General Management

colourthinking

change / time / performance / problem solving...
The real art of management is about the inclusion of others in your life. That is, right from the start, to speak to others, to trust others and to learn from others.

This doesn't mean you don't have your own ideas but that you leverage from others to fill in the gaps, to help you risk assess and yes, to add value to what you have, at that moment.

Some people shy away from 'sharing their ideas;' for fear of them being stolen. Stephen Covey talks about this as 'scarcity'
“People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me. The more principle-centered we become, the more we develop an abundance mentality, the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to...rather than detracts from...our lives.”
 jose
 Stephen R. Covey quotes http://thinkexist.com/quotation/people_with_a_scarcity_mentality_tend_to_see/346862.html
As a starting point it is useful to write down your thoughts, put out some sort of plan. If you don't know what you are thinking then it is hard for you to effectively share - once shared to be able to remember what it was you thought, before the sharing process started. This consulting doesn't infer that you have to take input on board entirely or even in part, just that you now have more to think about than when you relied on yourself alone. (Brainstorming type thinking)
Inevitably when a group of people work together there will be different levels of experience, qualifications, somewhat different values, all the wonderful presents of diversity. Someone with less experience can often be more helpful in solving a problem that someone who is steeped in that discipline - the paradigm effect can overtake free thinking - less experience can leave someone more child-like, not constricted with what can and can't be done.

Change management:
The majority of that written about this subject details how to tackle people who are change adverse - that is seem to be, act change adverse. If 'management' do all the thinking and then just release the outcome to the people, there is not only bound to be objections and lack of 'take-up' but also the potential for not getting the best answer is high! Never forget the concept

1 + # should =
> ∑ #
one person plus others should equal greater than the sum of the number of people that is when people share their thoughts, inescapably new thoughts will surface that have come from something someone else said - if that idea wasn't identified through the process of sharing and trust, other ideas would have had no beginning and the outcome would be more the poorer for it

If people are treated as 'fodder' than more often than not will act in that manner - unfortunately, this is often taken as lack of interest on their part (or capability) when it is really (more often than not) the absence of respect in being asked to input (be included) in the first place.

So all the great theories on 'change management' whilst in the main are useful, more often than not are not as much needed is change is not being laid onto people but people are in fact the change agent.
A change agents job is not to lead but to include - now this is leadership - not having to have the answers, the solutions, but to prepare an environment where it is safe for people to dare to input.

Lewin's freeze phases
http://changingminds.org/disciplines/change_management/lewin_change/lewin_change.htm

Models for Change
http://www.biothinking.com/applysd/models.htm
http://marriottschool.byu.edu/dyerinstitute/models.cfm http://www.onepine.info/mod1b.htm

These various web sites, along with thousands of others will give the reader more than enough material to exercise the mind.
Our input is 'do not only rely on yourself alone to be the answer' - don't walk into a discussion and fill the air with your presence, leave enough oxygen for others to dare, to bother to bring their thoughts forward first.

Stay away from finding fault with any input (responses like no / can't / wouldn't work / tried that before... only serve to alienate and put down the giver and are bound to dissuade from any further input)- ask questions of things that you don't understand or agree with - help the person giving to work through any problems you see (it may just be your paradigm getting in the way or the givers initial uncertainty in giving - having been put down in the past)

Time management:

It is certainly important that we manage 'time', for ourselves, for picking up the children from school, making sure we don't burn the vegetables that we use time to its best advantage.

General Management
    
Our input

Again there is a veritable feast of information on the web on this subject and much of it very useful. Just as in 'brainstorming' it is worth taking a trip across various sites and picking up the various gems contained - a personal brainstorm of information.
Time management is more of an outcome than an input - it is more about a sound understanding of the job you have and others know likewise, that there are agreed objectives, that you are assertive and consistent. There is a need to employ appropriate tools to manage yours and others expectations and allow others to understand what you have to do and when it is being done.
What we say is have a sound knowledge of the positions you need in your organisation, talk to others and get their input, then record the information. Add to that a sound 'person description'.
When hiring, refer to these two documents - questions and summary matrix would reflect these two documents - and hire the right person for the right job! Approximately one in ten people leave a new position after three months and the two most common reasons are 1) the job was nothing like I was told and 2) the people were not friendly / helpful

Last word on Time Management -

  • make sure everyone is optimally trained so that jobs can be shared
  • make sure that work where ever possible is planned
  • when things do not go according to plan, take advantage of problem solving tools so that 'causes' are established and then treated / remedied
  • don't keep delegating to the same people
  • don't be the 'solution' - "I might as well do it myself" is NOT the answer
Performance management:

Training, coaching, counselling and mentoring
Training, Coaching, Counselling and Mentoring, all words that are often used, how to differentiate – for the sake of coming to the same definition, lets settle on the follow and use that as the base:

Training:
 
The bringing of specific skills to an individual. / Systematic instruction and drill. / Theoretic and practical instruction.
 Some training is innate, some instinctive - automatic, some training seems to be almost impossible at the time and some training may to some degree be seen as being unsuccessful.
The uptake of training is about the individual, the trainer, the methodology, the time and the reason for learning. If the trainee can see no use of the training, then the uptake could be slower or not at all. If there is a seen reason for the training, then the training can be much more immediate – the need being met by the training.
Everything we do is made up of a series of steps – a process. If it is about driving a motor vehicle, there are a series of steps – a process and those steps form a flow of activity. The car door needs to be unlocked to give access to the car before the ignition can be activated – the ignition key needs to be inserted before the car can start – the brake needs to be let-off, before the car can proceed and before all of this, there needs to be a destination – all part of the process.
The same of course applies to training – a series of planned steps designed to take the trainee through a process so that on completion a new skill / behaviour has been learned.

In a business, certain skills will be required to complete and as the business moves forward, new skills will be required. In the 21st century, the culture of continuous learning has become part of the need to maintain the competitive edge – in fact just to keep up with the pack.
Businesses often use a skills matrix to keep abridge of the skills of each employee and to plan future training – also, to demonstrate to the team those skills that are required as part of career advancement.
Most companies have a budget for training, some develop their own training departments to ensure some form of consistency and to inculcate the business into the training.

Coaching:

The act of coaching is about assisting an individual to learn, to have confidence, to reach specific goals.
 The technique of effective coaching is to focus on that part of the process that isn’t working – to allow the person the respect of not being taught those things already known.
 Through using the ‘gap’ technique, define what the individual believes is the situation and then comparing that with the actual skill process, concentrate on that part where there is a difference the gap.

What the individual thinks is the process

What you know as the process
The gap between your ideas and theirs
The strategy to remedy – the gap
 
 The natural supervisor or the training / accessing staff are not naturally or necessarily the right / only people to ‘coach’. Coaching and assessing are two different things – the coaching gets the person to the stage where they can be assessed.
 Coaching can often be most effectively given by a peer – it is important when organising coaching that the individual trainee is involved in the selection of coaching criteria.
 There needs to be a coaching program – where the person is now, what the strategy and time table is and how it will be known when the individual is competent.
 There needs to be expectation that the person will move through the process and establish firm and compete skills.
 It is important to know when the coaching has completed and not to continue coaching if the individual is not progressing – as in all things it is useful to look for more than one answer as to the negative outcome – it could be that the coaching method isn’t appropriate, the coach is out of sync with the coachee or the person is not participating to their fullest.

 It can be that counselling is now needed if the method and personality of the coach are not part of the problem.
Counselling:
 1) Improved performance – skill or behaviour– 2) for personal matters
 1) Improved performance
 Where an individual performs lower than the required standard, corrective action needs to take place. Firstly it must be established that the person did in fact have the skills in the first place otherwise all that is needed is training.
 If the lacking in performance is about some part of the skill, then coaching will rectify that.

 If there is some further impediment to reaching the desired level of skills or behaviour, then it may be necessary to counsel the individual. This is about elevating the situation to where the individual is aware that a new level of achievement is necessary.
 It can occur for all manner of reason that an individual starts to under perform. If you think about it, someone who has learned skills doesn’t just lose them. It can be a number of things, lack of time using a skill, an environment where the level of motivation deadens the spirit – it is not usual for someone just to lose a skill that is practiced.
 Keeping this in mind, the potential for lower performance is often about the way an individual is managed rather than the individuals themselves. If this is the case, the potential for counselling to be successful is limited unless the ‘manager’ also changes their behaviour.
 There needs to be a counselling program – where the person is now, what the
Expectations / objectives are, the strategies that will recover the situation, the time lines and importantly the consequences if the change is not achieved.
 It can occur that the counsellors supervisor does not have the same commitment to the program and so it is imperative that all management concur with the counselling program and that the person being counselled understands that there is consistency in the approach and credibility about the outcome – performance reinstated or change of employment status.
 2) for personal matters
 It is not the place of an employer to counsel an employee on personal matters – the path to take is to guide the person to an appropriate person. In corporate businesses, there may be someone on staff but usually this will be an external agency. It can compromise the individual and the company to do otherwise. 
The role of the supervisor is to maintain the ability of the team to achieve the business objectives. Becoming involved in an employees personal life inevitably takes the supervisor out of their natural skill set, compromises their ability to manage that employee and brings many other impacts to the relationship of the employee and employer.
Mentoring:
In terms of employee relations, a mentor is someone who the employee can go to for advice, to talk things over without necessarily making them ‘official’. It can be skill related, it may be how to handle a certain situation or even about there very being within the business.
A mentor may be someone on the same level, a supervisor or even someone at a lesser level within the business environment.
The purpose of a mentor is to give oneself the opportunity of sounding boarding their ideas, gaining additional insights, perspectives. 
In times of stress, when targets are not being met, others are gaining promotion; things are not working as well, then to have someone that can be accessed not necessarily for advice but ‘just to be there – if nothing else to listen, ask questions, ‘be’.
In times of success, it can also be very useful to talk things through with someone – understand more fully the background to that success.
During ones’ life, there may be many mentors – the biggest misfortune is not to have had one. To rely solely on one’s own cognisance is to have missed pout on the exponentially of 1 plus a #... 
Mentoring can be as an individual or a group can ‘mentor’. There are many groups around the world where people meet to ‘mentor’ ach other. Usually developed as a commercial entity, often chaired by some luminary but not necessarily.
To a degree, a group of people studying the same thing will ‘mentor each other’. If someone is absent from a particular tute then another person may take the information and the ‘essence’ to the missing person – mentoring them through the session they missed.                               

More to come on Performance management - how it used to be and how it needs to be today!