Category Archives: General

Goodbye, Irma

I want to thank everyone for the warm wishes during the hurricane. We missed a bullet over here on the east coast of Florida. Got pounded for 18 hours, but most winds stayed under 90mph. We lost power Sunday morning around 8a, probably won’t get it back for a week or so. Funny, I can’t brew a cup of coffee, but I can send a post to all my friends around the world.

I am afraid those on the other side of the state were not so lucky. Lots of other folks in desperate need, more than me.

Lots of re-building to do. Here’s a link to donate to the Red Cross. You can designate where you want your donation to go.

For those of you in Houston, we will see you Thursday, flying into IAH. -Tom

To All, A Good Night

Done. The work is done. Time to start my Christmas shopping. Planning to take a short break, see you back here on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

I first published this holiday message in 2005, based on a short afternoon meeting on Christmas eve.

As Matthew looked across the manufacturing floor, the machines stood silent, the shipping dock was clear. Outside, the service vans were neatly parked in a row. Though he was the solitary figure, Matthew shouted across the empty space.

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night.”

He reached for the switch and the mercury vapors went dark. He slid out the door and locked it behind.

Seven Years Done

In November, 2004, we talked about starting this blog. Here we are, seven years later. This is post #1,580. Much has changed, we have weathered a recession, published through Hurricane Wilma. Sometimes people ask, what it takes to keep something like this going.

In the end. This conversation, like most conversations, is with myself, there just happens to be other people in the room. Thank you, for being in the room.

Off to Washington DC, working with three Vistage groups on my favorite subject, the research of Elliott Jaques.

Tomorrow, we roll into our eighth year of publishing. Today, I think I will have a beer.
-Tom Foster

Beer Here

Just a quick note for Thanksgiving (here in the US). I am settled in just outside Austin TX, waiting for an important football game on Thursday (Univ of TX vs TX A and M).

A pause to give thanks, a special thanks to all the readers of Management Blog. We have just completed six full years of publishing. I think I will have a beer. Happy Thanksgiving.

See you all next Monday, Nov 29. -TF

Change the Way You Think

This past week, Management Skills Blog has focused on Delegation Skills. The most powerful leveraged activity, for a manager, is delegation.

Our next Subject Area in Working Leadership Online is Delegation, Leveraging Time Span Capability. There are many reasons managers don’t delegate more effectively. Most are self-imposed limitations created by a poor experience, a parental mindset (if you want it done right, you have to do it yourself), or the fact that most managers don’t have a consistent effective method of delegation and follow-up.

In Delegation, Leveraging Time Span Capability, we will blow those excuses to the wind and introduce a highly effective delegation model. This Subject Area kicks off on May 3, 2010 and lasts for 3 weeks. We are opening 50 Introductory Memberships (free). You can reserve yours now, at the following link, Working Leadership Online Introductory Membership.

Why Are We Doing This?
We know the more participants in the program, the more diverse the feedback will be and the richer the learning environment.

Don’t Miss the Next Subject Area
Delegation, Leveraging Time Span Capability. This powerful model creates new habits, structures accountability and changes the way you think about using delegation.

What Else Do We Know?

  • Our participants have a day job, as a manager.
  • Our participants are really busy.
  • Our participants want to be more effective, now.

This is Real
Working Leadership Online is practical. There are no quizzes or tests. There is no make-work. This is not extra work. The Field Work is real.

At Your Pace
Participants login on their schedule.

Unforgettable
The problem with most training programs is, they stop. After a few classes, it’s over, good luck. Working Leadership Online goes year-round. It changes the way you think about your role as a manager.

How This Works
We reserved a limited number of Introductory Memberships for our friends and family. The only way to guarantee your spot is to follow the link below.

Working Leadership Online Introductory Membership

Here’s Some Feedback
This program is anti-matter to today’s barrage of costly management solutions. The program covered a great deal of critical leadership material that managers can immediately benefit from. -Cathy Darby

Some people live online and I’m not one of them. I’d much rather be in a human presence. Having said that, after Tom’s first response he won me over. His honesty and feedback is invaluable. -Jane Hein

There’s a lot of valuable information in this course that isn’t easily available elsewhere, and the coaching from Tom in addition to accountability for actually carrying out the assignments makes for a solid learning experience. Keep up the good work. The online format makes the course accessible, and makes it easy to put into practice directly in a work environment. -Erik LaBianca

Right Now
Why not take the time, right now, to reserve your Introductory Membership.

Working Leadership Online Introductory Membership

2010 Subject Area Schedule
January 11 – Planning – Your 2010 Business Plan – COMPLETE
February 1 – Goal Setting – The Essence of Time Span – COMPLETE
February 22 – Decision Making – Time Span of Discretion – COMPLETE
March 15 – Managing Time – Managing Yourself – COMPLETE
April 12 – Communication – Mineral Rights Conversation
May 3 – Delegation – Leveraging Time Span Capability
June 1 – Control Systems and Feedback Loops
July 5 -Time Span Inside a Team – Team Problem Solving
August 2 – Coaching – Bringing Value as a Manager
August 30 – Fall Break
September 7 – Coaching Underperformance – Time Span and the Employment Contract
October 4 – Managerial Authorities – Time Span and Accountability
November 1 – Time Span and the Personal Effectiveness Appraisal
November 29 – Bringing Out the Best In People
December 20 – Winter Break

2011 Subject Area Schedule
January 3 – Planning – Your 2011 Business Plan
January 31 – Goal Setting – The Essence of Time Span
February 28 – Decision Making – Time Span of Discretion
March 28 – Spring Break
April 4 – Managing Time – Managing Yourself
May 2 – Communication – Mineral Rights Conversation
June 1 – Delegation – Leveraging Time Span Capability
June 27 – Summer Break
July 5 – Control Systems and Feedback Loops
August 1 – Time Span Inside a Team – Team Problem Solving
September 6 – Coaching – Bringing Value as a Manager
October 3 – Coaching Underperformance – Time Span and the Employment Contract
October 31 – Time Span and the Personal Effectiveness Appraisal
November 28 – Bringing Out the Best in People

Follow this link to get reserve your Introductory Membership. Hope to see you online.

Working Leadership Online Introductory Membership

In Memorium, Francis X. Maguire

Many of our readers are attached one way or another to an organization called Vistage (formerly TEC). Every month, the members of each group around the world gather together to listen. They are visited by a resource speaker, who has a story to tell about management, about building a company.

Frank Maguire was on his way to tell his story, one last time. He died with his boots on.

Bud Carter, a Chair in Atlanta, in an email last night, described Frank, “a unique man whose professional life began as a late night disc-jockey in New York City, led him to serve in the Kennedy White House, work for the ABC network (hiring Ted Koppel), to be on the ground floor side-by-side with Fred Smith during the Fed Ex start-up, and there with Colonel Sanders when he sold.”

We will miss him on the circuit. Rest in Peace, Francis X. Maguire.

Not a Matter of Talking

When I get a phone call for help, before a word is spoken, I can lay money on one of three reasons.

  1. Someone needs help with Time Management.
  2. Someone has a personality conflict with someone else.
  3. There has been a breakdown in communication that needs fixing.

And that’s how my day begins.

We experience breakdowns in communication for a whole host of reasons.

  • Difference in gender.
  • Difference in experience.
  • Difference in agenda.
  • Difference in education.
  • Difference in priorities.
  • Difference in culture.
  • Difference in values.
  • Difference in (you fill in the blank).

I don’t know if you detect a common theme.

The problem is NOT a breakdown in communication. That is only the symptom, the smokescreen that ignores the difference between two people.

To solve this problem, most people conduct a communications intervention, to examine the methods of communication to see where the problem is.

Methods of Communication

  • Speaking
  • Writing
  • Reading

You will never resolve a breakdown in communication using any of these methods, because the problem is not communication. The problem is the difference between people. This difference can only be resolved by the communication method we seldom think about, seldom practice. Only resolved by listening.

Not a Lot of Listening

“The biggest difficulty we have,” Susan insisted, “is communication.”

I nodded. “How so?”

“Well, sometimes it seems we are not even on the same team. I give instructions, I hold meetings, but when somebody has to coordinate with someone else, it always seems like the ball gets dropped.”

“What do you think the problem is?” I asked.

“It seems that there is an awful lot of talking going on, but not a lot of listening.”

“And that surprises you?” I smiled.

“No. But, as the manager, I expect my team to listen when I talk.” Susan shook her head from side to side, impatiently.

“Oh, so this is your team’s fault?”

Susan was no dummy. She sensed I was setting her up. “Well, okay, I know I am 50 percent to blame,” she relented.

“And what would you do differently, if I told you that you were 100 percent responsible. For your team’s complete understanding, you, as the manager, are 100 percent responsible for the success of the communication. What would you do differently?”

Managing Time, Managing Yourself

Next Monday, we kick off our next Subject Area in Working Leadership Online, Managing Time, Managing Yourself.. Based on David Allen’s Getting Things Done, we will explore ten Time Management Disciplines. You select the one or two that work the best for you.

Working Leadership Online is growing. For our Friends and Family, we are holding fifty slots available for our Free Introductory Membership (and 22 are already filled). If you would like to secure one of these slots, just follow this link.

Working Leadership Online Free Trial

Here is what we know about our community.

  1. Our participants have a day job, as a manager.
  2. Our participants are really busy.
  3. Our participants want to be more effective, now.

This is Real
Working Leadership Online is practical. There are no quizzes or tests. There is no make-work. This is not extra work. The Field Work is real.

At Your Pace
Participants login on their schedule.

Unforgettable
The problem with most training programs is they stop. After a few classes, it’s over, good luck. Working Leadership Online goes year-round. It changes the way you think about your role as a manager.

How This Works
Your first Subject Area is on us. Then you decide. We are holding the next 50 slots. Word is already on the street, so we expect to close this offer in the next few days.

Here’s Some Feedback

This program is anti-matter to today’s barage of costly management solutions. The program covered a great deal of critical leadership material that managers can immediately benefit from. -Cathy Darby

Some people live online and I’m not one of them. I’d much rather be in a human presence. Having said that, after Tom’s first response he won me over. His honesty and feedback is invaluable. -Jane Hein

There’s a lot of valuable information in this course that isn’t easily available elsewhere, and the coaching from Tom in addition to accountability for actually carrying out the assignments makes for a solid learning experience. Keep up the good work. The online format makes the course accessible, and makes it easy to put into practice directly in a work environment. -Erik LaBianca

www.workingleadership.com

Here is the schedule for the coming year.

2010 Subject Area Schedule (Total 15 Subject Areas in 2010)

  • Jan 11 – Planning – Your 2010 Business Plan – COMPLETED
  • Feb 1 – Goal Setting – The Essence of Time Span – COMPLETED
  • Feb 22 – Decision Making – Time Span of Discretion – COMPLETED
  • Mar 15 – Managing Time – Managing Yourself
  • Apr 5 – Spring Break
  • Apr 12 – Communication – Mineral Rights Conversation
  • May 3 – Delegation – Leveraging Time Span Capability
  • May 24 – Control Systems and Feedback Loops
  • Jun 14 – Team Problem Solving – Time Span Inside a Team
  • Jul 5 – Summer Break
  • Jul 12 – Coaching – Bringing Value as a Manager
  • Aug 2 – Coaching Underperformance – Time Span and the Employment Contract
  • Aug 23 – Coaching High Performance – Time Span and Maximum Capability
  • Sep 13 – Fall Break
  • Sep 20 – Managerial Authorities – Time Span and Accountability
  • Oct 11 – Managerial Authorities – Time Span and Hiring Talent
  • Nov 1- Time Span and Effectiveness
  • Nov 22 – Break (Thanksgiving USA)
  • Nov 29 – Bringing Out the Best In People
  • Dec 20-Jan 9, 2011 Winter Break

Reserve your spot today – Working Leadership Free Trial

It’s Not Location, Location

This continues my conversation with Jaynie Smith, author of Creating Competitive Advantage.

Tom:
As companies expand their product and service offerings to fill holes in the market, created by retreating competitors, or even retreating suppliers, what should companies consider now to update their expanded strategies?

Jaynie:
A company should focus its resource allocation, future strategies and internal accountabilities on what the customer thinks is most important. A commercial real estate client of ours has 200 buildings in which they lease office space. Research showed tenants seeking office space overwhelmingly wanted “security” above all else. My real estate client was floored… This means, maybe they take a few bucks from, say landscaping, and add it to the security systems budget. Research often catches companies off-balance when their previously held belief is turned upside down. This real estate client was certain that the number one attribute valued by their clients was “location, location, location”….it was important, but not, first, second or third. It came in fourth. Times they are a-changing.

The conversation continues the rest of this week. You can find Jaynie’s book Creating Competitive Advantage at Amazon.com.