Your Mission #4: Understand Motivation – Part 2

Managing motivation: an opportunity and a challenge It is one thing to understand the nature and dynamics of motivation and quite another to apply that understanding as a manager. It is the difference between “knowing how” and “knowing that” as Gilbert Ryle expressed it and it is also the key message of the books “The knowing-doing gap” or “Execution: the discipline of getting things done”. Your primary responsibility as the manager is to create the environment within which people can motivate themselves. In this respect it is more akin to a facilitator than as a controller. You need to be [...]

Your Mission #4: Understand Motivation – Part 1

Motivation works In 1757 Admiral John Byng was shot by firing squad on the quarter-deck of the ship, HMS Monarch, as a result of his leadership in the Battle of Minorca, at the beginning of the Seven Years War. Voltaire commented in his book, Candide, that "in this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others”. Byng was condemned for failing to “do his utmost” to prevent Minorca from falling to the French and it ushered in a period of British naval supremacy that lasted to the beginning of World [...]

Your Mission #3: Build your unit’s capabilities

Effective managers build their unit’s capabilities Capability is the power or ability to do something and capabilities show the range and extent to which things can be done. In the case of a management unit, regardless of its level in the organisation, its capabilities are to create value as I have noted in Your Mission #1: Enable your team to create value. Building the capabilities of your management unit, to create value for your customers and the organisation as a whole, is one of the most important contributions of an effective manager. It provides both long and short-term benefits and while [...]

Your Mission #2: Eliminate waste

In 1955 in a humorous essay in the Economist, Cyril Northcote Parkinson posited a new scientific law he humbly named Parkinson’s Law. It is an observation that: “…. work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” In suggesting this, Parkinson goes on to say that: “… there need be little or no relationship between the work to be done and the size of the staff to which it may be assigned.” Since then, many have observed the reality of Parkinson’s Law and the linkage between what is to be done and how many are required [...]

Your Mission #1: Enable your team to create value

As a manager you are in the business of value creation Whether you have just taken over a new unit or you have been managing it for some time, the value created for your organisation has to be understood if you and your team are to be effective. Also, being able to communicate that value goes a long way to building business focus for the unit and establishing trust with your other stakeholders. As the manager, you should also have a strong understanding of how this value is created by your unit both individually and collectively.  While you may [...]

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept it…

Why is Management Still Relevant? In 2010 the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “The End of Management” not as a question but as a statement. While providing a hat tip to the view of Peter Drucker that management was "the most important innovation of the 20th century” and the contributions of the management leaders of the late 19th and early 20th century, the article argues that what we have learned about management from the past may not be as relevant today. The article implies an important question: “Is this really the end of management as we know it?” Management, as a practical [...]

Working with a Micromanager

Key Point: Your career success depends on your ability to form productive and effective working relationships with a wide range of people. Do focus on how to build those relationships and don’t be distracted by labels to which you attach too much meaning. The world in which we work is more fluid and unstructured… Organisational structures and operating relationships are far more fluid these days and while the hierarchical organisation chart might exist, the “reporting” relationships can extend well beyond the boundaries of that formal structure. It may be matrixed, networked, team-based or any other form but the point is [...]