Joe and Wanda on Management

Joe Kerr and Wanda B. Goode, two characters from Nick McCormick’s book, “Lead Well and Prosper,” dispense their management wisdom

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Category: Open Door Policy

Managers Accessibility

21 December, 2010 (22:07) | Communication, Leadership, Management, Open Door Policy | By: Administrator

In the book, The Orange Revolution: How One Great Team Can Transform an Entire Organization, coauthors Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton bring up the topic of manager accessibility…

When managers and team members aren’t accessible, team members feel like islands unto themselves. This leaves room for hidden information, lost productivity, incorrect outcomes, and disengaged team members… Similar to the parent that has no time for his children or significant other, a lack of accessibility sends a set of negative messages to the people at work that we need the most: that they aren’t important to us or the team, that their peers are more important than they are, and that their ideas, questions, and concerns aren’t relevant.

Thoughts, Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Are you kidding me? My boss is a thousand miles away from me. Every time she swoops into town, she gives me more work. The less I see of her the better.

Wanda B. Goode: As much as some people claim that they don’t need face time with their managers, I believe most would like more than they currently get. People like to feel appreciated, and one way managers can show appreciation is to give team members their time and attention. It can be difficult with distributed teams and limited travel budgets, but regular one-on-one meetings via conference call can be a very effective alternative to in-person discussions.

A couple of related posts:

How to Become an Accessible Manager
Be More Accessible in 3 Easy Steps

Management crisis

10 November, 2007 (22:07) | Leadership, Management, Meetings, Open Door Policy, Productivity, Workplace Dynamics | By: Administrator

Scott Adams sums up what he calls the “Dilbert Principle” as follows – “A retarded chimpanzee can drink a case of beer and still perform most management functions: avoiding decisions, attending meetings, babbling, demanding status reports, not reading status reports, handing out random rewards and punishments, scowling at people who believe the open door policy.”

Thoughts?

Joe Kerr: Can I get back to you on that. I’m busy working on a fantasy football trade. By the way, show me a monkey that can do that wise guy! Actually, if you do happen to find one, and he has a quarterback that I can use this weekend, have him give me a call.

Wanda B. Goode: Unfortunately, Scott Adams is spot on. Managing people is not easy, but that is no excuse. We all need commit to improving. A recent Gallup study of American workers reflects that only 29% of them are actively engaged, meaning they work with passion, drive innovation, and help move their organizations forward. 15% are actively disengaged, spending their time undermining the good work of others, while the remainder sleep walk through their work day, just putting in time. Check out David Zinger’s post on a similar study done by Towers Perrin on worldwide worker engagement.

We can’t afford numbers like this. At a time when global competition is increasing and pressure on wages is fierce, we need active participation from most of our employees if we are to survive, let alone thrive.

Worker engagement is a direct reflection on management. A return to the fundamentals is required to help stem the tide. I don’t mean to boast, but I’m one of the stars in a book called Lead Well and Prosper which will help. Pick up a copy today and start doing your part.

Open Door Policy

17 April, 2007 (16:42) | Communication, Management, Open Door Policy | By: Administrator

Many organizations have open door policies. The idea is that any employee can talk to any manager at any level about any issue at any time. Let’s see what Joe and Wanda have to say about their experiences with the open door policy at their company.

Joe Kerr: The words “open door” make me cringe. One time a clown in my group went to the division vice president complaining about some nonsense. My manager jumped all over me, because his manager jumped on him, etc.

Frankly, when any one mentions an open door policy to me, I tell them that they should feel comfortable coming to me about anything. I conveniently leave out the part about upper management. Why create problems for myself?

Wanda B. Goode: A true open door policy has no restrictions. The way I see it, if someone on the team is not comfortable coming to me to solve a problem, it’s very likely that it’s a failure on my part. Either the person doesn’t trust me, or s/he doesn’t think I can do anything to help.

The most important thing is for the problem to get addressed and resolved. The employee should go wherever necessary in order to do so. It’s as simple as that. Upper management should not overreact and beat down their managers either. Again, the important thing is to solve the problem. These situations should be looked at as learning opportunities – chances to improve.

I’ve heard some say that a true open door policy leads to dysfunction in an organization, because when people leap frog their immediate manager they promote a culture in which problems are not resolved where, and by whom they should be – by those closest to them. I couldn’t disagree more. If employees are more comfortable going to upper management to solve problems it’s a symptom of a much larger problem – that is, a lack of trust. In other words, the organization is already dysfunctional. Putting restrictions on the open door policy will only make it more so.