The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
Back in the early 1900’s there was a guy by the name of Vilfredo Pareto. He, upon studying the distribution of wealth in the country that he lived, realized that about 20% of the people living in his country owned 80% of the wealth. The truth is that when we think of Pareto’s Principle today we are not talking about the distribution of wealth. In the 1940’s, another doctor inaccurately named the 80/20 rule of time management to Pareto – and rightfully so – the rule had been applied and misapplied to a number of industries and professions ever since it was discovered.
So what does Pareto’s Principle have to say about time management? The concept is simple. A mere 20% of your efforts are responsible for 80% of your results.
So what does this mean to you?
It means you have to figure out which 20% of your time matters. Usually it’s the first 10% and the last 10%. Only 20% of your day is going to have a direct impact on the end results. If that’s the case, what parts of your day can you cut out – which parts are time wasters – and which should you focus on most? Can you turn the other 80% of your day into something more productive as well?
There’s another theory that interprets Pareto’s Principle as saying that 20% of your people do 80% of your work. If this is true, will you focus on increasing the abilities of that first 20% or will you try to make the other 80% of your team better?
In the end, the results are still the same. Only a small portion of the time you spend leads to direct results. Make sure you’re splitting your time accordingly.
On Monday we kicked off the week by talking about a few of the things you could do to develop your own management career. Today I’m going to spend a few minutes outlining a few more things you should consider as you walk down the path of self improvement. Management, after all, is a continuous process and, as such, your path towards continuous development should be as well.
You, as a manager, will be responsible for making sure your employees feel motivated at all times. Everyone has different reasons for feeling motivated – saving for a vacation, working towards a promotion, or simply feeling accomplished. It’s your job to find out what motivates your employees so that you an make sure they continue to be motivated.
Good managers are not just managers – they’re leaders as well. A simple manager will do just that – manage his team – giving them instructions and orders and going about his day. A real manager will lead his team, giving them their tasks and guiding them by pulling his share of the weight. Guide them in the right direction and they’ll surely follow.
Unless you’re already in accounting, you probably know as much about money as your department budget requires. The truth, though, is that to appreciate your business as a whole you should really gain a better understanding about how money works in your business environment. What is spent, what is earned, and what you can do to avoid being wasteful. Saving doesn’t mean being stingy – it means being creative.
You can’t help others if you never help yourself. What areas of your business life do you think need growth and development? Can you take a class? Can you ask your own managers for mentoring or coaching? The better you are at developing your self the better you will be at helping others.
No matter what, conduct all business in an ethical manner – both within your organisation and outside of it. Ask your human resources department or upper management for help if you feel as though you are in an ethical dilema.
Your success as a manager is in your hand. Have you identified any areas you should start working on right away?
So you’re a manager. Congratulations. I’m sure you’re doign a great job. Now, I don’t mean to bust your bubble, but what are you going to do to make yourself a better manager. Here are a few things to consider:
No manager can be successful without a great team at his side. It’s your job to develop a team full of successful, hard working, and motivated individuals. You’ll need to brush up on your interview skills and work at selecting the right people right from the start.
Once you have the right people working with you, you’ll need to make sure they’re all motivated to get the job done – not only on an individual basis but as a team working together as well. Team members should all have times where they’re doing their own things, but they should be able to work together most of the time as well. If you’re having trouble in that area, you may want to implement a few team building activities to break the ice a bit.
Odds are, you judge your employees by their abilities to communicate – with each other, with you, and with clients. But are you setting a good example? Your team members, and even managers above you, will grow dependent upon your ability to convey clear, concise thoughts. You’ll need to work on both your verbal and written communication skills in order to become successful.
Time management is rough for a lot of people, especially those juggling busy home lives while they’re focusing on their careers. What can you do to enhance your time management abilities? Do you need to get a better organization plan? Do you need to learn to prioritise better? Figure out what your weaknesses are and learn to improve upon them.
Your employees and team members get breaks during the day and you should, too. You’re not a superhero and you simply can’t work long days without taking a few minutes here and there to breathe. Take a short walk, get a cup of coffee, or simply shut the office door for a few minutes. Oh, and don’t forget to take your annual vacation. If you’re rested, you won’t become aggravated when dealing with your team.
You are a valuable member of your organisation and you want to make sure you stay that way. Take some time to improve upon yourself and you’ll be successful for years to come.
I know I’ve given you activities similar to this before but I’d like you to take some of the new information about honesty and ethics into consideration as you think about today’s question.
You have two resumes on your desk. One is from a bright, young college graduate with no experience. His college major is in line with the work you do within your organisation and – even better – he graduated from the same university you went to and has the same fraternity ties!
The second resume is from a man with a college education as well. He has about 20 years experience in the industry and has been relatively successful.
They’re both good candidates, but how will you choose?
Will you look at their experience levels? The younger candidate has very little but he’s mallable – you can mold him the way your organisation wishes him to be. He’ll also present a fresh, modern viewpoint when it comes to new developments. The second candidate is older – true – but he has all the experience. Will he be difficult to work with or will that experience add value to your team?
Or – will you hire the younger guy because you have common interests?
Oh – you didn’t think people made unethical decisions like that? Well, they do. And the funny part is that many of them don’t even consciously realize they’re choosing one person over another for an unethical reason. They’re justifying their decisions with concrete points that simply aren’t as strong as they could be in order to cover up the real reasons.
So which candidate would you hire? I’d love to know!
The truth is that most people really are honest. They want to believe that they are doing the right thing for everyone involved in a given situation at any given time – and they want to be respected. Dishonest people aren’t respected in the business world. Most people actually want to be honest. Very few people wake up each morning and decide to lie their way through the day. Those who do lie do so out of a sense of necessity – as if not doing so will lead someone to believe they’ve been let down.
While most people want to be honest in business, it is true that earning yourself a bad reputation can be detrimental to your success. One terrible mishap could make a lot of people angry. They’ll begin to retaliate against you. They eventually let others know about your bad decisions and you lose business from others as well.
One example of a slightly dishonest and incredibly detrimental business decision is highlighted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. During the late 80’s, Exxon partnered with 7 other oil companies to convince Valdez to build a tanker terminal. They believed that the likelihood of an oil spill was very low but promised that if there ever was such an incident they would have the necessary cleanup equipment on site within mere hours.
On March 24, 1989, one of the oil tankers left Valdez, headed for California. The ship struck Bligh Reef and more than 10.8 million of the 54.1 million gallons of oil on the ship spilled into Prince William Sound.
And guess what? Exxon had fudged the numbers a bit and really didn’t have the equipment necessary to respond to such a disaster within “mere hours.”
Before long, more than 1,300 square miles of ocean was covered in oil. Sea otters, seabirds, salmon, and seals were covered in oil – most dying before they could be rescued. The actual cleanup cost around $300 million and after several court cases and appeals Exxon ended up paying more than $2.5 billion in punitive damages.
Exxon, believing an oil spill was highly unlikely, cut costs on cleanup equipment. They may have thought it the right thing to do at the time but they misrepresented themselves to the people of Valdez.
And they paid dearly, in both cost and reputation, for that mistake.
Is that the type of reputation you want to build for your organisation?
There’s a rumor circulating about the world of business – it states that honesty pays. Every once in a while, though, I have to wonder if honesty is really the foundation upon which successful businesses are based on.
About 20 years ago there was an article in the Harvard Business Review. The article questioned whether or not honesty and integrity were prominent factors when determining if a business will become successful or not. Realistically speaking, building a business upon a dishonest foundation is completely possible. It can be profitable. And the odds of getting caught are – well – slim to none, in most cases.
To start the week off I’d like you to think about your position within your business. Have you, as a manager, ever made an unethical decision? Have you ever told a little white lie just to convince an employee to meet a goal or to make a sale? Do you think that you, as a manager are the only person bending the truth to get things done? How deep into your organisation would you have to dig to uncover something bitter – and perhaps a lot more questionable in terms of ethics?
Over the next couple of days we’ll take a look at a few situations that push the line when it comes to ethics. I hope we’ll prove that you can build a business with 100% honesty and integrity – even if it does take a little more work upfront!
Motivation. What is it? A motive is a thing – or an idea – that gives person incentive to move forward. Motivation can come in the form of a personal objective or a work-related goal. Whatever the reason for the motivation, it allows a person to continue to progress in life.
If this is true, your employees are constantly searching for some sort of motivation while at work. Motivation comes in many forms but the truth is that if they aren’t motivated they won’t be nearly as productive as you wish them to be. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your team stays motivated. Learn More