Posts tagged ‘management’

Quick Links

A few more links for you to check out while I keep working on The Post That Has No End:

Hope to post something more substantial this weekend.

July 2, 2010 at 4:00 pm

My new mantra

Do you ever read or hear something so timely it just about knocks your feet out from under you? One of my mentors, Kathy Gould, posted something on her blog two days ago that did that to me. She was talking about leadership and management lessons she learned from her own mentor, and a simple phrase that he taught her was “What I accept, I approve.”

Read that again. “What I accept, I approve.”

It’s a really simple statement, but SO true and SO powerful – it’s rocking my world right now. I’ll probably post more about this when I’ve processed a bit more, but I wanted to make sure and share it now.

There’s more great stuff in that post, including a nice distinction between role-vested authority and earned authority. Do yourself a favor and go read the whole thing.

May 12, 2010 at 10:38 am 2 comments

Dan Pink on Management

I had the opportunity today to see Daniel Pink speak at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. It was a very good presentation. Although he stuck pretty closely to the material in his books, he’s a very engaging and entertaining speaker. 

One of the things he said today that I loved is that (paraphrasing here) management is the perfect technology if all you want is compliance, but if you’re going for engagement, self-direction is required. I like the idea of management as a technology (Pink credited that idea to someone else – I’ll have to look up the name); when you think of it that way, it’s easier to identify potential uses and mis-uses.

In Drive he talks about autonomy, mastery and purpose being the roots of intrinsic motivation. Of the three, autonomy seems like the biggest challenge in a government organization like a public library. There’s an ingrained culture, plus laws and union rules that govern what we do and how we do it. Some of the ideas Pink discusses in his books (like the Results Only Work Environment) aren’t practicable in this setting. I don’t think it’s impossible, I just think it requires a little extra creativity to find ways to give people genuine autonomy over their work in this kind of organization. It’s an interesting problem, and one I’m sure I’ll be chewing on for a long time…

March 15, 2010 at 9:20 pm 2 comments

Organizational health

First Break all the RulesMeredith Farkas’s post reminded me that I’ve been meaning to write about First, Break All the Rules. Meredith introduced the 12 questions that demonstrate organizational health, so I’ll just say that one of the highlights of the book for me was the mountain climbing metaphor, early in the book. Buckingham and Coffman break the twelve questions into 4 groups that represent different stages of the “climb”:

  • Base Camp (What do I get?)
    • Do I know what is expected of me at work?
    • Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  • Camp 1 (What do I give?)
    • At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
    •  In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
    • Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
    • Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  • Camp 2: (Do I belong here?)
    • At work, do my opinions seem to count?
    • Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
    • Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
    • Do I have a best friend at work?
  • Camp 3: (How can we all grow?)
    • In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
    • This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

The idea is that you can’t advance too soon to the higher camps, or you will get “Mountain Sickness” – that is, you won’t be able to sustain your energy at the higher altitudes of vision and purpose if you haven’t firmly established your foundation at Base Camp and Camp 1. The authors point out that a lot of management theory and practice is focused on Camps 2 and 3, when most managers really need to focus on Base Camp and Camp 1. I’ve definitely found that most of the leadership and management books I read seemed to be focused on the Camp 2 and 3 types of issues.

At any rate, this book made me question several assumptions I had about leadership, and I got a lot out of it. Definitely worth a read.

December 22, 2007 at 5:29 pm


"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong." - Pearce

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