Saturday, August 08, 2009
Thursday, August 23, 2007
InsideCRM has an excellent cheat sheet for managers, covering topics such as:
- Body Language
- Meeting Deadlines
- Getting Along with Employees
- Managing Yourself
- Boosting Productivity
- Managing Finances and Resources
- Communicating with Clients
- Keeping Up with Change
- Resolving Problems
- Going Above and Beyond
I've read through the list and there are some excellent reminders and insightful tips here. This is the kind of list that's good to print out and read on the train, keep on your desk, and read periodically to renew your focus.
It's billed as a "common sense" list of advice, but I find that much of it is quite uncommon (you know what they say about common sense). Kudos for the folks at InsideCRM for putting this together.
Check it out...
The Manager's Cheat Sheet: 101 Common-Sense Rules for Leaders - Inside CRM
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Now that the press release is out, I'm pleased to announce the followup book to Napoleon on Project Management.
Tentatively titled Managing the Gray Areas, the book touches on many topics, such as principles, ethics, decision-making, incentives, staffing, critical thinking, and communication. For those familiar with my writings on lessons from history, rest assured that there will be plenty of lessons from history, as well as from philosophy, science, art, medicine, and business. Ultimately, it's a book about leading with humanity.
I'm also happy to announce that the book will be published by RMC Publications, the publishing arm of Rita Mulcahy's RMC Project Management. Many of you are familiar with Rita and her organization from their superb training products and services. Making this deal especially appealing was their shift in strategy toward taking on a small selection of new books (including general management and leadership books), and building products and services around them. I'm honored to be the first author to be signed to their organization under this new strategy.
I decided to write this book to address the many challenges that leaders face for which there is no easy answer. While consultants and magazine articles promote quick fixes and universal formulas, management is never that simple. In the book, I address tough questions, such as:
- How do you balance the need for responsiveness to the customer with the need for process control within your department or team?
- How do you maintain visibility of available resources without adding undue bureaucracy to your staff?
- How can you manage your time effectively, yet remain available to your people?
- Are recurring meetings effective or are they time wasters?
- When should you share the big picture with your team and when is it prudent not to?
- Should one person be expected to serve as a strategist and a tactician?
- Which is better; a generalist or a specialist?
- Which will give the biggest return; a good image or high quality?
- What should you do when an ethical dilemma challenges your core principles?
A while back, I entered some blogs on PMThink related to these topics, based on the two-day seminar I conducted in Philadelphia with productivity consultant Jerome Jewell. Since then, I did some fine-tuning and further research and saw the need for this book.
Of course, you can expect to see more blogs related to my research as I write the book, and from time to time I may ask for your opinions and examples. Meanwhile, here's the press release from RMC Publications...
RMC Publications Signs Agreement with Best-Selling Author Jerry Manas
Monday, June 18, 2007
Every once in a while, I come across a website that's a goldmine of information. Fred Nickols' "Skullworks" is a good example. He has a wealth of thought provoking articles, by himself and others, in areas such as consulting, organizational development, training & performance, strategy, and more.
One article I found particularly interesting is the one on generalists vs. specialists, which happens to be one of the topics on my upcoming book (more on that soon).
As many knowledgable leaders know---and Fred Nickols is no exception---leadership and management are by no means simple. They require serious thought and carry significant responsibility. Reading just one or two of these types of articles a week can help make the difference between being a good leader and a great one.
Nickols runs a consulting company called "Distance Consulting," which focuses on helping organizations help themselves, a noble cause indeed. Here's the link to his articles.
Articles by Fred Nickols
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
They say it's always good to hire a rich lawyer and buy from a poor salesperson. We might add to that to hire a nervous project manager. I'm of course half joking. Still, it's important to be vigilant about the things that can go wrong, and to confirm that issues are being addressed as required, especially in hot areas such as communication, testing, contingency plans, etc. The devil is often in the details.
This does not mean micromanagement. On the contrary, it's best to delegate work packages to the experts. But it's also important to be aware of what's going on in your project, and circulate regularly among your team. If details are being overloooked, often a gentle reminder is all that's needed.
At any rate, I'd rather have a nervous project manager than one who's running on autopilot.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Jack says you can't handle the truth. But if you're ready, I highly recommend Stephen Robbins' excellent book, The Truth About Managing People... And Nothing But the Truth.
Robbins has sold over 2 million copies, and I can see why. In plain, simple language, Robbins outlines 63 truths, supported by evidence, stories, and examples. Each truth is only a few pages, so you can open the book up at almost any page and find a gem. The whole book is under 200 pages in a small paperpack format.
The 63 common-sense truths span the areas of hiring, motivation, leadership, communication, team building, conflict management, job design, performance evaluation, coping with change, and managing behavior.
A few good lessons (paraphrased):
1) Productivity usually breeds satisfaction, rather than the other way around.
2) When interviewing, don't go on traits. Instead probe about past behaviors (i.e. "Tell me about a time when you ....")
3) Put people in jobs that match their personalities.
4) Out of all the traits people have, conscientiousness is the most frequent predictor of success.
5) Specific stretch goals produce higher output than generalized goals like "do your best."
6) Not everyone wants to participate in setting their goals. It depends on their nature, ability, time available, and other factors.
7) Judge behaviors, not people.
8) There's something to be said for "looking the part of the leader."
9) Expect the best and people will deliver. Expect the worst, and people won't dissapoint.
10) Experience isn't always a good indicator of success.
11) There's no ideal leadership style. Directive or supportive styles can work in different situations.
12) Teams often create negative synergy. Beware of loafers. Be sure to identify and measure individual efforts as well as team efforts.
13) Honor the work-life balance. Give flexibility and options.
14) Beware of the quick fix. What works for one company or problem doesn't always work for another.
For many more, and further explanations and examples, read the book!