Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Bloody Obvious Management #2

Bloody Obvious Management is also about being both visible and personable. And when you have your head down and/or your head in the sand, that’s the kind of obvious stuff you might miss.

In my late 20s, I ran a lot of projects and I was given another one to run. Another project on an already busy workload. So I saw it as an irritant not an opportunity. And I didn't manage it well. I focused on the P&L, I focused on meeting targets, on what I would report to the CEO each Monday morning. And I forgot the obvious stuff - the P E O P L E bit. So much so, I wasn’t visible enough, I wasn’t hands on and I didn't even go and say hello to my new team for weeks! So my old-school technique did not result in wow results, just okay results, and that team wondered who or what I was.

But I learnt quickly. And by the time the next project came around I knew about the merits of Management By Walking Around. So much so, some co-workers quipped 'what does Ian Sanders actually DO?' as I was famous for being the guy walking around the building, trademark red file under my arm, talking to people, rather than 'doing stuff' (but of course, I WAS doing stuff). I talked to team members; I talked to everyone even people that in those corporate rules I had little business to talk to (like people who I had no day to day involvement with). But I persevered and learnt that lesson about making personal connections. I walked the floors, sometimes with an agenda, sometimes just to say hi.

And people may have still asked 'what is that guy doing walking around with his red file?' but I was visible and I made connections.

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