the going tough, because their role is never to be the ‘doers’, whatever their personal drive is.

The best managers see their role purely as leveraging the great skills of their people. Indeed really good managers recruit people who are even more capable than they are, without any concerns about doing so.

They have been able to get over their own self-doubt and moved past that, knowing that the better they are at being a humble partner in their team, the more likelihood there is of success. Employees relate to the manager who is on a par with them and are more productive in that situation.

So many managers struggle to get beyond their own self-importance to take the time to create the valuable working relationships where they are as equal partners as possible, yet this is precisely the requirement of the role.

By investing some time building relationships with individuals in a carefully structured way, the more successful managers set their stall out to be doing everything possible to squeeze the best performance from the capable people they have.

This only comes from intimate working relationships that create trust and a following that is hard to pin down, yet is so very powerful and ultimately fruitful.

And the biggest challenge to overcome is so often the manager themselves.

Filed under Blog, Developing Your People, Focus on Results, Managing Me by Martin

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January 8, 2010

Results – A Manager’s Only Bottom Line

The most fascinating component for any manager is the consistent focus on getting the job done. And the only way to measure this is through the results that show up where it counts…

Let’s get this clear, whether you are in a huge organization, managing a large team, or running your own business with just a couple of employees and your dog in the corner.

Whether you are a corporate high flyer in derivatives with a bunch of hot-shot dealers; or if you run a small engineering business in the backwaters.

If you are a team leader in a not-for-profit organization or a civil servant working to provide employment solutions for unmanageable teenagers, it doesn’t matter.

You are there to create value, however it’s measured. A manager’s role and value to the organization comes only – truth be told – from the outcomes they achieve that can be measured and expressed.

You are there to create the outputs that matter, through your interactions and interventions with the people you lead in your team. That figurehead role you strove to achieve in your career is now focused on the bottom line.

Over the last few years there has been much spoken about the behaviors that managers demonstrate as they deliver the returns on human investment, that’s true – and still the bottom line is the end of the line if you fail to make it happen.

Results are your reason for being there.

Cut to the chase? Well, without the healthy returns that the expenditure on you generates, there wouldn’t be much sense in spending it, now would there?

Indeed, investors who sink their money into the stocks and shares that values your organization as a healthy place to put their own hard-earned, could easily be tempted to put it in a savings account, if the income they generate in your business is not worth more.

Through your actions!

And as a manager, they are your accountability. It doesn’t belong to anyone else you see. As the conductor of your particular orchestra, what comes out of it is down to you. Sure, they are all capable individuals – up to a point – of playing their own instruments.

You will tease from them the virtuoso performances of which they are capable, hidden maybe deep down, you draw it from them!

And that translates into the successes by which you – and they – will be measured.

So it’s where your focus lies, creating the outcomes that you can, because of who you are and what you do. It’s not to be to melodramatic about the results you achieve, but it’s because the very bread on your table depends on it!

Filed under Blog, Focus on Results, Management Basics by Martin

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February 26, 2009

Leadership Development through Staff Empowerment

You might be surprised how many manager feel concerned when they need to leave their business – you see they have fallen short in being able to empower their employees to cope without them.

And that’s a problem…

It must be very wearing for managers to feel that they just cannot absent themselves, when they are missing people in place who can do a great job in their absence.

They need the support of each of the employees in their teams – and it’s up to the manager to make this happen.

Filed under Developing Your People, Focus on Results 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 12, 2008

Management Is OK – Then The Leader Comes Along!

Because a manager is interacting so intimately with all parties, he or she will instinctively have knowledge of what clicks, who should be made to work together with whom and how to deal with problems.

But while a manager by virtue of the nature of his work has to be an insider, working closely at the sharp-end of the business every day, the leader does not.

He can work from the sidelines and inspire change without even having a personal stake in what’s happening today.

Leadership is needed for future growth and development in any business. It is a strategic activity, requiring vision, creativity and market-wisdom.

Management is what gets work done; what brings today’s cash-flow and ensures the health of the business right now and in the foreseeable future.

It is the true force and inspiration behind any successful organization, without which, there would be no future.

Filed under Building the Future, Focus on Results, Management Basics by Martin

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November 24, 2008

Big Picture Management

There is no shortage of articles in the popular press about how to survive in the new era of a damaged financial world.

Jobs seem to be disintegrating by every newscast and matters are made much worse, I believe, by a scurrilous press having political reasons for making things seem much worse than they are.

The recession we are heading for, has as much to do with perception caused by a malicious press out there as anything else.

That said, what are you going to do to make the best out of a sorry state of affairs?

Practically, and having been through a number of recessions and crises over my career, it pays to remain flexible and prepared for when the downturn appears if and when it does.

Not every situation can be protected, but as managers we can plan to be as lean as possible with the permanency of employees, using short-term contracts where possible and thus protecting the key people who have been most loyal and especially the most productive.

Trying to second guess what is likely to come, is difficult in large organizations, as middle managers don’t always have the inside knowledge to know or influence what is going on.

It’s a time to focus on doing core activities really well, delighting the customers we have and, above all, not getting too despondent or down.

Keeping the spirits up and concentrating on delivering the best is likely to be the best we can do.

Oh, and if you live in the UK, don’t watch any more episodes of ‘Survivors’ or that could really get you down!

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Focus on Results, Managing Me by Martin

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