Archive for the 'Manager-once-Removed' Category

Stepping Up to Senior Management – Your New Kettle Of Fish

If you’d like to watch me go through this on video, just click here.  6 mins with captions.

Senior Management is not just more management.  It’s a new kettle of fish.  I’ll go through:

  • The change in the nature of the work
  • What the job actually is
  • Action To Take

Senior Management

First – what are we talking about here?  The key thing is manager of managers.  Or, managers of multiple teams, who each have their own leadership.  These roles can be called various things, some of the ones from my clients are:

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Create the Capability in your team so the work gets done…without you!

(If you would prefer to watch me go through this on video rather than read, click here)

In my previous article, I introduced the Three Cs so your people can do their jobs, which allows you to do your job.  They are:

The previous article was on Clarity, this one’s about Capability – what each individual needs to bring to the party so they can do the work.  

There’s no genius to the idea that for someone to be able to do their job (so you don’t have to do their job), they need the capability to actually do their job.   What we need is a way to understand what this means.   This is useful in hiring when you’re bringing people into a role, but also more commonly when you’re thinking about why isn’t the job happening the way you thought it would happen.


The pyramid shows five aspects that make up a person’s capability to do the job.  And like all pyramids, the foundation is at the bottom.  However, we’ll start from the top, and we’ll use the analogy of a professional cyclist to help understand.

The Capability Pyramid
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Cross-functional work – a method for getting it sorted


I was wondering if I might be able to seek your guidance on sorting out cross-functional relationships.  Is there a process you suggest we follow so we can really sort ourselves out so we can be a better organisation for both customers and employees?


Very glad you asked – getting clear in this area is about not forcing people to rely on favours and politics to get their basic work done.  It’s a service to our fellow humans!

Cross-functional roles, or ‘Task-Initiating Role Relationships’ (TIRRs) as Elliott Jaques referred to them are how work gets done.  We tend to to see the org chart as reality, when it’s actually just a visual representation of who reports to who, and what each person is there to deliver.  In reality all work is passed on to someone, either internal or external – so all work is some sort of flow, which means…it mostly goes across.

This means that it’s one of the fundamental accountabilities of every manager to set up how work ‘works’ in their area.  And a crucial part of this is the TIRRs.

So how do we do this?  First we start with WHO.

We teach in our workshops and our online learning that 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).