“What’s new?” I asked.
“Just waiting for my ship to come in,” explained Raphael.
“How long have you been waiting?”
“How do you know your ship will, indeed, come in?”
Raphael looked puzzled.
“Did you send any out?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” Raphael replied.
“For your ship to come in, first, you have to send some out.”
From the Ask Tom mailbag –
When you described culture as a Key Result Area, you said the manager should be an effective model for behaviors that support the company’s culture. I am looking at our company’s mission, vision, values and it’s not really clear what those behaviors are.
The reason it’s not clear is that most mission, vision, values placards are not user friendly. There is no clarity because the company (the CEO, executive managers, managers and supervisors) have not made it clear. If you want clear behaviors, you have to define them.
For example, if teamwork is an agreed-upon value. “Our company values teamwork in its approach to problem solving and decision making.” What are the behaviors connected with teamwork? Spell it out.
Our company values teamwork in its approach to problem solving and decision making. Given a problem to solve, each team member, using their full commitment and capability is required to give their supervisor or manager “best advice.” Given a problem to solve, each manager or supervisor is required to collect facts about the problem by listening to “best advice” from their team. Only after thorough discussion and consideration of the data, contributing factors, circumstances and alternatives, will the manager or supervisor make the decision about the course of action to solve the problem. Our company acknowledges that this may be cumbersome and slow down the problem solving process AND it acknowledges that this process will be a learning tool for each team member in problem solving. In the short term, this process may slow things down AND in the long run, this process will prepare each team member to solve more complicated problems. This is not a suggestion, this is a requirement. -Tom
You may recognize “best advice” from Nick Forrest in How Dare You Manage?
From the Ask Tom mailbag –
I hear you say that management is about setting context. I think I understand what that means, but I do NOT understand how to do it.
Culture is context. Setting context is the prime objective for every manager. Context is the environment in which work is done. Work is making decisions and solving problems. This is fundamental managerial work. Three moving parts –
- Communicate the Vision. This is the future picture of a project, picture of a product in a package, the output from a service. This is what a clean carpet looks like.
- Performance Standard. This is the what, by when. This is the objective in measurable terms. This is the goal – QQTR, quantity, quality, time (deadline or evaluation period), resources. The vision is full of excitement and enthusiasm, specifically defined by the performance standard.
- Constraints. There are always constraints and guidelines. Budget is a constraint, access to resources is a constraint, time can be a constraint. These are the lines on the field. Safety issues are always a constraint. When the project is finished, you should go home with all your fingers and toes.
That’s it, then let the team loose to solve the problems and make the decisions within the context. Do not make this more complicated. It’s always about the fundamentals. -Tom
Here is an interesting question posed over this holiday weekend.
How does a CEO gauge effectiveness in the role of CEO? Not conducting a 360 review for other’s perception, but how does the CEO track and consider those elements of CEO effectiveness?
Jack Daly describes the three most important pieces of the CEO role.
- Set the vision.
- Put key people in key roles.
- Build the appropriate culture to support the organization.
In some ways, gauging effectiveness may be in the selection of what the CEO should NOT be doing. Your thoughts?