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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Month: May, 2008

Even a Schmuck Can Teach You Things

27 May, 2008 (23:06) | Leadership, Leadership Development, Management, Personal Development | By: Administrator

Here’s another one from Karen Salmansohn’s book, Ballsy: 99 Ways to Grow a Bigger Pair and Score Extreme Business Success. It’s tip number sixty…

“Even a schmuck can teach you things…Defocus your anger at enemies. Refocus the lessons they generously teach you. In the end, you can learn just as much from your tor-mentors as from your mentors…Don’t hold onto all your resentments. Instead hold onto all the lessons learned.”

Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I know you are, but what am I?

Wanda B. Goode: Excellent point. Learn to repeat the good things you observe and avoid the bad. No use getting all worked up and wasting energy over things you can’t control. Take the high road, learn, and move on. Be a mentor and not a tormentor!

For an interesting post on learning from a bad boss, click here.

15 Minute Challenge

20 May, 2008 (22:51) | Leadership, Management, Personal Development, Strategy/Goals, Success | By: Administrator

In her book, Ballsy: 99 Ways to Grow a Bigger Pair and Score Extreme Business Success, Karen Salmansohn’s tip number ninety-eight is as follows…

“Often it’s easier to convince yourself to be good for 15 minutes than to be a saint for a whole day. So, give yourself tiny “must-do-today-for-a-mere-15-minutes” career challenges. Maybe it’s exercising. Maybe it’s making cold calls. Maybe it’s keeping papers more organized… Whatever. You can always find a mere fifteen minutes in your day to do this career boosting activity… Regularly pick one small measurable career challenge to do… and do it.”

Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: To quote Billy Joel “I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints, ‘cause sinners have much more fun. Only the good die young.”

Wanda B. Goode: Maybe it’s getting someone on your team a recognition item, Maybe it’s letting a team member know he has to improve in an area. Maybe it’s giving a team member career advice. The 15 minute challenge can apply to management tasks as well. Keep doing the little things, and before you know it the team will be spinning like a top!

For an interesting post on the power of baby steps, click here.

Be Like a Cockroach. Refuse to Die!

15 May, 2008 (00:06) | Leadership, Management, Success | By: Administrator

In her book, Ballsy: 99 Ways to Grow a Bigger Pair and Score Extreme Business Success, Karen Salmansohn’s tip number three is as follows…

“You must keep this image of a cockroach in mind whenever you are out there selling your widgets to the world. No matter how many times you get sprayed with doubt, insults, sneaky competitors, slurs, sudden changes in the marketplace… after each and every seemingly lethal spray of negativity, you must quickly wife off your antennae, find your bearings and keep going for all those goodies! Indeed, you must use each spray as a spirit strengthener to build up a stronger tolerance for dealing with future sprays of negativity… and thrive against all odds… In summary, be like a cockroach. Refuse to die.”

What role does persistence play in management?

Joe Kerr: Now you’re finally speaking my language – and Winston Churchill’s too. He’s the one who said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Of course you need to pick your battles wisely. I certainly don’t advise pissing into the wind. I’ve been around for a while, so I know what’s worth fighting for and what’s not. Last year I fought like hell to retain my parking spot in the front of the building. I really gave HR an earful (a pleasant switch). Listen I’ve paid my dues. I’m going to fight for what’s rightfully mine. I suggest you do the same.

Wanda B. Goode: Persistence is an extremely important management trait. In fact, there is a chapter in our book, Lead Well and Prosper, dedicated to it. It often requires a tremendous amount of determination to effect change in an organization. Roadblocks and naysayers abound. It’s easy to blame others and just throw in the towel. After falling down, a good manager looks for things s/he can do differently/better and keeps trying.

For another interesting post on persistence, click here.


12 May, 2008 (22:43) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

We got a sneak preview of the soon to be released book by Randy Boek, Kathleen Goodman, and Lisa Haneberg called, Undo Before You Become Undone. In one of the chapters the term “unmanagement” is introduced as follows…

Imagine that you were in charge of wooing a big client to your firm. This client would generate a significant revenue stream and be considered a bread-and-butter account. How would you approach getting the client and keeping it? You would do things like these:

• Prepare a prospectus.
• Make a case for why this client should select your firm.
• Treat its people like valued partners.
• Cherish the contribution the prospect’s business would make.
• Bend over backward to meet the prospect’s needs.
• Be proactive and positive in resolving any conflicts or disagreements.
• Listen to and be interested in the prospect’s ideas and perspective.
• Thank the prospect’s people again and again and in many ways.
• Always be there for the prospect’s people and check in to see how you can help them succeed.

What if businesses saw employees as having a value that was comparable to that of customers and treated them accordingly? The company would benefit, employees would excel, and leaders would not be fooling themselves into thinking that they have some magical power over employees. Everyone wins! This is the basic premise of unmanagement. Everyone would see the people they work with as partners. No one would assume they have power over others. Each would have a role to fulfill and that’s it. Some people make widgets, some people make work plans, and some people remove barriers to widget making. People doing different stuff. No one is empowered because no one has the power.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda…

Joe Kerr: The employees are our most valued asset, except when being pains in the @ss, which is most all of the time! Word of warning – be careful dishing out the royal treatment. Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a yard! Remember, it’s a place of work not a country club. I prefer to take my direction from the great General George S. Patton, Jr. who said, “There is only one type of discipline, perfect discipline.” That’s the way I run my shop. Follow my rules and you’ll get all the love you need, and you’ll stay employed too!

Wanda B. Goode: I like it. The employees are responsible for creating the products and/or executing the services that generate the revenue. They are high priced resources that produce day-in and day-out. They are the bread-and-butter of the organization, so why not treat them that way?

I’ve always been an advocate of servant leadership and in treating employees with respect, but I think this goes a step beyond that. I would agree that the traditional command-and-control approach to management doesn’t work very well and that it could use some “undoing.” Would anyone like to share an experience of unmanagement in action?

To find out more about the book, click here.

100th Post for “Joe and Wanda on Management”

5 May, 2008 (23:37) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

Well, it’s hard to believe, but this is Joe and Wanda’s one hundredth post. To celebrate, we’ll be giving away a free copy of Lead Well and Proper (the book that put Joe and Wanda on the map) to 5 random guests who comment on this post.

This one will be a bit different from the prior 99. We will be interviewing Joe and Wanda to get their thoughts on reaching this milestone and to pick their brains a bit on their favorite topic – management. So let’s get started. We’ll lead off with Joe…

Moderator: Welcome Joe. First let me congratulate you on your 100th post. Your dedication to this effort is commendable.

Joe Kerr: Thank you very much. I’m still waiting for my first pay check!

Moderator: Did you ever think that you would contribute to 100 blog posts?

Joe Kerr: Come to think of it, I am a bit surprised, mostly because I’ve had to put up with so many of your inane questions. I always knew I had plenty to offer. I haven’t even used up half of my favorite quotes from The Gladiator, and believe me, some of them bear repeating. I have quite a bit left in this tank!

Moderator: What have you enjoyed most about your role as dispenser of management wisdom?

Joe Kerr: I guess it’s really helping people. I can recall one of my earliest posts. Remember the story about how I let one of my guys drive my Porche to the shop to get it detailed as a reward for meeting a project deadline? Do you have any idea of the impact that had on the kid’s life? At the end of the day, that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Moderator: Have you learned anything through this process?

Joe Kerr: I’ve learned to be patient. I’m determined to be the voice of reason in this duo. You’d think that after spending a year under my tutelage I’d have shaken Wanda of her namby-pamby, insufferable idealism. She’s obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Moderator: If you had just one piece of management advice to impart upon those in need, what would it be?

Joe Kerr: That’s a tough question, but as you know I’m used to tough questions. I thrive under pressure. I’d say management is not for the feint of heart. You need to be prepared to lay it on the line and go for it. You need the “Eye of the Tiger!” If you don’t have it, don’t bother. You’re better off getting bossed around by someone for the rest of your life. Oh yeah, and don’t forget to CYA. You never know who’s got it in for you. I guess that’s really two points, isn’t it? As usual our readers get their money’s worth and then some from Joe Kerr.

Moderator: Thanks so much Joe. If nothing else, you are certainly consistent.

Joe Kerr: Amen! That’s a great lead in to close out the interview. I’ll leave you with a quote from Ron Jaworski, former quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. You see I’m a professional quarterback too – the quarterback of my organization.

“The heartbeat of a football team is the quarterback position and I think everyone who has any intelligence about the game understands you must have consistency at that position to be a championship team.”

Moderator: Thanks so much Joe. Now let’s hear from Wanda. Wanda, how does it feel to have participated in 100 blog posts?

Wanda B. Goode: It’s really kind of rewarding. I’m glad to have participated, and I’ve learned so much. We’ve covered a wide variety of topics. Many opinions have been expressed. Some have challenged my views and some have even changed them. Others have supported and validated my approach to management and leadership. I look forward to continuing to learn. I hope others have and will continue to benefit from our discussions.

Moderator: If you had only one piece of management advice to dispense, what would it be?

Wanda B. Goode – How about follow The Golden Rule? Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Treat your direct reports, your internal and external customers, your peers, your management, etc. as you would like them to treat you. As with many things that we’ve discussed, this is extremely simple, but it is not easy. I think it’s a good way to sum up what it takes to be a good person and a good manager. Actually, it wouldn’t hurt to read Lead Well and Prosper either! Joe got to mention two things, so I did too!

Actually, I’d like to mention another. Don’t give up or give in. You will make tons of mistakes. Apologize and just keep working at it. Don’t compromise. Resist the easy road. Do what is right. There are many counting on you.

Moderator: Thank you Wanda for your contributions to the blog.

Wanda B. Goode: Thank you for having me. I look forward to the next 100 posts. I plan to continue to learn, have fun, and contribute in whatever way that I can.

Moderator: Guests, if you’ve read this far, thank you as well. Thanks for checking out “Joe and Wanda on Management.” Remember, if you’d like to win a free copy of Lead Well and Prosper, share one of your management tips with us. A free book will be given to 5 random commenters to this post.