I found Manager Tools about 2 months after I accepted my first manager position in late 2007 and have found it to be the best management training resource around. While I am an avid reader of business and other books, none of them have provided a tenth of the value of the podcasts on Manager Tools. It has contributed to my success and made managing much simpler in the process. I recommend it to my colleagues and would urge anyone who wants to be an effective leader to become a Manager Tools listener.
These tools have helped me a lot in providing a process on how to be a manager and being a better manager.
When I first became a manager, my old boss recommended Manager Tools. Between MT and CT it was some of the best advice I have gotten in my career.
The advice in "Building a Network" helped me in my last job search. When I reached out to my contacts I had dozens of referrals in just two days. I felt like a whole army was out there looking with me! Following the Manager Tools guidelines helped me land a great job.
This is the foundation work of all managers.
The genius of Manager Tools comes down to this: actionable behavior. Entering management feels like being blindfolded, spun in a circle a hundred times, and then released into unknown terrain as you desperately grope the halls hoping to touch something that seems like the right path. Manager Tools is a step by step instruction in how to navigate that path.
The practical templates that are provided with the Manager Tools podcasts leave no excuse to start applying them immediately.
I feel very fortunate to have found Manager Tools shortly after being promoted to management. The podcasts are actionable and include background for the reasons why you should do what Mark and Mike recommend. The only example new managers have to follow is the ones from their previous and current bosses. Most times this is by observation because most bosses don't spend time developing their directs to be better managers because they themselves don't always know what it means to be a successful manager.
Manager Tools helps you understand the "what", "why", "how", "when", and "who" to be a successful manager and successful in your career.
Delighted to finally attend and better 'get' what management is. I haven't been managed for 25 years, so my development has been more miss than hit despite best intentions. Insights from here & podcasts are inspirational and a timely reminder to do it right.
Following the advice and common sense that Manager Tools advocates has made me a more effective manager; which has helped me build my management team and make our company a better place to work. In short, Manager Tools has improved the quality of work life for all employees at my company. Thanks MT.
After I made the minor tweaks you suggested last week, I updated my LinkedIn profile to match my resume and then followed up with two of the contacts I'd made when we were here in January. Then I went to church on Sunday -- this is our new church here that we've been at for 3 weeks -- and was talking with some of the new people we met, and one of the guys was being persistent about "what kind of work do you do", so I told him I was a CPA and was starting to look for work here. He said "there's a partner in one of the big CPA firms that goes to church here that I need to introduce you to -- look, there he is" and we walked about 10 feet and he introduced me to the partner. The partner & I talked for a few minutes and then he started probing my background. Turns out he had a client whose Controller abruptly left last Thursday (long back story). It is a critical juncture for the company, as they're heading into their busiest time of some crucial reporting for their investors and have just thought that it might be a good fit for my skills & background. I offered to send my resume that afternoon and he said yes, do that.
He passed it on to the client, called me back Monday morning saying the client would like to talk to me, the client called, we set up an interview for 4:30 yesterday afternoon and I left with him stating his intention to get me an offer today, and we talked about me starting to work on Wednesday. I was delighted, and also remembered Mark's phrase of "until you've got something, you ain't got nothing" (or something like that), so I was optimistic, but not "counting" on anything until I had a starting salary and a start date. He did send me home with the employment application to complete and return, which I did.
Today I got the email from him with the salary and "can you start tomorrow at 9:00am?" So I emailed back, and also left him a voice mail, saying "yes!" And whereas he did not do a "Manage Tools-style interview", it was a pretty good interview. He also kept referring to my resume and saying things like "I can see where you've done X and we need X", "I can see that you can do everything that I need someone to do right away, and can grow into what we'll need". It is a super-fast growing engineering firm which will give me plenty of challenge, and I can make an immediate contribution, too.
So -- my resume did the job it was supposed to do -- it told two people, who I did not know, "what I've done and how well I've done it." And they needed someone who could do the what I can do.
After listening to the resume casts, I updated my resume and improved my results. I went immediately from about 20% reply rate (meaning somebody from HR contacted me) on my applications to about 75%. I know my resume could be and should be better than it is even now, but as you say about the one eyed person in the land of the blind…
Then I purchased the interviewing series, and again was astounded by the results. Since purchasing the interviewing series, I have always reached the last round of every interview process. EVERY time I have gotten to an interview, it has come down to one other candidate and myself as the final two.
Last year my daughter was graduating and about to start job interviews. I recommended some of the podcasts to her and said I would be happy to purchase the Interviewing Series if interested. That was on a Friday and by Sunday she had listened to them and was of course keen for the series. She found it invaluable in preparing her for the rigours of modern interviewing. Her first ever job interview was by Skype and the first question she faced was "How do you see the world in 2050 ?". Obviously a very tough question but when you have done your preparation and have the basics under control it puts you in the best possible position to not be thrown by the opening jab.
Later she took a finance internship in Beijing and I purchased the First Job Fundamentals for her to give a solid preparation. Since then she uses Career & Management Tools as she faces new challenges. The guidance you provide and practical tools give the base she needs.
I wanted to write and personally extend my thanks for the invaluable advice given in your career tools podcasts. Having always assumed that i was one of those 'afflicted' that suffered with so many nerves during an interview, i was somewhat amazed (and not a little annoyed with myself) that these fears arise from my inabilty to effectively prepare myself for interview. Fortunately i have been in several longterm roles so i havent had to endure interviews on a regular basis. In any case, on listening to your advice, i found myself walking in to an interview prepared and confident (still with some healthy nerves - im only human!). Three hours later, i received an offer. Im sure your fantastic tools will continue to prove to be invaluable throughout my career and i will be recommending your services to all.
Just saying "Thank You" just doesn't seem like enough.
I am a Major in the United States Marine Corps and I have been listening to your podcasts since 2007. When I listened to Manager Tools for the first time - it was the one on how to pay for someone else to go out and eat as part of a professional meeting - something just clicked and I decided that going back and listening to all of your podcasts was worth my time.
In my current billet we regularly deploy on Navy ships to project power throughout the Pacific and conduct theater cooperation with our regional partners and friends. This means that as a Marine I spend almost half the year at sea on amphibious ships. It is a great, demanding and rewarding job, and it also means that I have to wait until I get ashore to catch up on all the manager tool and career tools episodes. Due to some limitations at sea, I am unable to download the podcasts. All the same, I work 18 hours days, 7 days a week, so my mind is tired at the end of the day and I probably wouldn't really retain the good stuff anyway if I was able to get it. The work days back at home in Okinawa, Japan are long, but with a significant commute each day, I am able to catch back up. Manager Tools, Career Tools and Planet Money are all that I listen to until I'm caught up.
There are so many things that I find fascinating about you, your podcasts and your business model. I'm sure that all of your subscribers provide some OK income, or at least supports the development of the podcast, but the consistent quality of your topics and the actionable items that you provide in no way are compensated by these very reasonably priced products. It took me several years, and a lot of life experiences to realize that you have created a quality self-licking ice cream cone. And I mean this in the most gracious and respectful way possible because it isn't about the money, it is about making this world (especially America) a better and more productive place. Your podcasts help create more successful managers and in turn they get promoted into positions that can hire you to consult and effectively improve them and their employees. Once I am stationed in CONUS again, I look forward to attending your conferences and bringing my star performers with me. This is probably several years away.
Your influences show up unexpectedly in the strangest places. For the simplicity of email, I will just say that while we were recently deployed I had to bark a correction at a young Marine the other day that I knew was part of our unit of 2200 marines, but I didn't know exactly who he worked for. I found myself saying - without thinking - that I would "recommend" that he had better attention to detail when our Commander came by. The interaction only lasted about 30 seconds, but I walked away thinking "did I just "recommend" to a 19-year-old marine to correct himself?." I was slightly confused and slightly humored by my dialog. In the end it was effective.
After listening to you regularly for six years, I can easily point out all the simple ways that you have influenced me and the way I conduct business and mentor the Marine around me (of all ranks). Some examples that are so simple, and really make a huge difference are: meeting agendas, keeping to the scheduled times for meetings, "recommending," not using less than 18 size font on powepoint (it brings lots of strange stares initially when I tell this to people as I review content until we are presenting and nobody in the room is straining to see the words on the screen), who does what by when, communication is what the listener does (this usually takes 30-50 times of my saying this before they even understand what I am talking about; and the smart ones quickly staring struggling with ways to apply it with initial very poor results.)..and on and on. I must say that agendas alone set a tone and and indelible professional tone as new people check-in and as we are constantly working with new units. At this point in my career I would be challenged to try and list all the actionable items that I have heard on manager tools and career tools and apply regularly. Just to get this out of the way - I suck at regularly scheduled one on ones. However, when I regularly talk with my Marines I regularly make a concerted effort to make the conversation about their progress, their goals and their family...and I listen. And I still suck at regularly conducting one on ones.
I have approximately 40 Marines that makes sure 2200 Marines spread across 3 Navy ships can conduct their business as uninterrupted as possible. I have 4 officers and a senior staff non-commissioned officer that would be considered directs and they have 2 levels of directs below them. As I know that you have a military background and might understand the jargon, I have been a reconnaissance battalion S4 that deployed to Fallujah, Iraq; a logistics battalion operations officer that deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan; spent 3 years in a joint billet at NATO Allied Command Transformation (one of the strategic-level military headquarters); and now I am S4 of the only constantly forward deployed Marine Expeditionary Unit.
I regularly think about my future path and deep questions such as "if I still have opportunities in the Marine Corps do I keep moving forward and moving my family around, or do I figure out how to still be productive and transition to a different career with less moving around?" I'm 36, I have three young children with another on the way, so I plan on working for a long, long , long time. Quite frankly, I'm not sure what I really do in civilian terms. In the coming weeks I plan on contacting a military-friendly headhunter firm to not only try and figure out what I do in civilian terms, but to figure out how important such things as masters degrees and age are in transitioning to other career opportunities.
Before listening to Manager Tools I was really having a challenge consistently understanding how to get hard workers to do good things and to create plans for them to excel professionally. Actually I was rather sloppy in my method for success. I understood what needed to happen, and I knew how to work more hours to achieve the mission, but I couldn't quite figure out how to asses and mentor subordinates to buy back time for myself and still accomplish the mission. I seem to keep getting "promoted" into more and more challenging positions. I know I am able to get A LOT more out of my team as a whole as the jobs have become exponentially more demanding. I'm always trying to think three or four steps ahead, but these days all I want to do is figure out how to spend more time with my family. It is professionally tricky when you finally start "professionally cracking the code" and creating a system that is efficient and repeatable and then you move on to a new and more challenging position that isn't established to a point where we can take the ball and keep improving, but instead need to create a framework and system that is repeatable and ready to be improved.
I talk to all of the Marines and sailors of all ranks as soon as they check-in to my section. We discuss integrity, commitment vs compliance, any incidents of hazing and sexual harassment/assault means we have already failed our marines, we are communicated through not to (both down and up the chain of command), etc. There are two additional points that I highlight:v
1. Mission Accomplishment (you need to know what is inside the box before you can think outside the box). By this I mean that if you don't know how you succeeded and can't deviate left and right or explain to someone else how you were able to be successful, then we haven't set ourselves up for long term success because we don't know why we obtained the result we did. It isn't repeatable.
2. The other is (paraphrased) that they are checking in to a unit that is more complex than most, however, they shouldn't finish their time here and just be happy that they "survived." They should understand that they had an experience. I want them to realize from the beginning that they can work hard and get by, or they can understand why we succeed and make us all better. If they go to their next unit and someone asks them how that were able to do X or Y and all they know is that they just survived somehow, then they will have wasted everybody's time because they could have paid better attention and been able to say that "this or that worked because we tried this thing and it just didn't work as well."
There is no doubt in my mind that you have helped make some people incredibly successfully in the public sector. It pains me to even think that the Army (although long since departed from active duty) supported the Marines...so I won't. But what I can say is that incorporating many of your actionable items into a US military active duty leadership role has made me and the Marines and sailors around me better at our jobs and more effective at our mission.
Thank you for all that you and the entire team does.
I've learned so much from you all, hard to know where to start. Most important, thank you for keeping me hopeful that my efforts can influence others to greatness. Thank you for giving me practical achievable tools that anyone can do with practice. Thank you for making it clear and simple!
When I started my job in Dec. 2010, with 8 directs, I had experience managing a team of one from a few years prior. My brother suggested Manager Tools. I listened. I implemented one on ones my first week. I'm learning more and more all the time. My team is happy, productive and awesome, partially because they are awesome, but mostly because I've learned how to manage from your podcasts. I actually inspire them to be better! They see the contrast and appreciate the difference. This is not me - it's Manager Tools. Thank you.
Late last year my team was asked to complete a leadership essentials survey (LES) and provide feedback about me based on 16 essential behaviours, or variables.
The LES is linked closely to firm leadership competencies and constructive leadership style inventory behaviours and is drawn from a variety of sources and research on high performance cultures.
The survey was designed to be a catalyst for dialogue with team members and I was debriefed first today and scored 4 and above out of 5 and achieved 80% plus and met all minimum standards expected of those in a leadership role.
My highest score was 'I understand how my work contributed to the success of the firm' as part of the 'Manages vision and purpose (Achievement) competency @ 4.86.
Whilst I do not have a benchmark to measure against prior to finding and starting MT, I personally attribute this result to MT and the work you do, the podcasts, the resources and the first Australian conference I attended and the MT basics.
I plug away at the basics every week without fail and my team work relationships have improved tenfold, along with their contributions and we have an incredible amount of work on at the moment. The firm went global in October last year, we are moving to a new building in August, I changed and we are now running parallel process and procedures, plus testing to upgrade our system.
All of which I could not have achieved prior to MT. Thank you so much for your guidance where none existed prior. Next I need to focus on DiSc.
Keep up the great work, changing one manager at a time :)
Thank you so much for your website and podcasts. I recently interviewed for an internal job opening, and I used a lot of the material I've discovered through you to prepare for it. I found I was incredibly over prepared for the interview, having prepared at least five times the amount of material we covered in the interview. At the end of the interview, I was actually disappointed they didn't ask me more questions so I could use more of my material. This is the only time I've felt that way, and it was great! I'm looking forward to applying more of your philosophy in the future.
I'm sure you hear this continually, but I should tell you that you've revolutionized management and professional life in general for me. I've now been to both conferences (the Effective Manager one twice). I've sent two of my managers over the last several years as well. It's astonishing what a difference you've made. Astonishing. When other managers notice, we all refer them to your website and the education reimbursement program.
Jon de Jong
In response to a conversation I had with Mark at the start of the EMC in Sydney recently I have penned some thoughts about what extra value I thought the EMC and ECC provided to me as someone who has listened to MT podcasts for a couple of years.
I came to the conference having implemented some of the trinity. I have been doing one-on-ones consistently and found them to very helpful. The rest however has been haphazard; infrequent feedback, a little coaching and some delegation but I have not been wholehearted in my approach. My sense was that I was only doing what I felt comfortable with and so I was not really getting the most that I could out of it. I was hoping the conference would provide me with inspiration and confidence to really embrace it. The podcasts had given me lots of knowledge and guidance for sure. I believe that I have become a much better manager (and person) as a result. However I felt that my skills and attitude could really do with some improvement.
So, did the conference help me? Definitely yes! What did I find helped me? There was lots of great stuff but I found the feedback sessions to be most helpful for me.
I found watching Mark give feedback so casually and easily really opened up my mind. I'd heard it on the podcasts but seeing it in front of me made it so much more real to me. In my mind's eye I can see Mark sidling up and casually, almost out of the the corner of his mouth, saying "Can I give you some feedback?" 8 pieces of feedback in 40-odd seconds, wow! And it looked so natural, not contrived or cheesy at all. This image has come back to me several times as I have reflected on the conference. Practising with others also helped build my confidence. The analogy of breathing rather than taking big gulps of air now makes so much more sense to me. The door has been opened for me, now it is up to me to walk through it and start with my team.
Dani's Corky story was good for me to listen to. I have a direct that I find giving feedback to a battle and drain on my energy. It made me realize that there will be no silver bullet, that there will be no substitute for hard work and persistence.
It was a great experience for me to meet you both. It was inspiring for me to see your passion for helping others become better managers. The Q&A sessions at the end of the day were great for extra insight. Sharing your personal experiences and so much of yourselves made it that much more special. It was so clear to me that what you do comes from the heart and that means a lot to me. Thank you.
I now hope that I can effectively put into place what I have learned from you. I will certainly give it my best shot. Maybe one day someone will see the improvement in me as a manager and will ask me what helped me. Manager Tools! Oi! O!, Oi!
Thank you Mark & Dani and all of the team at MT for a great couple of days in Sydney and all the great work you are doing with Manager Tools.
I wanted to say thank you for putting out this great product. We purchased licenses for all our new college graduates. I can really see the difference in them especially the way they think about results and relationships (the IT wants to know why everyone is so nice to him). We asked the college hires to listen to pod casts on their own and then had group discussions about what they learned. This has led to breakout discussions about DISC, GTD, and how they can use career tools.
I received some unexpected positive feedback last week from my boss. In general, feedback from him is not common and it has therefore caused me to reflect on it numerous times over the last several days. Through this I have concluded that more than anything else, applying your guidance over the last five years has helped me become the manager I am today. I thank you for this and hope you take a minute to read through and understand the profound impact you've had on me personally and my global organization of 220 people.
Specifically, here is the feedback my boss sent me:
I am especially happy and proud that this feedback was initiated by the front line workers in my organization, 2 to 3 levels down. Based on these skip level meetings and the feedback, other Directors are now coming to me to learn my 'secret' to high retention, employee satisfaction and results. I've shared Manager Tools with my peers in the past, but never before has there been this level of interest in how I manage my team.
My former boss was a huge supporter and introduced me to Manager Tools in 2007. He held 1:1's, provided regular feedback, coaching and encouraged me to grow by delegating tasks and assignments. This all helped me be ready to replace him when he took another assignment. I've been doing the same ever since. Though I've not yet been to one of your conferences, my top direct, attended in Toronto. She had nothing by great things to say about her experience with you.