January 17, 2013
A YouTube posting by a group to which I subscribe (BigThink) caught my attention: Jeff DeGraff presenting a talk on what makes organizations high performers, including the nature of personality types and management styles. Many organizations fail to select the best managers but would do much better if they studied this and similar messages. I recommend viewing it, and welcome your comments.
Thanks for reading and commenting. — Tim
December 11, 2012
The value produced by managers is difficult to quantify and varies greatly. For the most part, the value a manager produces depends a lot on their personality, which is a product of their attitudes about people, the work at hand, and their general background and experience. Since the essence of the job is the coordination of the efforts of others, communicating effectively and maintaining the commitment of others who will get the work done are of critical importance. In corporations it is rare for a manager to produce much product-related value by themselves. The real value of management is in uniting people who know what to do in coördinated efforts that multiply the value of individual results. Other ways a manager can contribute are in development of strategy, bringing in outside knowledge including customer and business environment-related information, removing inhibitors to productivity, and generally enabling people to contribute to the satisfaction of customers and the success of the business, however they might be able to do this. It is important to recognize that approach is an individual thing, and different managers will have different ways of dealing with people and issues that may be equally effective but strikingly different to the observer. Read the rest of this entry »
November 30, 2012
My finicky cat teaches me a lesson in marketing. I have had many cats in my life, and have learned to interpret their unspoken (and “spoken”) language pretty well. My wife gets a laugh our of my verbalization of what the cats are thinking, and I’m honest about it – the cats supply the material via their sounds and body language and I just express it in words. Every morning my wife gets up and gives the cats some canned food, and it’s an “important ritual”, especially for our nervous Persian cat Chloe. At 6:30AM Chloe paces the floor and bed impatiently, walking on us, bumping us with her head and sometimes poking my wife’s sleeping face with a fluffy paw. (Remember: Dogs have owners but cats have staff!) As we arise Chloe alternately sits in the bedroom doorway and paces up and down the hall, waiting for that expected move toward the kitchen where the food is. Looking at this cat haughtily surveying us from the doorway, I said to my wife the first words I could think of that expressed the cat’s thoughts: “If I want it, you’re late“. My wife burst out laughing, but I instantly realized that this illustrates a key principle of successful marketing. Read the rest of this entry »
September 30, 2012
Inc. magazine recently posted an article I think has a lot of merit, on “9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People“ by Jeff Haden. While the article might miss some things (as do my own articles) his points are well taken and worth reading. Enjoy! — Tim
August 20, 2012
English: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Resized, renamed, and cropped version of File:Mazlow’s Hierarchy of Needs.svg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Are your people “keeping their heads down” and working for the next paycheck? Take a quick peek at Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and you’ll see that the paycheck (pursuit of basic necessities) ranks at the bottom, while the things that motivate people to do better get stronger as one moves to the top of the pyramid. It is when people are motivated by the top two levels of the pyramid that amazing things happen and people perform at very high levels. It has long been known that the best managers help their people feel like a team, supported fully by management, with everyone focused on common goals and feeling their contribution is important. Sadly, few people have had the chance to experience that kind of management. As a manager you can make it happen, though, with noticeable benefits to you, your employees, your company, and your customers. Read the rest of this entry »
July 31, 2012
Do you want to get all the value your people can generate while still having time for your own responsibilities? Or would you rather micromanage your people by day and work late nights to get your own work done? Sadly, the latter scenario is where many managers find themselves. It doesn’t have to be like that, though. Why do we tend to micromanage, what’s wrong with it, and what might work better? Read the rest of this entry »
June 19, 2012
This is a rewrite of an unpublished article I wrote in 1994, when many businesses had recognized the importance of their internal culture and its impact on their business. I believe the principles still hold, though the understanding of culture and how to create lasting business success seems to have slipped in the intervening years, at least in the United States.
Where were we going in the TQM era?
The intent of the Total Quality Management (TQM) cultural change effort of the late 20th century was to achieve maximum organizational effectiveness, meaning maximally effective people. To be highly effective, people must be deeply committed. This requires that people care about their work, employer, coworkers, etc., for they will only be committed if they care about what they are doing and whom they are doing it for. Fortunately, people have a natural tendency to care about their work. The sense of accomplishment available through work gives people reason to feel better about themselves, and makes caring and contributing possible and even pleasurable. The positive self-image that arises in this kind of environment is a far more powerful motivator than any externally applied influence and results in far higher quality of work. By comparison, fear is also a powerful motivator, but its effects are detrimental to the quality of work produced in many ways, and they all increase cost without a matching increase in value. But how are business systems involved? Read the rest of this entry »