Wednesday, August 29, 2007

15 Rules for Managers

  1. Accept Responsibility - You are the person responsible and accountable for your staffs productivity, actions and behaviour.
  2. Manage Systems and not personalities - People come and go, systems don't. It's always better to blame the system and then fix it than to blame the person. After all you responsible for the system and you are likely the person that approved their hire in the first place - see rule 1.
  3. Acknowledge the Differences - Everyone does not think the same way you do. Understanding human behaviour is very important and something that, for most of us, is a lifelong practice.
  4. Delegate - Hand over the technical/tactical work and teach them how YOU do it. Set quantifiable objectives and make staff accountable to them and, most importantly, give them the opportunity to come up with a better way to do it.
  5. Innovate - Seek better ways to do it. Innovative companies listen to their customers and their staff and then change to meet their needs.
  6. Hire the best - the right person the first time. Seek out hiring best practices and interview with technical and behavioural questioning. Always, always call at least 2 professional references. The cost of replacing a staff member is at least 1.5 times the incumbents annual salary.
  7. Communicate Effectively - Don't assume they understand as some will require different learning methods and/or require repetition. Tell your staff what your vision and objectives are and set standards - "How we do it here". Include your staff in the decision making and planning process.
  8. Document Systems and processes - This will ensure everyone understands exactly what is expected of them, clears away ambiguity, introduces accountability and reduces the cost and time to train.
  9. Listen - Look at them directly in the eye and let them finish before you speak. The closer your staff is to the customer the closer you need to listen. If your staff is not close to the customer then have them and yourself take front line jobs for at least a day every year. It's amazing how customer service or quality is re-prioritized when the customer is yelling at you!
  10. Gather Feedback from customers (internal and external) - It's a lot like listening except you are formally asking to listen. Make it a part of your productivity reviews.
  11. Review Productivity and Performance - All staff at least semi annually - Use quantifiable criteria and objectives. Set individual goals. Ask staff to rate your performance.
  12. Leverage Information Technology wherever possible - Shared client/contact records with documented communications ensures consistency and efficiency. IT should reduce or remove manual intervention and return value to internal and external customers. The data can be leveraged for more effective marketing and sales.
  13. Provide Motivation & Praise - Reward the achievement of groups or individuals when they meet or exceeded objectives - Share group successes. Praise in public and reprimand in private - There are exceptions in cases of gross negligence or where violations of corporate policy are concerned. For example: Threat of injury or violence, harassment, racism etc...
  14. Provide Inspiration - Set the standards and live by them - (do unto others) Create standards for general behaviour, customer service, quality, etc... !
  15. Ask Questions! - Answers will change over time but the questions will always be the same. "Can we do this?", "How many will you need this year?", "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?", "When is the best time to contact you?", "How are we doing?", "How can we do this better?", "Will we still be able to meet this deadline?", etc...
Dave Soteros is President of Alrym Consulting Services.
Alrym is in the business of removing the boundaries that keep business owners and managers from getting what they want.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Every Man's Guide to Incredible Wealth!

Do you have to be a great salesperson to be one of the wealthiest people on earth?
There are many, many consultants touting many different flavors of sales tools and techniques to help you to create incredible wealth. They would all like you to believe that by learning their method you will achieve it. If it were only that simple.
Unfortunately sales it is only one component or one hat you'd have to wear.

Let's talk about the wealthiest 2 people on earth.
I certainly wouldn't be buying a "how to" sales book from either of the two wealthiest people on earth, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
I'd be very surprised if any of you reading this even knew the title of a Bill Gates book let alone read one. In fact, of the top 20 wealthiest people, only 8 started out as salesmen. So if it's not pure sales ability, what is it that propels someone to these financial heights?
The answer in every case is the business or businesses that these people created or inherited.
Their businesses generated this personal wealth.
Thus to generate incredible wealth we need to create a business or businesses that are big. Not only big in financial returns but big in numbers of employees and numbers of customers and typically a global presence. They have leveraged the capabilities of many to generate exponential returns.
Let's take Mr. Gates as an example.
He started Microsoft with his partner Paul Allen just at the time the biggest computer maker, IBM, was building a personal computer. By convincing IBM to sell their operating system, DOS, they were able to leverage IBM's brand name, worldwide presence and marketing. It is also arguable that Bill acquired the idea and the know how for his operating system from a pioneer of the computer industry, Gary Kildall of Digital Research. Gary believed that the company that owned the operating system would also control the computer industry. That statement turned out to be prophetic. Gary Kildall created an operating system called CP/M that was designed to be a disk operating system which Bill Gates leveraged to create his operating system called DOS - Disk Operating System.
IBM created a personal computer and it became very popular and along with those IBM PC's came Microsoft DOS.

What does this all mean?
It means that you may need sales skills but it is only a part of what you need if you want to accumulate great wealth.
Bill and Warren wanted to create something bigger than themselves. They had a vision (a mission). Their vision included many people and many companies and vast resources. They both leveraged outside knowledge and resources to achieve their vision and because they had a vision they were able to recognize an opportunity worth pursuing. If both Bill and Warren had spent the time it took to master all of the roles of each person they employed or partnered with I wouldn't be talking about them I'd be be forced to write about the #3 and #4 on the wealthiest list, Carlos Slim Helu and Ingvar Kamprad. You can technically master a tactical task, like sales, but-

If you what to generate incredible wealth you will need to learn how to manage and lead.
Bill and Warren must both be great communicators with compelling visions (the leader) and very good at organizing and delegating (the manager).

Leadership and Management skills are what make the difference.
Master these skills and you will be able to leverage 10, 100, 10000 or more skills to your advantage.

One question that sometimes comes up with clients in my executive coaching and business consulting practice is a concern over value returned to employees and partners. Some business leaders and managers wonder why others work for them and with them, and are afraid that they will leave. I always respond that it is easier to follow than to lead and as long as you have a compelling vision people will want to follow. They will follow you and likely do extraordinary things as long as your vision coincides with theirs.

The vision must be bold and compelling.
If it is, people will give you money or work off the clock just for the pleasure of participating with you.

Maximize your leadership potential.

Dave Soteros is President of Alrym Consulting Services.