Archive for April, 2013

Don’t pull….get lifted!


Here’s one you’ve either heard or said yourself – “I’ve got to pull myself out of the weeds, I’m involved in the detail and I can’t get moving“.

Familiar?  Here’s why people struggle in this area – the concept that they need to pull themselves up.  It won’t happen because of the natural principles of how work organises.  The way to get out of the weeds (an expression which, by the way, is fundamentally insulting to the work of your people) is to allow yourself to be lifted by creating solid layers of work. Read more…

Different Level…Different Bang for Buck


There’s an easy way to distinguish the different work at successive levels in the organisation.   Look at the bang for buck each level is expected to contribute, not just in terms of ‘what about’, but ‘by when’.   Including a timeframe allows us to set up middle and executive management that can add real value, while allowing the frontline to get on with their work.

It works like this for the first three levels in the organisation, which are all about delivering:

1a) Frontline: Deliver bang for buck today, or in a matter of weeks. Read more…

Higher up does not mean vague it up

Tractor 2

Where to sir?

There’s something I’ve seen in organisations more than once, that if we put into a saying would read like this: “the higher you go in management, the more vague you can be about what you actually want“.  This sentence will not exactly generate wise nods around the executive table, but it seems to be true a lot of the time.

Why does this occur? Three reasons 1) behavioural , 2) cognitive capability and 3) knowledge & skill

For behavioural, it means Read more…

Sorting the leader manager thing

Roles and verbs

The leader / manager distinction.

I’ve seen chapters in textbooks on it.  I’ve seen MBA courses spend an entire session debating this.   And I’ve never got any use out of any of it.

Here’s a way to sort this out that is actually useful:

Manager is a type of role.  If you are accountable for the work of someone else, then guess what?  You are a manager.  Just like if you are accountable for the work of moving a football forward to score goals, you are a football player.

(How much time do you think people running football clubs spend discussing ‘what is a football player?’) Read more…

How to increase your capability

I had some questions from my last post on cognitive capability on how to increase it.  Here’s the answer:

Don’t smoke.  The is the single most important thing you can do to increase your capability.

The second is 30 minutes of movement per day.

The third is healthy diet.

Not what you expected?   The thing is, the only way you can increase your cognitive capability is to not die.  This is because while your cognitive capability will unfold at it’s own rate, that rate has been shown by research to be predictable over time. Read more…