Archive for February, 2016

Who’s fault is organisational pain?

“My Distribution area is driving me insane!”  So declared Lisa, and I could see genuine anger in her eyes.  Lisa owned the company.

“You mean Teresa’s area?  What’s going on” I asked.  Teresa was Senior Manager Distribution.

“I’ve tried everything we’ve been speaking about.  I’ve asked Teresa to put together her plan for the next 18 months.  I’ve asked her to get more clear in assigning work.  I’ve asked her to make sure she’s got the capability that she needs…”  Lisa paused.

“Go on” I said.

“And she’s been in your workshops.  The one we did last year, then I know you ran a 2-day session for her and her directs so they would all understand the management practices we’re putting in here.  Everyone else got one day, but I wanted her to have the extra training.   Despite all that…”

“Despite all that…What are you seeing?”

“Well despite all that, her area has missed on delivery targets to our retail network again, I don’t know how many times this year, cost per delivery continues to rise, and I just found out today that we had a bunch of customers at one of our stores who were ready for the new range in the catalogue….but do you think that range had been delivered?”

I nodded in understanding.


I jumped as I’d assumed the question was rhetorical.

“I’m guessing no” I said quietly.  “And I also know this….you’ve got a problem”.

“You’re damn right I’ve got a problem.  It’s called Teresa.”

“Actually, you are 100% wrong.” Read more…

No therapy required: How to get your people working together

Have you, or are you about to, invest money in getting your people to work better as a team?  To get them to get along, to understand each other, to form closer bonds so work will truly flow across your organisation like the ball moving from defence to attack?

Your motives are pure.  You want your people to work better together.

But there’s something you need to do first.  Here it is, the biggest piece of obvious you will have read for quite some time:

To get your people to work better together, tell them how their roles work together.

That’s it!

Are you laughing?  Does this seem too simple to you?  Well it is simple.  A better word for it is foundational.

Would you agree that it’s a foundational condition for effectiveness that people in roles have an understanding of how their roles fit together?  That things are easy when people ‘know where they stand’, when they know who can ask who to do what in terms of their core jobs,  the reason they are there?

We need this sorted.  Your people need this sorted.

So you have a choice.  You can invest in friendship training, and then hope that your people can figure out for themselves how their roles fit together.  They might even do so.  And if you can afford the coffees and the lunches and your competitors and/or customers are happy to wait….sounds great.

Here’s the other way.  Decide, then tell them how their roles work together.  Here’s some examples:* Read more…

From the Inbox: Who approves reclassification requests?

A question from my Inbox (feel free to ask your own, click here)

Hi Adam,

A question: We’re reviewing our policies at the moment, and this came up: Should the Manager-once-Removed have a role in assessing role reclassification requests?  Any light you can shed appreciated.

Hey there,

The answer is: the MoR is not just involved, they actually make the decision!  Because in a well-designed hierarchy, the MoR is the supplier of resources (in this case, salary budget) to the Manager of the person making the request (I’m assuming the request takes the Manager out of agreed budget limits).

Let’s take a typical hierarchy of Specialist – Senior Manager – General Manager.

The mental leap here is that it’s the Senior Manager requesting the reclassification based on a recommendation from the Specialist. The Specialist is providing advice on how more could be delivered (or is actually being delivered) and the resourcing required, the Senior Manager agrees, and it’s the General Manager, as the Manager-once-Removed to the Specialist, who makes the decision.  This is because they are the supplier of resources (salary) to the Senior Manager.

The Senior Manager says something like this to their GM: “This is what I can deliver with more funding; the funding would go to a reclassification of Jim’s role.”

You could draw the analogy to the Senior Manager asking for funding for an upgraded piece of technology to deliver more, but remember people have feelings, so don’t get carried away with this comparison (unless you’ve got Sarah Connor in your team).