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: March, 2010

A Case for Micromanaging?

30 March, 2010 (22:05) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

The January issue of Inc. Magazine had an article that made the case for micromanaging. It mainly focused on vendors. The author, Joel Spolsky (co-founder and CEO of Fog Creek Software), contends that micromanaging is necessary when companies must rely on vendors who don’t always have the same skin in the game as employees.

What do you think Joe and Wanda? Is it OK to micromanage in certain circumstances?

Joe Kerr: You know I give my people a long leash. If they choose to hang themselves with it, they know I’ll be there to tighten the noose. It’s sink or swim with my guys – whether they are a part of my core or extended team. Leaders like me don’t have time to sweat the details. Butcher, baker, or candle stick maker… if you don’t pull your weight around here, I show you the door.

Wanda B. Goode: I think it is necessary to micromanage in certain circumstances. We don’t always have the luxury of allowing someone to fail. If it’s a week before implementation of a project and we need to hire a brand new vendor to help with some final tasks, it probably makes sense to keep a close eye on things. Of course, we can probably limit these types of situations with better planning. In the long term, we won’t be able to develop lasting, beneficial relationships with vendors if we insist on micromanaging them.

Here are a couple of related posts…

Does Micromanaging Get a Bad Rap?
Case Study of a Principle – Micromanagement or Mismanagement? Or Both?

Think Inside the Box

26 March, 2010 (20:55) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

I saw an interview recently with Anmon Levav, director of Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT). He talked about his structured approach to encouraging creativity. He calls it innovation inside the box. The premise is that people can be more innovative if they think about what they have rather than what they don’t have. They need to look at what they have differently, but there is no reason to look outside their box. Constraints actually enhance creativity.

Anmon suggested an experiment to demonstrate the premise. Get a group of people together and give them one minute to think of an invention of any kind. Then give the same group another minute to come up with a device to keep fit while driving. The latter experiment will yield many more innovative ideas.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: So now I have to start saying, “Think inside the box?” What’s next? Do I start telling people to look in the rear view mirror instead of through the windshield? Should I start working soft and playing softer? This reminds me of when I found out that margarine was bad for you. Fifteen years of eating that glow in the dark phony fat when I could have been dousing my mash potatoes with the real thing! I can’t help but feel betrayed.

Wanda B. Goode: Anmon makes sense. MacGyver would have never even thought about making an automobile out of a book of matches and a role of duct tape if he wasn’t saddled with constraints. We also know that huge R&D budgets don’t necessarily lead to innovation. I suppose it’s similar to being presented with too many choices and being unable to decide. We need to be more focused.

Here’s a related post which contains an interview with Anmon hosted by Alexander Haig.
Amnon Levav Interview with Alexander Haig

Andy Rooney Comments on Managers

23 March, 2010 (20:45) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

This past Sunday Andy Rooney did a piece on 60 Minutes about finding a good job. In it he talked about how there is plenty of work to be done, but people just don’t seem to want to do it. He leveled the following dig on managers…

They say that in most companies middle management people have been hit the hardest with layoffs, whatever “middle-management” is, and a lot of them are college graduates too who thought their degrees made sure they could get a good job.

Would it be a waste of education for someone who graduates from Yale for example, to become a plumber, an electrician or a bricklayer? We need people who can actually do things. We have too many bosses and too few workers.

More college graduates ought to become plumbers or electricians, then, go home at night and read Shakespeare.

The full piece can be found at the CBS News website.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Just paid over $100/hr to have my sink fixed. The plumber thing is looking pretty good to me. I don’t really like the idea of getting dirty though. Could I be a plumbing manager?

Wanda B. Goode: Despite how the ranks of mid-level management have been hit over the past couple of decades, I think Andy may be right. We probably still have too many managers. It’s ironic, but it seems that the fewer doers require more managers to manage the small slices of their time. Not good.

Here’s a related post
Signs that Your Organization Has Too Many Managers

Checking Six

18 March, 2010 (21:29) | Leadership, Management, Podcast - Management Tips | By: Administrator

Wooden Nickel - Management Tips 4

What are the three most important words in business, and how can you create an environment of mutual support in your workplace? Listen in to best selling author, Rob ‘Waldo’ Waldman’s Management Tip to find out.

icon for podpress  Standard Podcast [10:59m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

The Invisible Man-ager

15 March, 2010 (21:45) | Leadership, Management, Servant Leadersip | By: Administrator

I wanted to expand on a post we did last week. It was about a quote from Rob Waldman on the importance of not losing sight of your team. He talked about managers that rarely interact with their team members. What do you suppose these managers do with their time?

Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: Mainly manager stuff – Strategizing, budgeting, and cleaning up after all the screw-ups. It’s exhausting work, but someone’s got to do it.

Wanda B. Goode: Not what they’re supposed to be doing. Manager should be helping their team members. The more they can remove obstacles, help solve problems, obtain the necessary training for team members, etc. the better the team will perform – to the benefit of everyone. Lots of managers are really individual performers with management responsibilities on the side – a model that doesn’t work out very well.

Here are a couple of related posts.

This first one is about the importance of servant leadership.
Why Should Your Organization be Servant Led?

This one explains that just going through the motions or cherry picking problems to solve for your team can make things worse.
The Dangerous Game Played by ‘Walking Around’ Managers

March ’10 Leadership Development Carnival

8 March, 2010 (21:38) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

Dan McCarthy hosts the Academy Awards Edition of the Leadership Development Carnival over at his Great Leadership Blog. Check it out.

Joe Kerr: Did I receive the lifetime achievement award?

Wanda B. Goode: No actors here. These guys are the real deal!

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Team

5 March, 2010 (21:25) | Leadership, Management | By: Administrator

In his book, Never Fly Solo, Rob Waldman encourages managers to “stay visual.” Here’s an excerpt.

Have you ever worked for a manager that you rarely saw? Maybe he shut himself away in his office, never to emerge and work with his team. Or maybe he connected with you only once a quarter during a periodic review, or you heard his voice only on a monthly conference call. How much did you trust that person? When you called out Mayday, he probably couldn’t even hear you, or maybe he was just MIA. How did that make you feel?

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I am “Mr. MBWA.” Yes, it’s very important to mingle with the little people. Whenever I’m feeling a bit down, I see how better off I am than the poor saps in my organization and it tends to picks me up a bit.

Wanda B. Goode: I agree with Rob. Employees want to know that you care. Spending time with them is one way to demonstrate that. Managers that just go through the motions and don’t genuinely care are quickly exposed. Employees see right through that act.

Here are a couple of related posts

Management by Walking Around (MBWA)
Management by Flying Around

Farber’s Challenge

2 March, 2010 (21:59) | Leadership, Leadership Development, Management, Servant Leadersip | By: Administrator

Just listened to a podcast over at Inside Personal Growth. Host Greg Voisen interviewed Steve Farber. Steve talked about his new book entitled, Greater Than Yourself. In it, he recommends amp’ing up the traditional mentor roll – challenging readers to not just help, but to give all they’ve got to allow someone else to achieve far greater success than they ever have.

Thoughts Joe and Wanda?

Joe Kerr: I am a molder of minds, but as I’ve said before, even I can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Wanda B. Goode: I applaud Steve’s efforts. He takes the concepts of “giving of oneself” and “paying it forward” to a whole new level. I hope people take him up on his challenge. He’s engaged in an uphill battle, but certainly one worth fighting.

If you don’t have time to listen to the podcast, here’s a brief blog post from Steve
Your Greater Than Yourself Project