Skip the hype cycle, recognise your biases and default position as well as other’s biases and default positions to look at problems in context of their changing conditions. This is the overriding message of The Heretics Guide to Management by Paul Culmsee and Kailash Awati. This book was recommended to me by a sage and savvy colleague and friend. It opened my eyes to just how attached I was to certain tools, processes, and practices — namely Design Thinking. This book challenged me to think about just how unproductive we can be when we don’t acknowledge our professional culture wars. If you hold on to traditional strategy methodologies, if you think the latest innovation model is the best way, if you think design thinking is the only way, read this book.
Sylvia Pennington reports on the characteristics of the perfect boss. How does your boss stack up? Or if you’re the boss how do you stack up? The cheat sheet list is:
Bank of America sent a letter to each of its 270,000 employees with the simple message to “Be Nice”. This is after woeful customer satisfaction ratings. Is a letter enough? No, according to Customer Experience consultant Colin Shaw of Beyond Philosophy who stresses the need in the story for matching incentives and guidelines for how much time managers spend with customers and in branches. Apparently a more comprehensive plan to address customer satisfaction performance is to follow.
When Eddie McGuire was forced to axe 100 staff from Channel Nine – barely a few months into his new role as CEO – he decided to give it to them straight.Unfortunately, his HR department had other plans.Instead of letting him sit down and talk with each unlucky worker, they made him read a scripted statement to them. He was also advised not to answer their questions. … “It was a disaster . . . the worst thing I did,” McGuire confessed to his Triple M listeners last week. “These HR people come in, they have their set plays – and they never work.”
Provide meaning to motivate (purpose), provide feedback, provide opportunities, be fair … you know the score and it all sounds like common sense but many organisations miss the mark. A tidy list to refresh your management sensibilities from fastcompany.com.
Do incentives work? Well the answer is yes and no. They work for rudimentary mechanical tasks, but when you up the cognitive anti, incentives fail to motivate. Not only that, they can negatively impact performance. Pay people enough so they are not thinking about money and can instead be free to concentrate on their performance. Also relevant to management practice is the idea of giving people autonomy. Think autonomy, mastery, and the purpose motive. Watch the video to see how this plays out.
Sydney Finkelstein, the Steven Roth Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, published “Why Smart Executives Fail” 8 years ago. In it, he shared some of his research on what over 50 former high-flying companies – like Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Rubbermaid, and Schwinn – did to become complete failures. It turns out that the senior executives at the companies all had 7 Habits in common. Finkelstein calls them the Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives.
Bob Sutton’s Good Boss Bad Boss is a must read for any manager. If you don’t have time to read the book, at least watch this video.