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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