Monday, May 11, 2015

Management Self-Awareness



How are we managers to respond to such a damn damning statement?

I recently developed a "Supervisor 101 Workshop" with two colleagues. The impetus was the history of chronically poor supervision at my organization.  So many don't even know the basics.  "101." And frankly I was tired of receiving complainants into my office either for an exit interview providing me yet more evidence of what I knew or the visit was to inform me about the misdeeds and unfair practices of their supervisor. 

I've done two sessions thus far and each time, when I listen to myself, I get a uneasy, yet valid conviction, that my 101 skills are not hardwired in me as a, by now, life-long "manager."  

It wouldn't hurt if ALL managers would take this Deming quote to heart, take a few heaping spoonfuls of humility, and look for the ways we make problems for our organizations and our team members.  

There will be a natural reaction to Deming's indictment by most self-respecting managers:  "I'm one of the 15%."

Sorry Charlie.  Odds are you aren't.  

 Thank you Michael Wade.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Taking Your Work Home With You


Organizations underestimate the damage done, both at work and in the home lives of employees, by an abusive boss.

Michael Wade, The Execupundit

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Welcome Mistakes. No, Really. Welcome!

For those that really think, they know that mistakes are a gold mine. Or can be. Or should be. But most don't know because most people and organizations operate from a model that, whether in theory or practice, mistakes are unacceptable. Successful people work here, we expect success.  We strive for success. Blada, blada, blada. I'm not merely O.K.  You're not merely O.K.  I'm a winner, your're a winner.  We're all winners here.

Classic "hamburger management" as the great, but now obscure (by choice), Adrian Savage*, would call it.  Macho, macho, men.  We want to be macho men.

So many "C Students" remain at the helms of business and industry and failure is not an option on a daily basis in their cultures.  They just don't know that failure can be a gold mine. Maybe because they would have to admit one or two of their own on their way to the top, and that's not how it works.

All this to say -  Listen to this and watch the TED Talk and tell your friends and suggest that they share it some way, some how, with the many many neanderthals out there still infecting business, government, non-profits, small and large, all in "leadership" positions.

Is Conflict Good For Progress?  




* Good luck finding his masterpiece, Slow Leadership.  I queried him personally about finding a copy, and he had no interest in ever reprinting it.  Pricey.  Supply and demand.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


This fella was our CEO and this was part of a New Manager Orientation.  Trust me, he had no friends.  He said that if his mother wasn't performing he would sit across the table and have to fire her.  At the first management meeting he presided over he told everyone to look to their right and then look to their left.  Then said, "See these people?  50% of you won't be here in a year."  

Leadership! 

Mr. Snell is still out there somewhere in New England I've heard.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

True Dat

Bureaucracy: One too Many Cooks In the Kitchen. One major challenge with the bureaucratic organization is the massive tier of managers with the power to intervene in the activities of those below them, even when these ‘subordinates’ act outside the manager’s area of expertise. Unfortunately, all too often these managers lack the necessary trust and good sense to leave well enough alone. I wholeheartedly agree that the post-bureaucratic organization will feature empowered employees, guided mainly by a set of shared goals. Oddly enough, I’m going to suggest another process to address this – think of it as reverse bureaucracy. A process by which senior managers have to build a business case to justify intervention with subordinates outside their normal jurisdiction would be very helpful.

Colin Loney

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

"Greatness" by David Marquet



The video and talk speak for itself.  To transform operations through a new kind of leadership on a Navy submarine when almost EVERYTHING in the "regulations" and "culture" of the Navy dictate the opposite is truly astounding.

People should do some looking into this fella, David Marquet.  I will.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Crux of a Problem

If you want to enjoy what you do and feel that the world is, in some small way, a better place because of your efforts, you need to take your time.  Sure, you can breeze through being a leader, substituting formulaic actions for true expertise and understanding.  But why would you want to do that?  If you have no time to pay attention beyond that required to set financial targets and hound people to match or exceed them, can you truly call yourself a leader?

There's the crux of the problem:  if outcome is all that matters, especially if it needs to be produced as cheaply as possible, there's no rationale for treating people well.  It costs money and interferes with getting the most out of them in the shortest time.  We rightly despise tyrants and criminals who exploit and enslave people for their own ends, but are there methods so different from corporations that cut costs by forcing people to work longer and longer hours for the same pay?  Or those that renege on pension rights to boost short-term profits?  Or those that outsource manufacturing to Far Eastern sweatshops?  Even though sweatshops are common, they are so widely recognized as wrong that companies employing them go to great lengths trouble to deny or distance themselves from their operations.

From Slow Leadershipby Adrian Savage, 2006.

Good luck ever getting a copy. Emailed the author and he has no plans to reprint.  Appeared to have no interest either.  Too bad for the world.

I can work with you if you let me know.