Work like you’ve quit

As a consultant that does turnarounds, I have worked with a lot of different companies undergoing a huge amount of stress.  Stress to the business, stress to the customers, and stress to the employees. I have seen a recurring pattern. Employees only endure a certain amount of stress before they decide it is time to leave.  When they have had success in the job hunt or have already put in their two week notice, they begin to add amazing value, becoming the best employee they have ever been. Sure, we all know people that announce they are leaving in two weeks and promptly disappear for long lunches and early weekends…that … Read More

Lead with honesty

 This is a follow on post from 5 steps to build support for metrics. In that post I talk about bringing your plan for change to your team before it is a fully formed idea, so you can get their input. Here is why this matters… I few years ago I was involved in a strategic planning session for top management.  We were going to be flown to a far off destination to enjoy sun, a little golf, and do some Blue Ocean thinking.  Well that is what most folks thought. As is pretty common on these trips, we were going to break into teams of about 8 people and brainstorm to … Read More

The one thing to never worry about – and the one thing to obsess about

Every day has plenty to do and keep on top of, and if you are like most people you have your fair share of things you worry about. The one thing you should never worry about is what can’t be done, and the one thing to obsess about is what must be done. People around water coolers all around the world can be heard commiserating about the things that can’t be done… “I can’t make the customer happy because I can’t set product priorities” “Our department can’t catch up because of a hiring freeze” There certainly are business constraints, but most of the time these “can’t stories” we tell ourselves … Read More

5 steps to build support for metrics

We have all seen it, someone has an urgent need to implement a set of metrics able to provide the visibility necessary to manage the business. As the manager of the team they are well within their rights to define and implement quickly, but they don’t involve their team so the resistance to change causes adoption to severely lag the intended target. Implementing metrics can be a bit tricky because there are two dimension of change at play here. First of all, things are different, and most people don’t like different. The second concern is that when it comes to metrics people have experience being bludgeoned by ham-handed managers armed … Read More

The 3 steps to not breaking the process

In the post, The first rule of change management, I wrote about the importance of not breaking someone’s job.  Since a person’s job is just a collection of processes they carry out, here are a few practical ways you can avoid breaking the processes necessary to get work done. 1. Get end users involved in creating system requirements and processes: Users can be tough to incorporate into the development effort.  They have a “regular job” that prevents them from spending enough time with you, they are not familiar with the process of designing and developing, and they have these nit-picky things they want done right at the beginning.  Nobody said it would be … Read More

The first rule of change management

Don’t break my job! Change management is popular these days, and it seems the Project Management Institute (PMI) is especially interested in driving this aspect of the project management discipline lately; with good reason.  75% of initiatives fail to achieve the projected ROI(1), and a 2002 study by McKinsey found that on large projects there was a gap of 108 percentage points between those with excellent change management and those with no program or a poor change management program(2). As with many things, the right way to do it is also the common sense approach.  I was doing a large scale operating system migration and deployment several years ago.  As part of … Read More

Let’s hear it for the managers!

We hear a lot about leadership these days, and leadership is important, but what about management? The typical debate about leadership or management puts leadership in a lofty, strategic position and typically casts management as the work done by people that have not made it to the leadership level.  Don’t get me wrong, we need people that can lead, but managers turn strategy into revenue, they turn fluff into stuff! I would like to take a moment to recognize the value of managing and give you 4 reasons to be proud you are a manager: You understand your industry: No industry hopping for you, you have been in industry for years, and maybe even decades. … Read More