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.

1 comment:

Milind said...

You know as well as anyone that your rules are easier said than done! :-) Most people struggle with the "how" aspect of these points you mention, specific to their situation. Its an exercise in abstraction really - to prune details until one arrives at the crux of the issue at hand.

That said, knowing where the responsibility lies is truly one of the best things to know!

I look forward to more content from you...