Wednesday, January 20, 2010

10 Rules for Better Management

It is easy to get so caught up in managing messes that one loses sight of the basics. Here are 10 simple rules that I have found useful:
  • The Interaction/Isolation Principle: Strengthen interactions with allies (customers, employees, subcontractors, partners, etc.). Isolate opponents (from customers, their own employees, from partners, from subcontractors, etc.)
  • When you manage a unit (team, department, etc.), watch the queues!
  • When you manage several units (team members, collaborating departments, project portfolio, etc.), manage the interactions between the units, not the units themselves.
  •  Both Theory X and Theory Y are self-fulfilling. Therefore:
    • When you manage people, use Theory Y!
    • When you design the organization (structure, rules, etc.), use Theory Y! (Read up on Gore & Associates, Semco, the Virgin Group, Whole Foods, Google, and somewhat surprisingly, the U.S. Marine Corps.)
  • People overestimate themselves and underestimate other people. It follows that:
    • You are not as smart as you think you are. Therefore, from time to time, you need help!
    • People around you are smarter than you think they are. Therefore they are more able to help you than you think they can. (Theory Y says they are also willing - you just need to ask politely.)
  • Read at least 4-6 serious management books each year.
  • Practice what you read.
  • Integrate theory and practice by reflecting on it.
  • Learn to read frickin' Process Control Charts! And why!!!
  • Learn Little's Law and it's implications!

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