All posts filed under: Skills

All about developing competencies

Fire the Project Manager

The last decades have seen a key trend in organisations: more and more work is carried through “Projects“. The actual content of what a Project is varies from company to company, but as a rule of thumb the common element of it all is that somebody assumes the role of “Project Manager“. Other elements instead (the availability of a resource plan or of a specific budget) vary instead. Very often this is a part time role, assumed by somebody in the Organisation who is supposed to continue carrying on its own job at the same time. But in many cases this role is delegated to a “specialist” in Project Management. This can be an internal resource, or more often a contractor, who professionally does project management by applying one of the many methodologies available. The goal of this role is to ensure that the project itself is maintained within budget, planning is respected, results achieved. I guess you all recognize this. Yet a sentence I heard a couple of days ago from an executive made …

Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Then stay home!

Well, it may sound really weird to give this suggestion, but I must say that sometime this is really the best thing to do in certain cases. I’m not talking about the usual monday morning sindrome, or simply when you feel a bit “exhausted”. I’m talking about those days where everything seems impossible already from the first hours of the morning. The reason could be because you’ve not sleeping well, or you have had a fight with your important half, or for whatever reason are exploding of negative energy. If this is the case, please just stay home. Why? Because that shit is contagious. Not only does it spread like crazy in the workplace – it follows employees home and infects their personal lives. You think a flu will affect your office’s productivity level. Try the a-hole in marketing who decided it was his mission to crap on anyone and everyone who comes close to his workspace. Oh it’s not them he’s angry with…but they are going to know how he feels. Well, I don’t think …

Are you really too busy to innovate?

It is really incredible how much time each of us spends everyday in useless or low value activities, instead of concentrating on what your company would need the most: innovation. To a certain extent we have become too “efficient”. So we do not put enough attention to the thinking process that is at the basis of creativity and innovation. We are simply too busy to innovate, and what’s worse, we seem to enjoy the busyness over the contemplation necessary for innovation. Like a man who starves to death in a bountiful land because he is too busy to plant, many businesses will wither because they were too busy to innovate. This is what Jeffrey Phillips writes on his blog. And I believe he is really right. We spend endless hours into meetings for the sole purpose of being present (I will come back on this, but for the moment you can read this great article on how to avoid being dragged in too many meetings), endless call conferences, tons of email whose relevance is all …

A Basic Skill for Managers: Decision Making

What is that makes a good manager? Good decisions, many would say. Issue is that, apparently, many managers find it more and more difficult to take decisions. Of course the ubiquitous phrase “go with your gut” tells us a lot about the importance of instinct and intuition in decision-making. But… not everybody is ready to go this way. And elements such as reason and experience need to come into scope. The key issue of decision-making is making sure it comes at the right time. This means that a key skill needed for managers, is taking decision by balancing the need of detailed knowledge and the timeliness of the decision. There are many Decision-Making tools that can help different people to sustain their decision-making approach. However, I’d like to recap what a good decision should be about. First of all decision-making is a process that needs to involve various steps: Identify the purpose of your decision. What is exactly the problem that needs to be solved? Why should it be solved? Is there a need at all for a …

Management is NOT Leadership

In so many organisations there is a lot of confusion between the terms Leadership and Management, up to the point that they are very often used as synonyms. A huge mistake! In a recent post on HBR John Kotter has listed a set of three mistakes that people make on the issue: The fact that both words are used interchangeably. Dangerous because the two words are effectively indicating two different vital functions in one organisation. The fact that people call the top hierarchy of an organisation “leadership”, and the lower levels of decision making “management”. Dangerous because this assumes that leadership should exclusively be a skill of the top executives, whereas management should be a skill linked to execution at lower levels. The fact that “leadership” is often used in terms of personality characteristics. Dangerous because this results in organisations limiting the amplitude of their leadership needs. This three mistakes are so embedded in the organizational dialogue today, that I recently heard an executive stating “I don’t have time to manage this, I ened to lead this organisation”. But how can …