February 8, 2019
New research establishes trust as the most important factor in competitive advantage. An article on Media.com describes the research and results, and it follows what I’ve been saying for decades: trust is key to good, productive relationships, in business or anywhere else.
Fundamental concepts are usually not that complicated. — Tim
February 11, 2016
I was very pleased to find a review of Google studies on team effectiveness and wish to share the information with you. It provides interesting new findings on teams including the idea that team effectiveness depends more on team dynamics including, especially, a sense of psychological safety that allows team members to take chances without fear of criticism or negative labeling.
In addition, Google is releasing more information on their new re:Work site, including this article on the 8 skills needed by a manager and team leader. To compliment this Google also released an article on the best personality types for workers.
I believe research is directing Western business towards the concepts many of us knew were optimal three and four decades ago, but about which American business had no interest. It seems quite elementary that people will be more productive when they feel secure and respected in their jobs, for example. It is not surprising that the historically open minded internet industry is a source for good information on management and team optimization, but it is well worth paying attention. Google spends a lot on understanding their operations and workforce, and on optimizing factors that support productivity, and I believe their findings are worth reading.
Thanks for reading — Tim Prosser
March 5, 2014
This question is often asked by employees, mostly because good management practices are not prevalent in American society, and most are not taught in business schools either. (That’s the reason I write these blog articles – Tim.) Managers who were not properly trained or who simply haven’t the right personality, principles, and understandings for the job will not understand the importance of trust, or when it is most effective to give an employee the authority and autonomy needed to carry out necessary work. Micromanagement – overly close supervision of employees – makes them think they are not trusted to do the work they were hired for, and results in diminished respect for the manager and reduced loyalty to the company. It also wastes both the manager’s and employee’s time in needless communications often including unnecessarily effort-consuming details. It’s is intuitively clear that lack of trust has a negative impact on company profits, but how does it happen and what can we do about it? Read the rest of this entry »
December 8, 2013
Failing to effectively end projects can have high but hidden costs. Some companies are so buried in the latest and hottest project or in “fighting fires” that they fail to close projects constructively. In doing so they not only miss opportunities to generate extra value for the company and everyone involved, but also to maintain the quality of management information (financial and other types) and prevent or limit cost overruns. When projects aren’t formally ended some workers may go on working on them unaware that it is time to move on to other work. Other workers may find reason to continue to charge the project for their time, especially if they run into a slack period without enough work to keep them busy (which happens naturally in many product development organizations or in highly seasonal work). This is especially likely where “charging overhead” has a negative stigma attached to it and project charge codes are not shut off. There are many ways that project endings provide value, however, if they are timely, well planned, and properly executed . Here are a bunch of them: Read the rest of this entry »
November 26, 2013
In the defense contracting world budgeting is typically done under a rigorous “earned value management system” (EVMS) that usually includes keeping aside 10% of the budget for use as a “management reserve”. This can then be doled out in bits and pieces as needed to fund changes in what needs to be done (“scope” in the project-organized world) and solutions for problems that arise during the course of business. It also allows people within the organization to cope with unexpected changes without feeling like they are endangering the project or organization when they have to ask for more funding. They all still have to do what they can to stay within budget, but it gives the appearance that upper management accepts that unexpected changes happen and are going to be reasonable in helping people dealing with them. That’s not how budgets are typically presented in the rest of the business world, however. Read the rest of this entry »
October 4, 2013
Back in a 2011 Forbes article , a book about psychopathology (“The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry”, by Jon Ronson) revealed that around 4% of corporate CEO’s are sociopaths. (Sociopath: One who is affected with a personality disorder marked by antisocial behavior – www.thefreedictionary.com) In case you were wondering, the term sociopath is often used interchangeably with the term psychopath, but clinically is used to refer to an antisocial person who became that way from being brought up in an antisocial or criminal subculture, while a psychopath has somewhat different personality traits and a condition that is often inherited. (Psychopath: A person with an antisocial personality disorder, manifested in aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse – www.thefreedictionary.com). The most severe among psychopaths sometimes become serial killers or other types of criminal, and many wind up in jail but, more importantly, the less severe cases are much harder to spot without extended interaction and observation. Thinking on this made me wonder if the seemingly predatory behavior of some corporations isn’t indicative of psychopathology at the top. Needless to say, people with this disorder can be very harmful to their employer and the people around them, and often behave in ways business managers, coworkers, and investors would not appreciate, so how can you avoid hiring them in the first place? Read the rest of this entry »
September 26, 2013
Hypocrisy can be real or apparent. Hypocrisy occurs when a member of management contradicts or ignores management direction without consequence. It can be appearance rather than reality when communications between management and employees are lacking, though this is just as damaging as if it was really occurring. Poor communications leave employees to speculate about what management is thinking, planning, and doing, and why they are being given the directions they’re receiving. If these things (who, what, when, how, and especially why) are not communicated clearly and routinely, workers will start guessing and passing around perceptions and ideas as to what management is planning or doing, and it is easy for the speculations to become pessimistic and negative. The fact that a management team allows an information gap to exist between itself and employees will be the first strike against it, and one or more managers ignoring or flaunting the directions the management team is giving employees will sour the company culture in potentially disastrous ways that can undermine change initiatives as well as ongoing operations. Read the rest of this entry »