Saturday, September 18, 2021

You are not a machine

This is an interesting illustration that resonated with a discussion I was having recently about doing ones best. It perfectly encapsulates how you need to give your best each day, but the outcome is not always better than the last. 

Some days the outcome is amazing, a high that you need to cherish and the next day as you give your best, the outcome might not be as good or better than the last. This should not lead to disappointment and dejection. It is to be expected as we are not machines, and we have our good days and our bad. We are also influenced heavily by the environment around us and circumstances each day that may not be in our control that will not allow the same. 

Enjoying what one does makes it easier to give ones best. When you do not enjoy what you do it is hard to commit yourself to it whole heartedly. So find what is it you enjoy doing and then master that and deliver your best to get the best outcomes. 

Friday, September 10, 2021

Traits of an effective manager

Effective Managers are those that can leverage the strength of their teams and achieve their goals. But to be able to do this they need to posses and showcase some important traits 
  1. Effective Managers are not focused only on short term wins. They have a growth mindset that focuses on the goal. 
  2. They are able to work through the difficult challenges and keep their cool. The task of solving the problem or achieving the goal is never easy and they are able to weather the storms by keeping theirs and their teams focus. 
  3. An effective manager has a curious mind, they are always thinking of different possibilities on either solving problems or possible paths to achieve the goal.
  4. An effective manager is able to make tough decisions and they are ready to face the consequences. Quick informed decisions are important to be made in order to move the team forward. 
  5. A good and strong manager should be able to inspire their team. They are effective communicators that can communicate clearly and can articulate the tasks the team needs to accomplish to achieve the goal.  
  6. An effective manager gets a deep understanding of the problem they are trying to solve. By ensuring this deep understanding, they are able to provide the necessary direction and guidance to the team and are also able to cancel out all the negativity around them by having laser sharp focus. 
  7. Effective managers manage by taking into consideration the needs of the stakeholders. Its important to have empathy. They should have an open mind and listen to their stakeholders and work towards meeting their needs. 
  8. They see the bigger picture when it is fuzzy and hazy to everyone else and they strive and lead everyone towards that bigger picture. They are focused on the long term even though they suffer short term struggles.
  9. Strong Effective Managers show trust in their team and do not micro manage their team. They know how to break down the tasks and give it to the team and believe in their team to deliver on them. 
  10. They always protect their team. They share the successes with the team and absorb the failures. They do not call out or embarrass team members in front of outsiders and expose the weaknesses of the team. 

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Management Reporting

 All managers want reports at varying frequency or even ad hoc. The question is why do they need these reports? I feel it is for anyone of the below reasons 

  1. They need them for decision making. This is mostly analysis of the past data or a report predicting the future based on various options. 
  2. To give them an understanding on the working of a process. Are the key metrics being tracked, maintained within agreeable limits? 
  3. Understanding the overall status of the project, how is it progressing against a timeline are there any risks or bumps ahead that can derail the project. 
Most of these reports are expected to be done by subordinates and most subordinates find it hard to build these reports and end up spending hours if not days doing these reports, taking them away from crucial operational issues that might require their attention. 

When managers request for reports they need to carefully consider the following 
  1. Are the current systems and processes tracking the information necessary to produce the report? 
  2. If the information is tracked, is it credible and cannot be tampered with?
  3. How long does it take to extract the information and produce the report?
  4. Does it give you enough information to satisfy your needs?
Having good reporting systems and business intelligence systems is good, but these systems will not work if the information being tracked is not proper or is not accurate. The old adage "Garbage In. Garbage Out." holds true when it comes to reporting. If the data being entered is garbage, the reports you get are going to be garbage. If a subordinate is going to prepare the report, they are going to prepare it in a manner that is going to make them look good. 

Hence, one needs to start right at the root, digitize processes and ensure the processes capture the necessary metrics (the more you collect the better) and those metrics are used to prepare the necessary reports to give the necessary answers or raise the necessary red flags. If this is not in place, no amount of reporting manually prepared is ever going to tell a manager the true health of their processes or help them make the right decisions. 

You do what you are

In the 2001 movie Along came a spider, there is an interesting quote by Morgan Freeman where he says "You do what you are" and the...