judging, risk, Toby Elwin, blog

Fast Start — How to Beat the Odds Judging Risk

Fast Start conversation:  People overestimate their ability to judge risk.  Both the upside potential as well as the downside loss. Incomplete data plagues all who make decisions, but a weatherman and a doctor, highlighted in How to Beat the Odds at Judging Risk, differ in how they manage bias. There are keys to estimate probabilities more accurately and prompt feedback is at the heart.  What other keys are shown to help? Where does your overconfidence to evaluate incomplete information cause the greatest risk to success?

facebook, employee engagement, wrong, Toby Elwin, blog

What’s wrong with employee engagement? Ask Facebook

Praise in public, scold in private. Many are coached on this. But what happens when a single manager’s lack of self-awareness meets the level of the Facebook video a father posted to his daughter? See video below?

What, you ask, can the paternal bond of a father and a daughter offer management? The situation, I witness far too often, is a manager’s tough love, just as a father hides behind, will snap an employee or co-worker back into line. The father in this video uses tough love and tough love seems a viable option in a far too many manager tool kits, as well.

Controlling bosses cause poor work

A boss gets things done through others.  An ability to influence others to meet a goal is critical to get things accomplished.  Some call management influence, others call management coercion.  Influence or coercion, controlling bosses cause employees to strive towards goals that are opposite to the boss. Bosses are managers, bosses manage resources:  time, money, and employee each are finite resources.  Employees value freedom and autonomy and will react to a boss with poor work.  A Duke University study looked at significant others and the impact a significant other, to include boss, has on goals.  As little as a subliminal flash of the name of the controlling ‘other’ was enough to produce poorer work. There is a psychological mechanism that connects the love of freedom and the behavioral response, this mechanism is called reactance.  Unconscious and unintentional rejection of goals [that …

Fistful of beans 08/24/2011

3 of things I’ve seen, read, or thought might seed results: 1.   Bored People Quit — Rands in Response blog People who quit say:  “I don’t believe in this company.”  Bored people quit. The author of this post is neither an HR professional nor an organization development/behavior professional, this author simply manages people.  I say simply because a people manager’s primary job is people.  Managers manage people like it their job, not their nuisance.  This rather raw article is written by a manager who realizes bored people are the manager’s fault; his fault. I think of boredom as a clock. Every second that someone on my team is bored, a second passes on this clock. After some aggregated amount of seconds that varies for every person, they look at the time, throw up their arms, and quit. Take a read …

Influence of The Modern Firm

Organizations design success promotes relations:  relations of people within the firm, relations of strategic chioces within environmental features.  The modern firm serves to coordinate the actions of people and motivate groups of people to carry out activities. An individual’s self-interest presents on-going motivation challenges that compete against what an organization wants. Quick example:  someone with a fixed salary who works extra hard provides the firm with their gain from increased output generated.  The gains accrue to the firm, not the worker, whose salary does not change. Personal view competes with organization view and in that case, what happens? In, The Modern Firm: Organizational Design for Performance and Growth, by John Roberts, the design goal is to shape the organization to align interests of its members to increase efficiency of choices for the total organization value. Brief:  The most fundamental responsibility of a general manager is to craft strategy …

great wall of china, done versus accomplished, Toby Elwin, blog

Getting it done versus getting it accomplished

Some people, and some organizations, can confuse very elemental operational concepts.  The confusion is tough to trace to a culture issue or a perception issue between getting it done versus getting it accomplished. Getting it done means you care more about finishing than about quality of what you finish. Very different terms. Very different concepts. An alternative way to think about the difference between getting it done versus getting accomplished is like working with someone who continues to advocate the intuitive versus someone who advocates the empirical. Stretched further it is the induction versus the deduction. Very different theories. Just as managing by lists is very different from managing by milestone. When you manage by list, you only view the blades of grass.  However, when you manage by milestone you have the entire field in perspective. When you manage by list you only concern …

Project management is useless without scale, Toby Elwin, blog

Project management is useless without scale

Project management is a profession. Project management is a discipline. Project management is a skill. Project management is a function. Project management is a process. Project management is knowledge. Whatever it is, project management is useless without scale and project management helps no one if it is not scaleable. Compare an accounting function of a Fortune 50 company to an accounting function in a 60-person organization.  The goals are the same, the business function is critical, but the processes of a Fortune 50 accounting department would cripple a start-up.  The start-up employee would topple over trying to maintain form and procedure of a Fortune 50 department and never get time to build the company. Scale is important to the tools, the techniques, and the discipline needed. The best project management and the mature project management organization realize that yes, a project management plan rolls up and includes the …

Accounting, Bailout, Bloomberg, Businessweek, toby elwin

Fistful of beans 04/13/2011

4 things I’ve seen, read, or thought might seed results: 1. Managing the Motivation Equation — Chief Learning Officer Leveraging motivation theory can reduce intention-action gap.  What is the intention-action gap?  Outside work the intention-action gap can be saying you will call you mother every Sunday, but rarely do.  At work the intention-action gap can be saying you intend to show up at work on time, but the majority of times you do not. Many organizations struggle to make learning stick, with the finances directed toward learning how can you resolve learners who find ways to do anything but learn?  Or to prevent learners from falling back into old habits because they lack motivation? Whenever an organization identifies a learning need, one of the first questions should be, “How will we motivate our learners to change?” The answers to this question must …

business, failure, project, management

Business strategy failures are project management failures

The essence of strategic change is not a new direction, but a series of directives. What to start, what to stop, and what to continue comes from the strategic plan. That plan really acts as a road map or charter for change.  A plan not carried out is a project failure for the business. The difficulty of strategy implementation is a recognized challenge and a Booz Allen* study concluded that 73% of managers believe that the difficulty of implementing strategy far surpasses that of formulating it. Plan, Do, Check, Fact Business strategies that fail are really project management failures and the essence to manage a successful project is as much about managing behavioral change as operational change.  Planned change refers to a premeditated, agent-facilitated intervention intended to modify organizational functioning for a more favorable outcome (Lippit, Watson, and Westley 1958). While an …

Fistful of beans 12/22/2010

5 things I’ve seen, read, or thought might seed results: 1.  Is the belief that mergers drive revenue growth a delusion? — McKinsey Quarterly To evaluate a merger’s success evaluate the impact on revenue.  Revenue determines the outcome of a merger, not costs; whatever the merger’s objectives, revenue is what hits the bottom line harder. In a merger too many companies lose revenue momentum as they concentrate on cost synergies or fail to focus on postmerger growth in a systematic manner.  A study by Southern Methodist University of 193 mergers, worth $100 million or more found that only 36% of the targets maintained their revenue growth in the first quarter after the merger announcement and by the third quarter, only 11% had avoided a slowdown against industry peers. Complementary strengths for repeated success successful acquisitions: 1.  Cost disciplines are “hardwired” at …

toby elwin, talent management, magazine, blog

4 performance myths dispelled and no more performance reviews

September’s Talent Management magazine writer Mr.Harold D. Stolovitch provides a reality check within his Human Performance column titled Dispelling Performance Myths: High job satisfaction results in high performance When employees select their own work goals, their motivation to achieve them is greater Personality inventories used for selection purposes are strong predictors of job performance success Organized, supervised work teams outperform self-managed teams Fortunately Mr. Stolovitch also offers what to do differently for each myth. And to continue with another dose of cold-water in our never-ending quest to motivate and manage our greatest assets, September’s Talent Management magazine cover story tells us How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Employee; Start With a Performance Review.  Mr. Samuel Culbert advocates doing away with performance reviews, entirely! Heresy you say? Well, here’s his seven pieces of advice for true employee growth, see Mr. Culbert’s article …

Maslow, Hierarchy of Needs, Toby Elwin, blog

The key to innovation may be better employee hygiene

Today’s drive for continual innovation, as taught or written or sought or crowd sourced, has a lot to do with early pioneers in management theory. For example, why is hygiene important to innovation? Key to innovation: motivation, And motivation needs hygiene to succeed. The humanistic management school emphasizes, however strange it may sound, the human aspects of organizations. The humanistic school stands in direct contrast to the mechanistic views of people, jobs, and organizations. A distinct management theory split from mechanistic to the introduction of humanistic views is usually assigned around the mid-1940s, or just after World War II. Who Punted My Cheese We all know the saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.  By blowing some of the dust off first edition humanist theorists we might highlight where we’ve come, what we’ve forgotten, and what we …

The bureaucrat and bureaucracy revisited

Max Weber (1864 – 1920) was a German sociologist, political scientist, and economist and was an admirer of forms of organizations found in German government circles.  His views on bureaucracy, when revisited, provide an interesting set of implications, my comments, if any, are in brackets: Each office has fixed duties Impersonal rules and regulations apply to governing conduct [most HR handbooks] A hierarchy of offices with graduated levels of authority coordinates efforts [executive suite and management layers] Reliance placed on written communication and files of documents [documented process/procedure and knowledge management] Employment is a full time career for the members of the organization [also known as a professional] Officials appointed to office by their superiors [performance reviews] Promotion based on merit [360 degree performance reviews] Seems there is a lot of carryover from Max Weber’s 20th century observations. Is Bureaucracy …