Category

management

#1 Reason Why 360º Reviews are a Menace to Managers

Network hierarchy diagram.

360º review systems are often dissed by everyone except the people administering them. They’re so-called because they allow everyone in the organization around you — manager, boss’s boss, peers, subordinates and maybe even subordinates’ subordinates — to rate your performance.

And that’s the problem:

360º reviews get people to think of things you don’t do well, often for the first…

Why Time Span of Discretion Works

calendar page

Timespan of Discretion is the biggest point of complaint that the old folks in the Glacier Metal related work (Requisite Organization, Stratified Systems Theory, Career Path Appreciation, work levels or worklevels, etc.). If you’re new, you may be scratching your head about this Time Span of Discretion.

Elliott Jaques claimed to have discovered that you could determine the complexity of a…

What Is Real Executive Work? (That Executives Aren’t Doing)

Cup of Tea. By Mary Cassatt,1879-1880

I got some strong comments regarding my post that executives are boobs. I probably should have said “worthless drags on shareholder value who ought to be golden parachuted into a live volcano that resembles the eternal hell they deserve for being lazy good-for-nothings.” But let’s not quibble.

Let’s instead deal with what real executive work looks like. And, yes, I’ve seen it. I even consult…

Engineer-speak vs. Marketing-speak: Talking to engineers successfully

Young worker at the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad 40th street shops, 1942.

I’ve been reading the fascinating You’re In Charge — Now What?: The 8 point plan by Thomas J. Neff and James M. Citrin. It’s mostly about how incoming CEOs can handle the first 100 days. What got me hooked is that the process they describe in their first chapter is pretty much the one that I’m writing up about Jos Wintermans at Canadian Tire and Acceptance, Ltd. If you are starting a new managerial job, above Level 3 especially, I’d recommend taking a look at their points. They fluff some elements that require more rigorous thinking, but it is correct in its essentials.

The passage that struck me today is a short one about how a marketing guy, Jeff Killeen, handled the culture shock of starting as CEO at GlobalSpec. GlobalSpec is an engineering-focused company, and here he talks about the struggles he had both in developing a relationship with technical genius & founder, John Schneiter, and the engineers of the company. If you work with engineers or developers, this is relevant.

Get or Keep that Job You’re Over-Qualified For

Lighthouse at night, (c) 2009 Martin Belam. Via flickr. (CC BY SA 2.0)

Let’s take another gander at how a hidden high potential can either get or stay in a that low-level job. It’s counter to prevailing advice you get, so you may want to pay attention.

Before I start, I have to emphasize that I’m only talking about Hidden High Potentials (HHPs) and not Normal People. Normals give HHPs advice which is lousy because it’s the advice that works for them (other…

Why Managers Should Not Write Technical Job Postings

Yardmaster in railroad yards working, Amarillo, TX, 1943. By Jack Delano via Library of Congress Collection (LOC)

A friend of mine encouraged me to tell this story which I watched unfold first hand while a software development manager for a mid-sized consulting firm. One of my best developers — a software architect, really — started laughing in the middle of the day. We all needed something to release the strain of our bi-weekly drop work, so all us meerkats gathered around his desk.

“Look at…

Being Happy Makes You Less Productive. Sometimes.

Suck My Kiss by Jan Tik. CC BY 2.0

Happy workers are better workers, right? Nope. At least not all the time. And maybe not even most of the time. Find out why. [Full Post]

When Your Boss Is Undermining You

Typists. By Lewis W. Hine (1874-1940). ca. 1915. George Eastman House Collection.

Tom Foster has a post recently about what to do when your manager starts to give your management tasks to a coworker, all the time saying that you are still the boss.

I’ve had this happen and I wish that I had known this bit of advice back then. It wouldn’t have helped any — but I would have perhaps resolved things earlier. It also complements some things I’ve been telling my privat…

Jack Fallow on Managerial Authority

At rehearsal of Oliver Twist (Broadway, ca 1912). Bain News Service via Library of Congress.

I’m working through an interview I did with Jack Fallow awhile back. Really it’s me getting Jack talking and having the good sense (mostly) to shut up. When I do say something I sound like a complete doofus. Really. More or less I just wanted to hear more. “What do you mean by that?” and “Can you tell me more about that?” are great probing interview questions to hear stories.

Jack was talking…

Mine Your Ranks to Find Gold: Finding Untapped Potential in Your Company with SST

Judy Hobrough, BIOSS, on how Stratified Systems Theory helps CEOs

Judy Hobrough of BIOSS went into an organization and mapped the current capability of people with what their current roles were. She found something that surprised the CEO: there was a gold mine in their ranks!

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