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

Entries Comments

Category: Strategy/Goals

Are You a Manager or a Host?

24 February, 2013 (17:53) | Leadership, Management, Productivity, Strategy/Goals | By: Administrator

I’m not a bit fan of the “reality-based” shows that litter the television programming landscape these days, but recently I stumbled upon a show from which I was able to glean some value.

The show is called, “Bar Rescue.” Each episode, expert bar consultant Jon Taffer, helps revitalize an underperforming bar. In the episode that I watched, Jon asks the manager of the bar, “Are you a good manager?” Naturally, the manager answers, “Yes, I surely am.” Jon then asks the manager a series of fundamental questions about the performance of the business, and the manager is not able to answer any of them.

Jon then loudly proclaims, “You’re not a manager, you’re a host.” Followed by, “You are a failure.” Naturally this doesn’t go over too well with the manager, but in the end, the manager comes to realize that he has abdicated the core of his responsibilities and he accepts and embraces Jon’s tutelage.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I’m not a manager or a host. Rather, I’m a leader. As a leader, I do wear many hats, to include my manager hat, and yes, even my host hat. Further, no hot-shot consultant knows my business better than I do.

Wanda B. Goode: One of the questions I’ve been asked by my manager in the past is, “Is your team better this year than they were last year?” After answering with the obligatory, “Yes,” I got hit with the follow-up, “How do you know?”

If you don’t have performance measures (and yes, every team can have performance measures), how can you prove you are better?

Here are a couple of related posts

The Importance of Metrics
How to Measure Team Success
Measuring What’s Important as a Manager
Your Team’s Success Begins with Good Goal Setting

Vision and Strategy

18 November, 2012 (16:06) | Leadership, Management, Strategy/Goals | By: Administrator

In their book, Playing to Win, Authors A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin relay how many leaders approach strategy ineffectively. One common mistake is to define strategy as a vision without backing up that vision…

“They offer no guide to productive action and no explicit road map to the desired future. They don’t include choices about what businesses to be in and not to be in. There’s no focus on sustainable competitive advantage or the building blocks of value creation.”

Sound familiar Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: We haven’t talked strategy in a while, so this is a good opportunity to remind the masses that I said, “Get ‘er done” long before that flannel shirted Cable Guy, and I’ve been winning ever since.

Wanda B. Goode: Vision and Mission statements are starting points, I agree with the authors that there is much more to it than that. I also like their short definition of strategy – Strategy is choice – choosing to do some things and not others. Again, these are just the words, and the words are the easy part.

Here are a couple of related posts

The Golden Thread: Linking Strategy to Execution
Ram Charan on Linking Strategy to Execution

Goal Creation vs. Implementation

18 April, 2011 (22:08) | Leadership, Management, Strategy/Goals | By: Administrator

In his new book, Hard Goals, Mark Murphy talks about the importance of setting the right goals – goals that are “good enough.” He believes that the goal itself is much more important than the implementation, because if the goal is really good, the implementation will take care of itself. For example, if he had a goal to eat more chocolate cake, the implementation wouldn’t be much of a problem.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: It appears a few people in my group have that very goal, and they are succeeding tremendously.

Wanda B. Goode: I guess the reason some emphasize implementation is because so many leaders have had seemingly wonderful strategies and goals, but they frequently just die on a vine. Murphy would probably argue that either they weren’t really good goals after all, or that they may have been good goals, but others were not convinced they were.

That’s the challenge I suppose. How do we make goals more compelling to those required to accomplish them? The cake goal is all about short-term gratification. It is more difficult to create goals that can generate sustained enthusiasm. It can be done though, and Mark gives some tips for doing so in his book.

Here’s a related post…
Strategy IS Execution: Don’t Shoot Yourself in the Foot

Are Your Goals HARD?

11 April, 2011 (21:05) | Leadership, Management, Personal Development, Podcast - Management Tips, Strategy/Goals | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

Forget SMART goals. Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ, explains how to set HARD goals. Listen to this Management Tips Podcast to find out more.

icon for podpress  Mark Murphy's Management Tip [12:48m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Dell on Transformation

11 January, 2011 (22:40) | Leadership, Management, Strategy/Goals | By: Administrator

A couple of weeks ago the Philadelphia Inquirer printed an AP story where Michael Dell was interviewed about his company’s shifting strategy. He said the following about transformation.

“So you come up with the strategy and you start communicating – aggressively and consistently and on a repeated basis. Then you have a series of determined actions and investments that reinforce the strategy. And what happens over a period of time… is people start to believe that this change is real and they see it happening because they’re a part of it and they’re living the changes. And that’s where it gets really exciting.”

He makes it sound so simple, huh Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: It’s simple when you are a change ambassador, a transformational leader like me. When you have Gumby-like flexibility and eat change for lunch it’s as natural as picking your nose. Of course not everyone is like me, but that’s exactly why I’m here.

Wanda B. Goode: Come up with the strategy, communicate the change and its impacts persistently, and then execute relentlessly involving as many people as possible. Many stumble on the very first step. They wander aimlessly without a strategy. For whatever reason, many more have difficulty communicating. Rarely is there enough communication around transformation. Finally, and probably most common, is the breakdown in the execution step. Flavor of the day anyone?

I love the term “determined actions.” It takes determined actions to show people that you mean what you say and that “this transformation thing is for real.” Once the crew understands that, they are much more willing to get involved. More of us need to make such “determined actions.”

Here’s a related post…

Making Change Happen and Making It Stick

Phil Humbert’s 52 Week Challenge

6 December, 2009 (15:33) | Leadership Development, Strategy/Goals, Training | By: Administrator

Philip Humbert is a success coach that has been writing a weekly newsletter for 13 years. I’ve been enjoying and learning from it for a few. In his most recent letter he poses a challenge.

In 2010, you’ll have 52 weeks to achieve whatever you wish. In 52 weeks you can transform anything, from your relationships to your personality, even your bank account. You can change careers in 52 weeks. You can marry the person of your dreams, learn a new language or sail around the world in 52 weeks. What will you do in the coming year?

Joe/Wanda, any thoughts?

Joe Kerr: I think I’ll have an affair. That shouldn’t take very long. Then I’ll have the rest of the year to coast!

Wanda B. Goode: I like Phil’s challenge. Spend a couple hours a week at anything and you’ll get good at it. Pick something and start doing it.

Here are a couple of related posts.

The Importance of Being a Continuous Learner

Three Principles for Helping You Learn a New Career or Job Skill

Don’t Believe the Strategic Hype

5 June, 2009 (01:34) | Leadership, Management, Strategy/Goals | By: Administrator

In his book, What Were They Thinking? Jeffrey Pfeffer shares an interesting perspective on strategy. He says that corporations pay more attention to presentation than the quality of ideas. Executives gravitate toward strategic planning because it is intellectually challenging, and most CEOs rank it as the 2nd most important activity required for the success of their companies. According to Pfeffer, though, research indicates that there is little evidence that strategy has any effect on company performance.

Not surprisingly, it’s the execution that matters. Pfeffer advocates a trial and error approach – i.e. “developing strategy adaptively by using your company’s best thinking at the time, learning from experience, and then trying again using what you have learned.” It’s about “doing smart things” not “seeming smart.”

Joe Kerr: Let’s not beat up on strategy too much. I mean, where would we be without strategy? We wouldn’t have strategic sourcing, strategic partners, strategic purchasing, strategic marketing, strategic management, or strategic thinking? Really, where would we be? We’d be like a sail boat without a rudder, a soldier without a compass, a car without a GPS! I’m not sure I want any part of that.

Wanda B. Goode: We heard something similar from the Smuckers brothers from the JM Smuckers Company, didn’t we? They had a simple strategy for their company that they shared with everyone – even their competitors. They didn’t create the glitzy Powerpoint presentation and three inch binder that collected dust on the shelf. Instead they created a brief document outlining their strategy and more importantly went out and made it happen. The competition could not do the same.

Hey, I like talking strategy too. I agree with Jeffrey. It’s challenging and it’s fun. I also think it’s important. We just need to resist the urge to get all caught up in it and make it more complicated than it needs to be. We need to place more of the focus on getting it done.

Here is a post that refers to Pfeffer’s views on strategic planning and addresses other concepts from his book – 10 Questions with Jeffrey Pfeffer

Set SMARTer Goals

14 May, 2009 (22:52) | Leadership, Management, Personal Development, Podcast - Management Tips, Productivity, Strategy/Goals | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

Most of us have heard of the importance of setting SMART goals – goals that are:

S Specific
M Measurable
A Attainable
R Realistic
T Time-bound

In this 10 minute podcast Scot Herrick advocates setting SMARTer goals to further boost productivity. Listen in to find out more.

icon for podpress  Scot Herrick's Management Tip [10:01m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Share the Strategy with Everyone

20 February, 2009 (01:39) | Communication, Leadership, Management, Podcast - Management Tips, Strategy/Goals | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

In this ten minute podcast, best selling author Jason Jennings shares a tip from his latest book, Hit the Ground Running. Find out why it’s so important for leaders to share the company strategy with everyone.

icon for podpress  Jason Jennings' Management Tip [9:56m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Be Proactive With Your Business Strategy

18 January, 2009 (18:14) | Leadership Development, Management, Podcast - Management Tips, Strategy/Goals | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

In these challenging times, Joel Smith, CEO of JF Smith & Associates, advises managers not to lose sight of the power and importance of setting and executing sound strategy. Listen to the 8 1/2 minute podcast below.

icon for podpress  Joel Smith's Management Tip [8:41m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download