Articles tagged with: performance

Apr07

The 4 Things Great Managers Do

The 4 Things Great Managers Do

employee recognition

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is no mystery to good management, though many management consultants and Business schools may like to make it seem so. Management is about working with and getting things done through the actions of others. Here are four things that great managers do to make this happen.

 

1. Management By Walking Around

MBWA is a great way to increase contact between senior management and the people who work for them. The Japanese have a great term for the workplace -GEMBA and it is where the action happens, where the work takes place. Masaki Imai the great Kaizen (method of continuous improvement) guru tells a story of what Mr Toyoda (founder of Toyota Motors) used to do when hiring new engineers. He would greet them on their first day at work, take them to a place on the shop floor, draw a square or circle on the ground and tell the engineer to stand in that square all day. The next day he would take the same engineer to another part of the factory floor, draw another square and tell the engineer to stand there. The lesson of the story was that you could not make work place based decisions if you did not know what was happening on the shop floor and the starting point was to learn by watching the work been performed.

 

MBWA is not about an aimless walk around, it needs to be done with a purpose: to listen to people and find out what is going on in real time; to provide positive reinforcement; to communicate the latest company news; and to discover and promote ideas for improvement. Along with trust built from upward feedback tools and other team working methods, teams embrace their manager’s presence positively as a visible sign of support and appreciation of their everyday demands.

 

2. Set a Vision and Communicate It

All companies have strategic plans; hopefully you will get overviews and progress reports every time there is an annual general meeting. Great managers are able to take the strategic plan and specifically the vision for the business, and translate it so it becomes meaningful for their employees. Too often this is left to the PowerPoint slide master to accomplish. By that I mean all the info is put on a PowerPoint and sent out to everyone in the organisation, in the vain hope that it will be understood (if at least it gets read). That is not communication, and in fact that is downright disrespectful to your employees. Great managers take the time to discuss the vision and the strategic plan with their employees, what it means, how it affects them and what they the employees are required to do to execute the strategy and achieve the vision. Discussing the vision with employees is also a great way of understanding what concerns people may have or how they feel in general about the vision and the direction the company is taking.

 

3. Providing Positive Reinforcement

Most people need to be acknowledged for their efforts and receive recognition for the work that they do. If the only time that takes place is during performance appraisal time then it’s way too late. Findings of both the Hewitt and Gallup employee engagement surveys highlight the strong link between recognitions and praise to employee engagement. When you take this into consideration then you have to acknowledge that providing positive reinforcement in a way that is meaningful to each individual for those actions and results that you desire in an employee, is a no brainer.

 

4. Open time

Busy-ness can often be interpreted as a sign of importance or even value; that is, “I am so busy because I have so many things to do.” My take is different, If you are a busy manager then you are either doing the work of others; you are disorganised; or you have bought into a culture where “busy” is perceived to be important (or worse still some combination of all three!)

What I continually find astounding is that managers can find the time to fight fires or intervene when things go wrong, but cannot find the time to be involved in continuous improvement or value adding activities.

One of the things great managers do is find the time to meet with the people who work for them – not just via management by walking around themselves, but by scheduling time to be “available” for anyone of their employees to meet. I call this open time; a time set aside in your calendar where you are in your office but available to meet with anyone who wants to see you with out making an appointment. It is a time where employees feel they can engage you one on one without worrying about disturbing you in any way.

 

In conclusion, good management is not complex, however it does require the discipline to focus on some simple behaviours in a consistent fashion. Specifically, get out, meet and listen to your people, translate the company’s vision for them, recognise them when they do what you want and finally make time for your people.

Posted in Business Management

Jan18

Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement #1

Culture is about how we do things around here

Creating a Culture of Continuous Improvement  #1

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast!” I don’t know who first said it but it’s 100% true, certainly from my 20 years of experience it is.

Simply defined culture equals “the way things are done around here.”   People do things via their actions i.e. behaviours, and these behaviours are reinforced by processes and systems companies have in place.

These processes and systems are created for logical and I am sure good reasons - It’s to keep the organisation functioning in an orderly and consistent manner, and to a significant extent they end up determining the culture of the organisation. This happens because they shape the behaviour of the individuals.

Posted in Performance Improvement

Jul06

Managing Know How

Fix the processes before you try managing by objectives

Managing Know How

When Rudy is not changing the world of business for the better, he is busy changing the world of junior football for the better. Rudy is the president of “the most progressive junior football club in Australia”; I know the club is, because he told me!  Seriously Rudy is not given to hyperbole and relies on measurable data to support his claim. Over 600 boys and girls have directly benefitted from the dedication and commitment he has shown over the past three years.

Posted in Change Management

May25

Middle Managers - key to success for knowledge based industries

Middle Manager Competence is Key to Success

Middle Managers - key to success for knowledge based industries

team management

Research conducted by Wharton Business School management professor Ethan Mollick suggests that middle managers are the key productivity enhancing variable especially for knowledge-based companies.

“The often overlooked and sometimes-maligned middle managers matter. They are not interchangeable parts in an organization,” Mollick says.

Posted in Business Management

Apr05

If you build it they will come - the affect that beliefs have on performance

People who believe intelligence can be developed perform better

If you build it they will come - the affect that beliefs have on performance

 

Research on how high school students' beliefs about intelligence affect their math grades found that those who believed that intelligence can be developed performed better than those who believed intelligence is fixed.

The findings come from two studies conducted by researchers at Columbia University and Stanford University, and were published in the journal Child Development. Vol. 78, Issue 1 in 2007.

One study looked at 373 12-year-olds over two years of high school. All students began the study with equivalent achievement levels in math but the students who believed that their intelligence could be developed outperformed those who believed their intelligence was fixed. Furthermore, the researchers found, the gap between these two groups widened over the two-year period.

Researchers concluded that the difference between the two sets of students stems from the fact that students who believed their intelligence could be developed placed a higher premium on learning, believed more in the power of effort, and had more positive and constructive reactions to setbacks in school.

A second study looked at 91 12-year-olds in two groups, both of whom had shown declines in their math grades. One group was taught the expandable theory of intelligence as part of an eight-session workshop on study skills. Another group participated in the same workshop, but did not receive information on the expandable intelligence qualities of the brain. The students who learned about the intelligence theory reversed their decline and showed significantly higher math grades than their peers in the other group, whose grades continued to decline.

"These findings highlight the importance of students' beliefs for their academic progress," said Carol Dweck, one of the researchers and professor of psychology at Stanford University. "They also show how these beliefs can be changed to maximize students' motivation and achievement."

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts that teachers and parents alike can provide students and their children is the belief that they can achieve what they set out to do.

Posted in Change Management

Jan24

The toughest of all leadership skills

Performance management....not for the sqeamish

The toughest of all leadership skills

In my 20 plus years of management consulting experience there is still one skill that I see performed poorly or not at all.... PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT. I am not talking about remuneration or financially based incentive schemes for performance, that's easy. I am referring to the ability for a manager to give direct performance management feedback or coaching to their subordinates for the purpose of improving performance or reinforcing existing performance. There are two major reasons for this:

1 - Managers are not trained in performance management ie they don't know how to communicate feedback in a timely and specific manner;

2 - they, managers, don't know how to define and hence measure performance.

Posted in Business Management

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