A year of work in progress – day 157

Day 157 – 16 September 2014

I’ve been in management for over thirty years. You would think that I would be quite good at it by now. It’s a cliché I know but learning to manage people is a journey, a one without end and that is what makes it so fascinating. You have to understand what works for you, build upon your successes and learn from your mistakes. It is a constant application of what you have experienced to an ever-changing landscape. There is no right or wrong way and no perfect or absolute outcome, just a steady desire to move forward.

Of course I have read many books on the subject, all of the greats and many of the not so good. They all tell you that they can reveal the key that will open up your own nirvana and will lead you to that promised land of leadership. They are filled with the ten steps to this or the seven habits of that and four step processes described in windows or circles that, if followed will simplify what is a complicated business.

A couple have stood out for me, ‘The One Minute Manager’ by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson and ‘Six Thinking Hats’ by Edward de Bono (not strictly a management tome). I’m thinking about adding a third to the list as I’ve finished ‘First Break All The Rules’ by Curt Coffman and Marcus Buckingham.

Yes it has the four steps that you need to do and the twelve questions that you have to ask but there is more to it than that. Firstly there is a recognition that people have different talents and that no amount of training will make someone good at something if they aren’t blessed with the initial talent. Indeed you will get a greater return from developing someone who is already good to be better than focusing on those who can’t grasp the task. Secondly, the role of a manager is to make sure that talent is developed and that everyone is put into a role in which they can excel.

This approach is so different from what we have and has given me food for thought. Yes we invest in people and try to develop talent yet there is an assumption that anyone can be trained into any role and we all know that is not true.

This afternoon was at Northumberland where we had our third round of presentations to the team. I am determined to keep these going because it is an important way to keep a focus on communications and (hopefully) the flow of information. Neil covered iNorthumberland (England’s most northerly broadband programme), accommodation, projects and people. I talked about what is going on between the two organisations.

I received my basic disclosure statement from Disclosure Scotland and so I am officially dull and uninteresting.

Learning points for today: Less vague is a step forward; purple is the new grey; I had a starter but didn’t have a pudding and; it’s officially a long way from Durham to Morpeth and vice versa.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – clarity prevails.

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