Thoughts on Management
When it comes to how achievement is measured in businesses, there is often a dilemma. On the one hand, companies are usually successful in communicating, with their employees and the public, what it is they do and what business they are in. In commercial real estate, for example, companies are in the business of maximizing the value of the properties they own and manage. They make money by leasing space over time and by keeping what they spend to manage their buildings at a lower level than what they take in as rent, fees, and other income. This is the "what" of their business, the part that is easy to understand.
How they do it is a completely different matter. The "how" part consists of company policies, common business practices, technical knowledge, company culture, and methods of working with people to achieve common goals. This also includes how performance is evaluated, how the diverse skills of employees are selected and melded so that there is a balance of talents, and how the overall performance of the teams of people that make up the company is helped to improve over time.
Experience shows that most companies are better at the "what" than they are the "how." The "how" part is a challenge to describe and to sustain over time. It is more of an artistic exercise than one based in science and hard facts.
The best companies, in the "how" realm, do two things well: One, they clearly define the roles that their people play individually and, two, they frequently communicate what is expected in terms of performance of individuals, teams, and the whole organization. In short, good companies have good management, or "people," practices. Many companies that call themselves successful do not. The problem is that companies are made of up people, not inanimate objects.
In other words, good managers coach their people, even if they don't call it coaching. Good coaches protect their "players" from unreasonable demands, whether they come from peers, bosses, or even the player him- or herself. Good coaches identify company objectives and get players to see them as their own objectives.
The players of good coaches always know where they stand with the coach and within the framework of a team. Their progress is assessed frequently if not daily. There are no surprises when it comes to formal evaluation. They are not told things like "you're not a team player" when the season (or project) concludes. That is unfair and incompetent coaching.
Performance is the responsibility of both the employee and management. Most people want to succeed and do well in their jobs. They want to contribute to the overall company goals. It is not as often the case, however, that managers see it is their responsibility to work with their people in a direct way to achieve desired goals. It is ironic that many managers don't see "people" work as their main jobs, on a daily basis.
As a result, their people eventually founder. They lose focus, interest, and zeal. They feel unappreciated, underutilized, disconnected, and they eventually find their ways out of the situation.
In sum, good companies have both unusual insight into and common practices to support how they want their people to work together and conduct themselves toward common purposes, fun, and profit. These ideas are not easily transferred from one company to another. They have to be developed from within.
Skip Corsini is a consultant and writer with a twenty-five year career in marketing, business development, training and development, communications, and education. He has served in finance, real estate, and high technology, and in non-profit organizations. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1973, and his California teaching credentials from Sonoma State University in 1979. His professional training includes completed coursework in Bank of America's Xerox Selling Skills program, Citibank's SPIN Selling course and Dale Carnegie Training. To contact Skip call 415.205.3039 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org .
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