|Hundred Tips for a Better Management (Aga Khan Foundation, 1993, 70 p.)|
Executives spend too much time analyzing and too little time acting. Philip Smith, Chairman, General Foods
It is easy to get hung up by principles, but don't. Below are some basic tips for putting management principles into practice.
1. Be a coach as well as enforcer.
2. Master technical skills that are needed for your position, like using data effectively.
3. Don't involve too many people too soon.
Design a two-year strategy that answers questions like
4. Identify resource people within the organisation early on.
Recruit technical advisors, like senior statisticians and training specialists, from the outside until the organisation has enough expertise.
5. Ask questions to better understand your workers: What do employees like/dislike about their jobs? Do they feel trusted/valued? The key is in getting honest answers.
6. Ensure that workers understand their roles and where they fit into the larger context; how their work is influenced by others who precede them and how it influences those who follow.
If you only have a hammer, you think every problem is a nail. endy Leebov, Ed.D.
There are creative tools to help individuals and teams make decisions without having agonising, endless debates.
Some common decision-making exercises
Decisiveness is a willingness to act. If you are well prepared and have a clear grasp of the issue, the options, and the consequences, then act. Take a decision. Do not wait for someone else to do so. You may wait a long time. Most people do not have the self-confidence, the assertiveness, or the information to take a decision. They are probably waiting for you to act.
Numbers can be very useful in analysis and decision-making. But some things cannot be measured precisely.
Be careful not to put too much weight on these kinds of numbers, especially if they are projections. Predicting the future is a risky business.
Gather your best people together so that the collective knowledge, experience and judgement of the group is polled.
Reliance on one individual's judgement, especially for subjective decisions, is always inferior to reliance on an informed group's judgement.
The following may seem to be a sacrilegious quote, but the author means it, and makes a strong argument for teamwork, but against consensus.
"I believe consensus is one of the great bogus concepts of our day. It is incredibly time-consuming to achieve, so much so that it is thoroughly impractical; and when it is achieved, it seems far more likely that what has been accomplished is a stroking of pampered egos rather than selecting a distinctive course of action."
"Sometimes a decision-making group will have consensus or virtual unanimity on an issue. This occurs when decisions almost make themselves and hardly any discussion is needed. Most times, however, when knotty issues are presented, each person sitting around the table has a point of view and a stake in events. No matter how sincere you are about the, good of the order, in fact, because of your sincerity, you will often have strong beliefs in opposition to one or more of your associates. To achieve consensus in a group like this is to have found a common denominator so low that nobody cares about what gets decided.
The original issue that divided people has in effect been swept under the rug, and will probably surface again."
"What a team needs to be taught is the joy and camaraderie of sharing in the decision-reaching process. And to enter into that sharing at all times. As a team leader, teach this and you'll really have something authentic! This is buy-in that counts."
"When you make a decision apart from your team that your team helped you make, explain that decision to them before announcing it."
"If this requires calling a special meeting, by all means call it. It need last only a few minutes. Attendees may not even need to be seated."
It is important to be well-prepared, but it is cowardice to postpone a decision until another unnecessary study is completed.
Managers have to realise that all decisions involve some degree of risk. That's what managers get paid for, to take the risk and make a decision. If you have all the information you are likely to get, then you need to act upon it. Don' t waste time and money on "further analysis."