The Productive Professional
We're happy to announce that registration is now open for our Effective Manager and Effective Communications Conferences in Washington, DC on June 4 - 5, and Houston on June 18 - 19. Attend our Effective Manager Conference on day one or our Effective Communications Conference on day two. Discount offered when you attend both days!
The cost for the EMC or ECC is $995 each for DC and Houston and 1250 AUD for Sydney. When you attend both the EMC and ECC, the cost is $1695 for DC and Houston and 2000 AUD for Sydney. The cost of the Shanghai EMC is 7880 CNY We guarantee it will be the best training experience of your life.
Here's a listing of ALL the Manager Tools Conferences, including our 2013 schedule.
If you have any questions or need assistance with registering for any conference, please email me (Dani) at email@example.com. I'm happy to help any way I can.
We hope to see you at an upcoming conference!
When you read a whole lot of different things all at once, themes start to jump out at you. I read 10-15 magazines at the weekend, and I kept seeing the same theme expressed by the successful people who were interviewed.
Phil Libin, the CEO of Evernote said: ‘Hiring people smarter than yourself is the long-term answer to your micromanagement problem’. An article about Chris Van Gorder who turned around 5 hospitals in California said: ‘First Van Gorder prioritized repairing staff relations’. David Farr, CEO of Emerson Electric says: ‘…Develop the best people around you. Never compromise with people'.
Geoff Colvin, looking at Fortune’s most admired companies remarks that: ‘Seven of the top 10 companies are a one-man phenomena’. He goes on to say that of the companies that have stuck around since the first Fortune list, only one is a one-man phenomenon. In another article, he lists the strategies that companies are using to keep on top through a tough economy: ‘They keep on developing human capital. Every company claims that ‘people are our most important assets,’ but few mean it’. He quotes Sam Palmisano, former CEO of IBM: ‘he liked to observed that calling IBM a hardware of software or services company was wrong in each case. “We’re a people company,” he said.’
Much as we might want to do it all ourselves, or shut ourselves in a box and not deal with other people – it really is all about people.
I read a bunch of magazines at the weekend and it occurred to me that I really don’t think all that deeply. There was an article in Fortune about a company which grows turf and then sell it to football stadiums. It’s a $60bn a year industry that employees 800,000 people in the US.
I’ve seen turf arriving at people’s homes but it’s NEVER occurred to me that someone somewhere is growing that turf. In the Arizona and California deserts of all places! On the same page, there was an article about an insurance company which employees firefighters to take preventative action against wildfires. That’s smart. NEVER occurred to me that someone would be doing that either. There’s an article in Inc about dog sledding. It takes 15,000 Douglas Fir stakes (15,000!) to stake out a dog-sled race, and they have to be made by someone (a company called Stake Shop).
This is one of the reasons I read magazines. I might be deeper into a subject with a book, and more up to date with a blog, but I get breadth from magazines. If I only read books or blogs or magazines, I’d miss out. Reading all three means I get as much creative input as possible – and that gives me ideas which improve our business.
In our conferences we tell people that everyone gestures – even people blind from birth. Gestures aren’t related to what we see, they’re related to what we’re saying.
Over the weekend I read some research about smiling. The researchers looked at athletes at the Olympics and Paraolympics and measured their smiling. They found:
1. There is no difference between blind and sighted people’s expressions (they smile equally and at the same times).
2. Blind people are capable of ‘masking expressions’ just like sighted people, like smiling when they don’t win.
3. The results were consistent across the 23 countries they looked at.
Which goes to show that people are people, whatever their ‘personality’. And, the Wendii curve stands ☺
In an article in Entrepreneur Ross McCammon says “We decide not to be on time (and it is always a decision) the message isn’t, I’m too busy. The message is, I don’t respect this meeting enough – I don’t respect the people waiting for me in the meeting room enough – to do the easiest thing in the world: just show up”.
In the same way ‘I’m triple-booked’ just says, ‘I can’t manage my time and priorities’ not ‘I’m so important’. Worse, lateness breaks down trust, and that does the opposite of what we’re always asking you to do: build relationships.
One of my favorite ways to look at this, and I can’t remember where I first read it, is to ask yourself, ‘What would a Navy Seal do?’. Do you think they’re late for meetings? Do they have donuts? Do they have an agenda, and do they finish on time? Oh yeah. Be in middle school again, and pretend you’re a Navy Seal going to every meeting this week. What difference does that make to whether you’re late or not?
It seems surprising that there are still articles written about multi-tasking. I thought that we’d all accepted that we can’t multi-task. However, in December’s Entrepreneur magazine, there was another article, letting us know, that no, nothing has changed, and we still can’t multi-task.
There was one line that helped me understand the problem differently though: “When you’re on the phone and writing an e-mail at the same time, you’re actually switching between them, since there’s only one mental and neural channel through which language flows”.
As a person who can’t pat her head and rub her tummy at the same time, it makes perfect sense to me that I have only one channel for words in my head, and it can only be used for one task at once. Even though I’d already accepted I can’t multi-task, the article was still useful. “Einstein”, it says “was not multi-tasking when he was dreaming up the special and general theories of relativity”.
In an article in Success Magazine, there is some guidance on how to ask questions to speakers in presentations. It says: express your reservations or ask your questions in a respectful, non-confrontational way. In other words, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Don’t mutter, “That’s never going to work.”
So half of you reading this are thinking ‘well, duh!’. But I have seen the people ask speakers questions which are clearly critical or hostile. And I’ve done it when I’ve called a service provider and I’m already in a bad mood. I start with a question which I know will show them in a bad light.
I never get good results when I start a conversation that way. I never see speakers and questioners get good results when they start that way. No matter how much the person you’re speaking to has irritated you, begin in a kind and gentle way. Ask a genuine question, not one designed to start a fight. You’ll get better results that way.
There was an article in Bloomberg Businessweek recently about Ford’s transfer of CEO power. The part that caught my eye was a description of the Thursday morning meets that CEO, Alan Mulally, instigated. Each of his top managers were to report on their initiatives using the red/amber/green method. The article says that some time went by with every one of the managers reporting green.
Eventually, Mark Fields, head of the North American business showed a red. Alan’s reaction was perfect in this situation: he clapped. “The applauding CRO offered praise: “Great visibility Mark. … Is there anything we can do to help you?”
There’s three things I took from this. First, a professional does not report green when the actual status is red. Yes, you could lose your job for reporting red. Yes, your job is to perform and get results. Your professionalism and sense of ethics is more important than that. Second, every one, even someone as far up the organization as Mark Fields has red issues. Third, if your team is frightened of reporting red, you don’t know what’s really going on. You need to be positive and encourage candor when it comes.
An article in Bloomberg Businessweek discusses the happiness of different countries following a study which asked about different measures of satisfaction. Whilst the countries which were happy and sad was interesting, most interesting to me was that the global average for people being engaged at their jobs is 11%.
Really? 11%? If that is true (and I haven’t seen the original research), that’s horrifying. The meme of the last 10 years has been ‘follow your passion’. Is no-one doing that? And even if they’re not – and I don’t believe everyone can – are they not at least finding some satisfaction in a job well done?
Are they not getting enough feedback to know how well they’re doing? Are they not get coaching to increase their skills? Are they not developing relationships at work? Are they not being delegate to stretch them? Apparently not. Manager Tools and Career Tools has more to do than we ever knew.
An article in Wired about near misses in accident research says ‘Studies have shown that the more often someone gets away with risky behavior, the more likely they are to repeat it; there is a sort of invincibility complex”. There’s a ‘I got away with this time, I’ll get away with it next time’ thought in our heads which leads us to continue the risky behavior.
Common sense tells us that if we continue to cross the road against the red light, eventually we may well get hit by a car. Somehow we don’t apply that to our work. In my experience, I’m often ready to be finished and move on, and I don’t hotwash my own actions, even though I know reviews and checklists for the future are helpful.
One way to get round this is to add ‘hotwash’ to your project plan. The project isn’t done until the hotwash is done AND the findings have been added to your checklist for the project the next time. Whether it’s a simple hour long job you do each week or a five year project, making sure that you don’t take unnecessary risks next time is an important part of the project.