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A manager has to know when to ignore a precise number. “He has to know that ‘larger’ and ‘smaller,’ ‘earlier’ and ‘later,’ ‘up’ and ‘down’ are quantitative terms and often more accurate, indeed more rigorous, than any specific figures or range of figures.”

via Fat Chance | The Drucker Exchange | Daily Blog by The Drucker Institute.

PierG

In life or death situations, the military needs to make sure that they can shout orders and soldiers will obey them even if the orders are suicidal. That means soldiers need to be programmed to be obedient in a way which is not really all that important for, say, a software company.

In other words, the military uses Command and Control because it’s the only way to get 18 year olds to charge through a minefield, not because they think it’s the best management method for every situation.

In particular, in software development teams where good developers can work anywhere they want, playing soldier is going to get pretty tedious and you’re not really going to keep anyone on your team.

via The Command and Control Management Method – Joel on Software.

PierG

I met a CIO like that. He told me his policy was to never say No to the business. So he always said Yes, and the business was always angry because things he agreed to didn’t get done, or got done poorly or far later than they wished. His Yes meant nothing.

via Insights You Can Use » Blog Archive » Yes. No. Negotiate..

PierG

Some time ago I wrote a post called Tips for better email management: it’s a set of suggestions on how to manage the bandwidth of your email traffic.

Today I’ve read an interesting post of Seth Godin called Email checklist (maybe this time it’ll work!). Seth list 36(!) items in his checklist: a little bit long but it worth the reading (if not using every time you are about to send an email 🙂 )

Three years ago this week, I posted this checklist, in the naive hope that it would eliminate (or perhaps merely reduce) the ridiculous CC-to-all emails about the carpool, the fake-charity forwards, the ALL CAPS yelling and the stupid PR spam.
A guy can hope, can’t he?

Thoughts?

PierG


Courtesy of lolandese, Some Rights Reserved

When you become a manager, the first temptation you have to fight is micromanagement: it’s particularly dangerous in technical fields.

When you become manager of managers (huge change), the first temptation you have to fight is what I call the ‘Dive In Sindrome’: it’s this evolution of micromanagement where you dive into the organization bypassing levels of hierarchy to close the loop directly with the individual contributors.

You cannot substitute your managers to manage their people, and I think there is a huge value in keeping in touch directly with what the individual contributor know, do, feel. And this for a set of reasons:

  1. you need to know what they have understood about what’s your vision (= how you scale the Company Vision to your team) of things: communication is feedback so you need to get it for what’s the strategic for the company;
  2. you need to keep you spider-sense alive at operational levels: as much as you get far from everyday operations that’s a plus that can enrich your capability to choose strategically with scarce resources;
  3. you need to know what they think about their bosses: nothing personal, but you have to gather any possible info to help them (your directs) to growth and be better … or find a company that’s more suitable for them.

The question for you is: how much is too much? How much should your boss dive in the organization and how frequently? Share with us your idea of The Art of Diving In.

PierG

I had the chance to watch John Medina at AuthorsGoogle and learn an interesting concept about how to give feedback to children to improve their chance to have a bright future at school.

Here is the wrong and right feedback you can give your son when he gets back home with ‘good news’:

NO: you’ve got an A, I’m so proud of you, you are so smart
YES: you’ve got an A, I’m so proud of you, you must have studied really hard

Now let’s see some of the differences:

  1. you are so smart’ is personal. It is you being something. What happens when you get a C? It’s you being something wrong (stupid?)
  2. you are so smart’ doesn’t lead to a growth mindset behavior. In fact if you get a C, what should you do? How can you be smart again? How can you grow from this situation?

The ‘you must have studied really hard’, when you get a C, decouple you from the problem + lead to a solution: you have to study harder or in a different way. This enables a growth mindset behavior.

Can you imagine situations, in your working experience, where this kind of feedback can be beneficial? I’m sure you do!

PierG

I get a bit nervous when I listen to the terms unacceptable or intolerable especially in email where it’s easier to pretend to be rude not having to look someone in the eyes.

They are quite always associated to errors or wrong behaviors, often used when it is someone else fault, rarely when is the fault of the one who uses the term, and I don’t think they focus to find solutions: they just rise barriers.

That’s why I was a bit skeptical when I got in touch with an article of the Harvard Business Review called: when failure is intolerable. What lead me to read it was the term failure: I often joke (or not!?!?) with the fact that ‘here failure is not an option

In the article Scott Anthony writes that in reality, there are three types of failures that bother me:

  1. When someone knowingly does the wrong thing
  2. When someone could have easily discovered that they were doing the wrong thing
  3. When someone spent a lot of time and money researching something that could only be learned experientially

To me, it makes sense … and it doesn’t get me nervous (no spider sense tingling 🙂 ). What about you?

PierG

It happens that when a problem arises, we get stuck in discussions and it seems there is no way to find a solution to that problem. Often it is because we are looking for the guilty!

So whatever your current problem is, let me tell you this: “sorry, it is my fault” … and now feel free to relax and focus on finding the solution!

The power of reframing 🙂

PierG

p.s. Feel free to use this technique your own even if it’s my fault and not your 😉

This post Seth’s Blog: The difference between running and managing a project is exactly the right kind of post I love:

  • short: I don’t have time for reading long novels. I seldom read a post that need a page down … sorry!
  • wisely open: it gives you a great idea and an open question to think about!

Read it and let me know what do you think about the post itself and the style of the post!

PierG

 
Courtesy of Haiko, Some Rights Reserved

There are many decisions making techniques: most of the them are based on the decision making process. They teach you how to split, to partitionate, to analyze, to weight, to make bifurcation or things like that.

Few of them are not dealing with the most important ingredient of decision making that’s also one of the most widely diffused illness of our management: (lack of) attitude.

Making decisions is like any of our physical and intellectual skills (mind and body are the same stuff, right?): if you want to be good at it, if have to do it and then do it and then do it and then ….

So the best decision making technique is not a technique but a mantra you will repeat day after day, hour after hour starting from now: "decide early, decide small!", "decide early, decide small!", "decide early, decide small!" …

PierG

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