The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
It’s been said that there are three types of people in business: – those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who ask “what the heck happened?”!
At the start of each month, it’s a good time to analyse how you want the next month to be, so you can look ahead with control and anticipation, rather than look back with regret.
The start of the month gives you a chance to review what went right last month, what can be corrected, and gives you an opportunity to renew, regroup, recommit and reinvent yourself as a manager and leader.
It’s a process that can renew your energy and rejuvenate your motivation. So, what’s the best way of going about it?
• Spend 30 minutes or so with your monthly calendar. Write down all your deadline dates, when projects are due, important meetings, personal and business appointments, and other important dates. Then, working backwards, estimate how much time you’ll need to prepare for each event or project. Enter the start date on your calendar, and then you’ll have a vision of how you need to work to accomplish the goal.
• Make a plan for your own development this month. Read a professional journal, improve a specific skill, write an item for a newsletter or journal, attend a short seminar or course…anything that will improve your contribution to your own personal and business development.
• Now work to a weekly plan. Set deadlines for next week, so you know what are the urgent things that need doing. Practice efficiencies with paper, e.g. handle each piece of paper only once. Notice when you procrastinate, prepare and be on time for every meeting and become a better delegator.
• A strategy you might want to follow is the OATS formula: Have Objectives written down in priority order, plan Activities that will help you achieve your goals, allow the Time to achieve those goals, and Schedule when is the best time to acco0mplish each goal
• Manage your relationships well this month. Make an effort to ensure every member of your team feels important. Remember the old phrase ‘catch someone doing something right’. Be consistent in the way you lead your team, rather than making it depend on whatever mood you are in, and do just one thing this month that will make your work environment a better place for others to work in. For example, when was the last time you bought some fruit or doughnuts in for your team?
• Make a monthly resolution to do one thing better this month. Then do it again next month. And the next. Slowly but surely, you’ll see the team respond to you and, by setting this example, you encourage all to contribute to the whole business in a positive and motivational way.
All this will mean maintaining a proactive management style, giving you the chance to make a really good impression on higher management and clients.
Let us know how it goes. Be the kind of person who makes things happen; then you won’t have to look back and wonder what the heck happened! Have a great month!
MTD, the Management Training Specialists, have moved to larger premises to cater for the extra demand for their training, coaching and consultancy services.
The Midlands-based company have larger administration offices, bespoke training facilities and a video/audio recording studio to support the hundreds of companies that they work with every year.
MTD managing Director, Sean McPheat, is excited about the future and what the new premises can offer clients.
“I’m delighted that our new premises will enable us to offer even greater quality and service to all businesses. With a growing and supportive team offering assistance to companies of all sizes, MTD can now provide facilities that will enhance all our clients’ businesses. We look forward to welcoming new and existing clients to our offices in Coventry.”
Click here to see the new offices and learn more about how MTD can help you and your team.
The process of measuring best practice involves looking at other companies to uncover basic principles that you can model within your own business.
When GE developed their Best Practice Project, their main ethos revolved around asking the question, “What’s the secret of your success?” The answers they got were surprisingly similar.
Most companies reported that they managed processes, not functions, and concentrated on how teams worked together rather than on the performances of individual departments. GE realised after their research that they had been measuring and managing the wrong things. They had put their emphasis on setting goals and keeping score; instead, they should have been focusing on how things got done rather than on what got done.
Following ‘best practices‘ – co-operative, integrated and comprehensive approaches to continuous improvement – helps you achieve higher standards of performance and keeps you aware of the competitive advantage you can achieve.
Here’s how you can start looking at best practice management:
Develop a shared vision and strategic plan. This gives you a vision of world-class performance and helps everyone in the business see exactly what best practice looks like.
Ensure commitment from top management. This will encourage all team members to put their efforts into the changes and improvements needed to achieve great results.
Create a learning environment. This allows everyone to advance in the skills, knowledge and attitude that is required to achieve best practice.
Create innovative workplace initiatives. Everything you put into place should reflect the company’s commitment to improvement.
Focus on customers. Be responsive to the current and future needs of your clients, because they are the ones who will reap the benefits of any new initiatives you put in place.
Develop closer ties with your suppliers. These companies need to know what you are doing so they can support your change initiatives.
Look at technological, process and product innovation. Look at what market-leaders have done to create higher market share and adopt a similar policy, using the faster, leaner methodology that will help you keep costs and investment down.
Use performance-measurement systems along with benchmarking. Remember that if you try to match a competitor’s performance now, you will take time to catch up, because they set their standards in motion some time ago to be where they are now. See benchmarking as a finger-in-the-air process; identify where you need to be in one, two or three years’ time, then plan for that eventuality.
Network external relationships. By sharing information, accessing new services, developing new products and services, reviewing use of staff skill-sets, minimising costs in entering new markets, etc, you build a firm foundation for creating best practice for your company’s future.
Remember…unless everyone in the business is committed to best practice and understands the meaning of the term to them personally, you run the risk of any changes being seen as just another management fad. You must ensure that you communicate the reasons why you are pursuing this process. That way, you stand a better chance of any new initiatives succeeding.
Have you been affected by downsizing in your organisation during the economic downturn?
The after-effects of downsizing in a company can last for years, as you try to encourage the people who stay to commit their loyalty to the future benefit of the business.
But we’ve found in our research that many companies spend a disproportionate time on helping the people laid off and less real-time on the people who will be left, and that may store up difficulties for the future.
When you manage downsizing ineffectively, there’s a danger that a downward spiral will be set up, which can be damaging to the morale and performance of the whole company. Learn More
Outsourcing has become very important to many companies due to its strategic implications and cost saving benefits, but many companies have not derived the most effective benefits from it. How can you ensure that if you outsource work, you stand the best chance of success?
Firstly, identify your company’s core and non-core activities. Your core activities are those items central to your successfully serving the needs of existing and potential customers in your markets. These are seen as adding value and giving you a distinct competitive advantage, and the process of identifying these activities should be carried out at a top management level. You should therefore build your capabilities around these core areas that are critical to your business success. All non-core business can then be outsourced. Learn More
To quote Peter Drucker, “The stepladder has gone, and there’s not even an implied structure of an industry rope ladder; it’s more like vines, and you bring your own machete!”
Today work environment has changed beyond all recognition, and the journey towards promotion is changing inexorably within business circles. How can you improve your chances of being seen and heard in the promotion stakes?
It’s not enough these days to just be excellent at your job. All that does is make yourself stand out in your current position. You need to discuss with the right personnel exactly what skills and talents are required for the promotable position. Try to become more visible by mixing with those decision-makers who you need to impress. But do it to support the business, not to show off your skills. Learn More
Daniel Simons, author of the book ‘The Invisible Gorilla‘, wrote something interesting recently.
Simons looked at the evidence that demonstrates multitasking is not all it’s cracked up to be. He quotes that every productivity study in every industry published in the last 100 years has come to the same conclusion: after about 40 hours of work in a week, the quality of your work starts to go down. You start making mistakes. Learn More