Wednesday, August 15, 2007

one decision

Based on the one decision book and trying to cement the last post.

Is this a mistake I'm willing to make again?

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I need a better term for this but dang its important if you stay at company long term.

At Midway I have had the privilege of living with my mistakes for the last 10 years. As a director level manager these mistakes become more noticeable and smack me in the face ... Hard.

The recent mistake I'm living with is not planning for succession. Whether it is retraining a new crop of interns, mentoring 2 new studio art directors or interfacing with the 7th recruiting manager ... I am being reminded that it pays to document best practice, knowledge and preferred processes. This knowledge obviously should obviously be stored on a reliable sustainable knowledge sharing system besides my brain. Now if only knowledge sharing systems didn't change every 2 years.

So ... I'm making a note as I repeat myself ... is the most effective means to share this same information for the next person who fills these shoes.

Monday, August 13, 2007

tough crowd

So just sat through a day's worth of presentations with about 13 unique presenters ... with more tomorrow.

Reflecting on the day, the adage "know your audience" comes to mind. Each of these presentations represented a kajillion dollars and an equal number of good intentions(typically ... nobody thinks they are going look like an idiot when they present). With the message of how all these energies and resources was and will be spent being lost in translation with the audience.

Yesterday I said managers measure. This can apply to presentations too. Typically, presentations that I participate in serve the purpose of informing and persuading people to act. Applying a measurable criteria for success would be an interesting goal(s) for future presentations.

What are important and relevant criteria to measure? How well the unique selling propositions the product has to offer are communicated? How well did folks comphrend the upcoming objectives? What is the confidence level is the product's profitability? Did the presenter just read off the slides? I could go on.

Unfortunately if there is not buy in from others this winds up being paper exercise as an audience member. ... but the next time I present I'm Going to keep this in mind for my own development.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Manager Measures

Its been almost 10 months since I posted. When I was teaching I would post in effort to do the same thing I was asking my students to do. This semester upcoming fall I will not be teaching ... and last spring I had no excuse.

As a manager its key to measure. Managers measure performance, completeness and what ever is deemed of important relevance.

Determining the measurement criteria of what is important and relevant is where I get hung up. These hang ups are the typical cause for breakdowns or missed expectations with the folks I'm working with.

This is the root of many planning processes. As a manager, as a manager I need to be "disciplined" in listening to shame, blame and justification when working with others. This is usually the first signal of weakness in the system or the criteria. Analyzing the current state and find pathways to the ideal should be a priority. Map out the discrepancies in expectations, mind the gap. If the measurements still come back off, then it might be time to escalate.

I highlight the word discipline in this post because its my least favorite component of leadership that I have crystalized in my head. The others are vision, persausion, and theater of the position.

For awhile I have been poo-pooing management aspect of leadership and they are too intertwined to do so. Being a manager is being a leader who can get things done. Being manager is being disciplined to make the small non-sexy incremental improvements to achieve goals and objectives.