In his book, Co-opetition, Adam Brandenburger uses the metaphor of "Games Theory" to try and explain to business leaders that business is not war and can't be seen with a win-lose mindset. Rather he suggests that it is about growing the "pie" and also making sure that however you grow the pie, you should also get a larger amount of the total pie for your efforts.
I've talked to a lot of managers over the years who lament at the "skills-gap." They claim they're just not able to find the qualified candidates they need to fill their jobs.
It's almost a given now that, if we want to work with people, we need to know their personality traits. Most managers have been to some sort of personality "typing" workshop to help them understand how to get the most from their team members and get along with their own managers. Some of the more popular offerings used in the corporate world and for human resource hiring include the DiSC, and Prevue. A number of other are also popular for both team building and hiring purposes: the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), the 16PF (or 16 personality factor), and the "Big Five" also known as the "Five Factor Model." Not happy with any of these? Not to worry; there are dozens more to choose from.
I've completed many of these for myself and I've even administered and interpreted some of them to my clients during my career as a counselor. Some of their findings I resonate with; others I find to be a stretch. The problem isn't in the testing; it's how we treat people.
I once inherited a project that was 2 years late. The project had languished for so long that can be a challenge to breathe new life into a project that everyone has given up on and tossed into the corner of their "other duties as assigned" pile.
I once finished a engagement with a company that had a difficult time with decision-making. Managers and directors would say to their employees, "I need you to get this this number, or change the system to do this." But they would offer no context on why they needed that number or change.
I've lost count of the number of articles that have come across my feed with titles like, "Reaching out to Millennials", "Understanding your target market", or "What Boomers need." Traditional marketing models are based on carving up the universe of all potential customers into age, race, gender, and income levels. If your product or service can appeal to a large enough subset of this universe with sufficient buying power, then you have a shot at being successful.
The best managers are the ones that add value to the organization. They don't just assign work, make sure people show up for work on time, and tell people when to get their assignments finished. They are also invaluable in identifying how to do work smarter, how to become more productive as a team, and how to align the work their team does and the skills their team possesses with the actual business goals and directions of the organization.
But the longer a manager serves in his or her role, the more likely that fatigue will set in; management will erode to the point where the manager gives up his or her strategic vision and eventually goes through the motion of making sure people show up for work on time, assign work, and make sure that assignments are finished on time.
Wheeler, Michael. 2013. The Art of Negotiation: How to Improvise Agreement in a Chaotic World". Simon & Shuster. New York. ISBN: 978-1-4516-9042-2
I'd become acquainted with Michael Wheeler's book some time ago and put it on my professional reading list. When I finally got around to picking it up, it did not disappoint. He maps out his book into four sections:
Probably one of the least enjoyable parts of management is dealing with an employee or direct report who is just not meeting expectations. What makes these difficult discussions so hard is that we often put them off simply because they are so unpleasant. As a result, when we do finally sit down with the person, the discussion either turns into an adversarial rather than a constructive conversation; one or both of us either blows up, talks past each other, or seeks to win the argument rather than solve the problem.
The scenario in our head usually plays out something like this:
Trying to manage the pace and practice of change is one of the hardest activities any enterprise needs to undertake. Within the Information Technology sector, we have seen the pace of these changes firsthand. No enterprise can be competitive if it doesn't leverage server virtualization, cloud computing, and mobile web applications. Commercial off the shelf (COTS) software has replaced most if not all custom software applications because it is cheaper, has a faster time to market, is easier to support, and is usually more responsive to changing business needs.