Manager Fundamentals

What I’ve learned throughout the years as a Manager is that there are three (3) essential things that are fundamental for your success. They are your ability; to Manage yourself, how you Manage your people, and how you Manage your work to execute for concrete results.

Number one, you must be able to learn how to “Manage Yourself” in order for you to be able to think clearly, manage your emotions, manage your energy and to understand your own ‘headspace’ capacity and its limits. This is very important as a Manager whose main tasks involve managing people to get things done. When you manage a group of people, you aren’t managing robots or managing paperwork, you are managing human beings with emotions, behaviors, thoughts, perspectives, aspirations, personal lives and life experiences. All of these attributes make up how your people work with you as their manager. You will run into stress and headaches if you aren’t able to manage yourself when things get out of control. You must be able to be self aware of your limits in emotions, headspace and energy for you to contain yourself. Your main job as a manager is to get things done through other people and when things get out of hand, you must find ways to deal with the situation without burning out. At times you will feel belittled, feel not respected, not sure of yourself, your people can hate you, talk about you behind your back, wait for your failure, the pressures of performing and you are at a boiling point when things don’t go the way you expect it to be; this is normal for a Manager to feel. You must possess the ability for you to “extinguish the fire inside of you”, and understand how to kill those flames inside to keep yourself from “blowing up”. You must control and manage your mind and control what you feed it. Finding ways to have a peaceful mind is key in managing yourself as a Manager.

Number two, you must be able to “Manage your people” by first understanding the characteristics of each one of them. You can do several activities that are suitable for you in order to understand who your people are. You’ll need to get to know them, from their strengths and weaknesses and to know them as an individual human being. If you have a small team, it’ll take a shorter period of time to know them on a one-on-one basis, but if you have a bigger team, you must find a way to get to know and understand all of them. Every manager has their own style of managing, but without knowing your people, you won’t be able to maximize your results of getting things done through other people. By knowing your people, you will be able to manage yourself better and utilize your people to set out the direction that you have aspired them to go to. You will need to have the ability to inspire your people to give their best efforts in achieving the needed goals. Your people need to be engaged in their work that they themselves know that they are an important factor in making things happen. You can conduct teamwork building activities to keep your people inspired and energized to keep them engaged. Also, it is a must to be on the same page with your people of what you expect of them, their ability to meet those expectations and how they are doing to meet your expectations. There are various tools and initiatives to get this going, but you and your people must be on the same page at all times to prevent miscommunication. Your team of people must understand that they have the duty to assist you as their manager to accomplish the needed goals. Your people need to be reminded of how important they are to the team, as they are not just peas in pod “doing their own thing” for the sake of work keeping themselves “busy” everyday. Your people are there to assist you to achieve concrete results in which you are responsible for as the Manager.

Number three, you must be able to “Manage your work” by your ability to execute your plans. You must jot down your plans physically on paper or on a laptop/computer for yourself and to show your people visually of your plans and direction. You can’t just “fly blindly” and expect things to happen. You’ve got to visually show your people where the direction is going and what you expect of them. You must then create a monitoring system for yourself in order for you to manage your own work and the work of your people. With this, you can create review sessions regularly with your people to keep track of the progress of goal achievement. This way you will have a daily focus to guide you and your people on the end goal.

In conclusion, remember these three essential things as a Manager:

1. You’ll need to Manage yourself, which means to manage your energy and emotions by managing your mind.

2. You’ll need to Manage your people, which means to manage your ability to know all your team members, inspire them and have them on the same page at all times to prevent miscommunication.

3. You’ll need to Manage your work, which means your ability to execute your plans through your people for concrete results.

Hope this helps.

Please share your experiences as a Manager, would love to hear it. Thank you.

Finding Peace of Mind

This is the first time I am sitting down, recording and working on a Rap-HipHop album. It won’t be a mixtape, not an EP, nor free singles for free download, or only featuring in someone else’s project, but working on a full blown LP aka “A Real Album”; It will consist of approx 15-16 tracks (songs) in the album.

Finding-Peace-of-Mind-E At the moment, the album will be called, ‘HerdiOflo – “Finding Peace of Mind.” I hope the title won’t change. But at the moment, it will be titled that. The album concept is quite simple, it speaks about how I’m trying to find Peace of Mind through my songs. How finding peace of mind is an inspiration to myself and hopefully inspiring to listeners. Finding your soul, your mind, your “in the zone” moments and your heart at peace with the world gives you comfort and confidence in how you move up in the world. I’m quite excited about it because it has been almost 15 years since I’ve gotten into this music and have actually never put out an LP album. Just looking forward to put something out. Will update you soon with a new video clip too droppin’. Cheers.

Succeeding as a Manager

As a Manager, have you ever had a situation when your subordinate is doing an awful job, failing or not working to a certain standard?  Well if you have this situation, then one of the first questions you have to ask yourself as a Manager is, “What have I done or haven’t done to make my subordinate fail.” Are you sure that your subordinate has failed because of his/her incompetence or is it because the system that you’ve placed for your subordinate as their Manager is flawed or is it that you haven’t done anything concrete to manage him/her to succeed. And who is responsible for your subordinate’s failure? You, as their Manager.

You like it or not, if an employee is giving sub-standard work, the first person that many have to question is his/her boss and what systems they have placed for him/her to fail.

This is the reason of why in professional team sports, the first person to leave an organization for a slagging slumping team is the Head Coach and not the Players.  This is the overall function of a Manager for an organization and all managers need to understand this. Yes, some managers say that there are always bad apples to a team and one needs to cut those bad apples out to get the team more productive and moving forward, but that’s for another topic we can discuss on another blog post.

Here below are some points on how you can succeed as a manager:

– A Manager’s objective is to help subordinates have more of an impact to the organization.

-Managers are no different than athletes. Managers must practice everyday and work hard everyday to improve their game. If your job title has Manager on it and you stay on cruise control, stay stagnant with no improvement or no progression moving forward, the greater force will automatically push you out of the system more ways than you can think of. That’s just how the world works. It can’t be explained, it just happens naturally. And if you try to play the, “I’m keeping my position” game and not contributing genuinely, you’ll be deflected out of the system more ways than you can think of.  So work on your game daily. Literally, daily.

– Its all about consistently reviewing processes and improving moving forward. If you can’t measure it, then you’re not managing it. If you’re not managing it then you shouldn’t be called a Manager.

– There’s a difference between Dumping work to your subordinates and Delegating work to your subordinates. Here’s the difference. Dumping work means, you as a Manager just dump a load of work and say, “I want you to do this, you understand? Any questions? I need it by 3pm tomorrow”. Delegating work means, telling them the whole story of why you want them to do it, get feedback for a meeting of the minds, set mutually agreed upon – specific deadlines, have a follow-up system in place that lets you monitor progress and install to use a rewards system if capable. You as a Manager should be Delegating work instead of Dumping work to your subordinates.

–  If your job title has the word “Manager” in it with subordinates to manage, these are the things that you should be doing;

a. Working toward goals,
b. Developing people,
c. Building a team,
d. Reaffirm standards,
e. Creating and sustaining a network (externally & internally),
f.  Being strategic and understanding the ‘how-to’ aspect of execution

– Great managers use a Preparation-Do-Review to convert every activity into a means of the following:

a. Pursuing some management purpose,
b. To make progress towards a goal,
c. To develop someone,
d. To reaffirm work standards,
e. To strengthen bonds among members of their team,
f.  To model the behavior they want,

– Managers get paid to solve problems, loosen bottlenecks, inspire, coach and make a significant contribution to growth and improvement. A basic process flow of your work should be about planning, execution, monitoring/controlling, evaluating/measuring results and repeating the process all over again. If you’re not doing any of those four things you’re not really managing, you’re just wasting the owner’s money.

– The key for Owners and Directors is knowing how to make all their managers understand this point of view of being a Manager.

What do you think? Do you all agree?

 

How To Analyze

The first question someone asked me, what does a business degree mean? What he was asking in other words was, what does it mean when someone has a degree/diploma in business, or what good is a person to a company if he possesses a business degree? I simply answered; He or she has been trained to create value or is a value creator. He or she finds ways to create value for the company.

Then the second question he asked was, if you had to give an SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) on how to analyze a situation for a company wanting to create a new product or service within a particular market, how would you create the steps. I would answer like this :

(1) Ask questions to understand the Current Situation

(2) Ask questions to understand the Objective

(3) Ask questions to find out the Industry

(4) Ask questions to find out the Competition

(5) Ask questions to find out the Company’s business Core competency (Business)

(6) What products generates revenue – Only product – revenue stream

(7) What is the Unique selling Proposition – how you differentiate yourselves?

(8) What are the Customer segments?

(9) Analyzing Cost structure. What are the fixed costs? What are the variable costs?

(10) What would you Price it?

Change Or Die

change_or_die

Change in business for a better business health correlates to change in your own behavior for personal health. The fierce business environment today leads to great pressures for success. With technology and internet taking its toll throughout businesses around the globe and playing a key role in business transactions, speed is vital for business success. Business executives are always on their toes to lead a lifestyle of constant intensity and fighting to win against competitors and winning the customer. This leads to many health issues amongst business executives. Even though statistics show that approximately 600,000 people have bypass heart surgery every year with approx 1.3 million heart patients to have angioplasties (procedure to improve blood flow to the heart and temporarily decreasing, all totaling to around 30 billion dollars, people still have a hard time of changing their behavior.

In business it is no longer about strategy, structure, culture or systems; it is about changing the behavior of people. To that extent, the title, “Change or Die”, literally means, “You either change your behavior in business, or you will die of a heart attack.”
With those numbers, people are seldom to change even after a crisis such as a heart attack.

Alan Deutschman speaks about in order to change people’s behavior, we need to talk to people’s feelings, motivate them to change. We don’t tell them to change because they will certainly not, and that is a consensus of 9 to 1 that people will not change in favor of 9.

He says that emotional persuasion to motivate change is not taught in business schools or in companies where professionals such as engineers, scientists, managers, lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc are too focused on day to day concrete analytical work. Professionals do not see the importance of emotional, psychological stability and turbulence to be important to business results.

So how do we get people to change their behavior to save their businesses and most importantly to save their lives?

The Ormish Program lead by Dr. Dean Ornish, professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, founder of the Preventative Medicine Research Institute, in Sausalito, California, has changed the motivation for change from the fear of dying, into the joy of living and feeling good about yourself. This change of motivation speaks to the feelings of people of chronic disease in changing their frame of thought.  In neuroscience, people think of concepts in their own mind frame as facts that don’t fit their mind frame often do not make sense. Persuading someone to change is not about giving facts to people, it is about changing their mind frame of thought or direction by making them feel good about themselves.

But it is not always about changing the mind frame, but creating a radical and instant change. Organizations and people tend to succeed more when instant and radical changes take place rather than slow and gradual change. This leaves people to be emotionally distressed because of impatience that they do not succeed. Radical change is important to instantly change behavior.

Changing behavior also needs support through the process of transformation. Without support, change will most likely not succeed.

Lastly, change deals with one’s brain.  The brain of the human being has been discovered as a plastically muscle that can be shaped throughout our lifetime with constant practice and usage. Change can be stimulated by what posit science calls a, “fifth day strategy,” meaning that employees within organizations spend 1 day to complete a task out of their comfort zone. For an example, software engineers work in marketing or designers involved in business functions such as accounting and operations.
Innovation and creativity can be achieved when people use both sides of their brain and intelligence rather than being controlled, told what to do, and work within corridors and boundaries.

We all must learn to master the art of change in order for us to have a healthy life in business and in our personal health. An important fact is that for heart patients, it is “change or die”, but for people with no heart problems and live life into our 80s, it is about, “change or lose your mind.”
We all must understand that we need to master the art of change to consistently live “the feel-good life”.

New Rules For Team Building

team_building_ringFrom my understanding about the new rules of team building, Professor Richard J. Hackman of Harvard University speaks about challenging the ‘Conventional wisdom’ of team building by stating many key points. ‘Conventional wisdom’ means a belief, idea or explanation that is widely accepted by the public or persons involved in the belief, idea or explanation.

To begin, let us first jot down the key points in the ‘Conventional wisdom’ of team building.

They are the following:

– When teams work together for a certain period amount of time, their teamwork reaches a peak where they no longer improve as a team.

– Team members get too comfortable with one another that it does not push one another to exceed to greater heights.

– Team members have the tendency to quickly forgive one another of their mistakes.

– Team members no longer enforce Standard Operating Procedures and have the tendency to justify one another of their mistakes.

– By regularly adding and changing new members, this creates teams on constant alert to improve.

But then again, why build a team?  Professor Richard J. Hackman speaks about that written creative expressions, and organizing ideas should be done by an individual versus that of a team, where he also mentions that committee reports should be written by an individual on behalf of a team. So why build a team and maximize them?

From my understanding and readings from outside sources, the objective of team building in the working environment is to create a collective output from each individual within the team where tasks being done mostly require different skills, experiences and judgment to establish maximum actual performance greater than that of an individual.

In meaning, building teams is important for organization success and should have a new set of rules in order for organizations to benefit from teams that make up within an organization.

Professor Richard J. Hackman challenges the above points of ‘Conventional wisdom’ of team building through the following points:

team-building– Keeping teams small. Why?

a. Speeds up the process of decision making.

b. Rule of thumb of 6 members within a team. Example: 6 member team have 15 possible pairs, 7 members 21 pairs, 12 members 66 pairs, 24 members 552 pairs. Meaning, “The more members, the slower the team progresses.”

c. Being able to clearly define individual contribution for the impact of team performance.

d. You can’t speed up late progressive process by adding more people.

Example: You can’t make 9 different women carry a baby one for each month until the baby is born. More people means slower process.

– Teams should not consistently change members and stay together longer. Why?

a. Familiar with strengths and weakness of team members.

b. Do not have to spend time and energy to orient themselves with one another.

c. Growth in team commitment.

d. Consistently improve actual performance and minimize errors. Example: National Transportation Safety Board ran tests of fatigued pilot crews whom stayed together longer performed less errors in comparison to rested pilot crews new in acquaintance.

– Teams must have clear direction and definition. Why?

a. To understand team objective.

b. To maximize individual talents.

c. To understand elements of organizational support within team.

d. To maximize team structure (Team Design).

e. To point out the ends of achievement.

f. To explain why the pursuit of direction.

– Emphasize leadership through coaching and promote self management.

a. Hands on coaching but not dictate details to team members from the leader.

b. To plant and refresh individual motivation.

– Individual contribution and Individual motivation within the team.

a. Turning individual talents into team players.

b. Identifying clear purpose, goals and approach.

c. Avoid Social Loafing -> Social loafing is when a team member hides within the team expecting that since being in a group of individuals, a team member has the right to soften and create less effort of contribution and commitment towards the team. This happens due to the lack of motivation from a particular team member.

– Reassessing teams after 3 months. How? Why?

a. Remind direction; assess design (structure), support (leaders & organization).

b. Identify road blocks & remove elements for improvement.

c. Exploiting successes for future performance.

– Team support from leaders and organization. Why?

a. Team members should know that they are being supported by leaders as well as the organization to create freedom and confidence to perform.

teambuildingKey learning points:

– Team building is not necessarily better than doing tasks individually (Depending on the task and objective).

– Social Loafing is a major factor to the erosion and ineffectiveness to team building.

– Individual motivation and skills within the team structure is vital for maximum team performance.

– Team unity and understanding is built through time.

– Individual appreciation within team members is knowing team boundaries.

– Understanding the goal, purpose and approach of each individual & team is key to maintain persistence in team building and performance.

In a closing remark, not did I only learn about team building through the readings, but I personally have reflected my own individual improvement for the sake of my own future. I am able to increase my abilities and behavior towards achieving team performance by understanding my individual contribution while staying motivated to always challenge conventional wisdom by searching for constant improvement within every idea, belief and approach. It is the leader that creates leaders that is important to building teams as improving one’s life through knowledge is what truly matters.

Timothy Ferris : The 4 – Hour Workweek

4-hour-workweekHooray!! I’ve just bought my own copy of “The 4-hour Workweek” written by Timothy Ferriss. Its been nearly 1 whole year since I’ve been reading about the book with interviews, watching videos on youtube, as well as browsed through the website of thefourhourworkweek.com to find information.

Being in Indonesia, I wanted to wait until the book hit the shelves locally so I could get my own copy at a cheaper price than if I’d directly ordered from amazon.com the day it came out in 2007. I’ve been following up on the teachings but none of it made sense to me, because the info that I’ve received through the web were just sections or parts of the book where putting it all together would not be possible without reading the entire book from the beginning to the end.

I bought the book at a local bookstore and without thinking about it I directly purchased it! There were 2 copies left as I asked the cashier if there were any more copies and he said that they only had 2 copies in the store. Woaw, close call, I almost missed out on the opportunity as great books are hard to come by down here; we must constantly browse bookstores or browse through www.juraganbuku.com

Ok, first impression of reading the beginning of the book, I directly reflected and said, “wow, this is me and my concept of life but just never knew how to interpret it until clearly manifested and stoned carved by the great Tim Ferriss.” I’ve been envisioning the new rich lifestyle all along but just never confident about my own concept and notion of life that I was always being shunned out or mistangled by the notion of ‘normal people lives’ – go to school, get a good job, get married, have kids, and teach the same process to our kids.

Luckily, it has been defined and answered and I’m going to prove the world that living the life we choose is the ideal way to live this short life. We shouldn’t be told how to live our own lives, as we were born alone and will end this life alone. We must choose to be happy with love and integrity.

Ok, back to the 4 hour week; I’m still halfway into the book as the book consists of many eye popping concepts that seem “scary (in a good way)” to me, because I truly feel the same way. I do believe this is the book thats going to change my entire life forever. And residing in the third (3rd ) world, I’m going to prove that the new rich & new lifestyle does not only exist in first (1st) world countries, but me being a third (3rd) world citizen can also live the concept of the new life being from a background of simple-low economical status.

I’m not going to talk about the book much as I plan on taking you more to my practices of the book, as I work to live out the 4-hour workweek from the perspective of a 3rd world citizen.

Well, in some parts of the book, Timothy states that being ‘unrealistic’ is the way to perceive life, and so I’m thinking, would it be possible for me to meet him and talk about my 3rd world journey of living the new rich and new lifestyle?

Does anyone have his phone number? I’d like to call him up 🙂

Determination & Perseverance

On today’s post, I’d like to talk about perseverance and determination. Before we start, I’d like to define the definition of Determination and Perseverance below.

Determination – “The quality of being determined to do or achieve something; “his determination showed in his every movement”; “he/she is a man of purpose”

Perseverance – “The act of persisting or persevering; continuing or repeating behavior; “his/her perseveration continued to the point where it was no longer appropriate”

Now you know the meaning of the 2 words, I don’t really want to get into the theories or write a whole alot about examples that will only make you argue your own personal situation versus that of examples from the post, but more into being able to reflect your own situation with that of whatever results you want to achieve.

I’d like to talk about failing forward as the best way to undergo perseverance and determination. As you go through the days to achieve whatever goal it is that you have in mind, you tend to be challenged by many around you especially your close ones (family, spouse, siblings, boss, etc). That is one of the biggest obstacles that you will have to face in following through with your goal in mind.

Many that care for you will tell you, “because I care for you, that is why i’m telling you this.. bla.. bla.. you’ve failed and your failing, so its best that you …. bla… bla..” only to make you think twice about your goal thinking to yourself (is this it or do I go on?) –> You think about it hard, you fall back on your plans, you adjust it, tweak it a bit and still questioning yourself, then the “Perseverance & Determination in your heart says, “screw them, they care for me but I care about my goal/dream”, “I must go on!”

That is the key to perseverance and determination.

You sort out and fight yourself that give thoughts of quiting into pushing yourself to accomplish your goal. Remember, all the greats, had to fail always in order to get to where they are right now. It is about failing forward to achieve whatever it is you want to achieve.

Listen to your heart and  keep on pushing it.

misc_determinationperseverance

Habit Of Writing Equals Advancement

business-victoryWhy do I find it so important to jot and write things down? Because I believe that writing things down will concretely give life to our thoughts and accomplishments. As we all agree, our attention span these days are very limited due to our fast paced lives. We have so many distractions all around us from text messaging, advertising, phone calls, daily work processes, that seem to carry on to our memory; A very short attention span as well as beginning to show signs of short-term memory.

Throughout our days, we tend to have ideas that pass us by, then suddenly within 10 seconds after the text message you received on your cell phone, you completely forget. Thats normal guys, we subconsiously act like that.

I’ve made it a habit to carry around my little black book everywhere I go and jot down everything that I think about whenever I have my pen ready in front of me. There are so many things that we can accomplish by writing things down.

Here are 20 outcomes that i’ve encountered which have made my life more meaningful after creating the habit of writing and jotting things down on my black book..

1. I find solutions to problems faster
2. I focus on my daily work processes
3. I retrieve ideas for my business
4. I act faster on my agenda
5. I monitor my processes easier
6. I don’t run off-track
7. I know what I need to achieve within the day, week, month and year
8. I don’t forget birthdays
9. I reply emails and messages faster
10. I live more calm
11. I do not procrastinate anymore
12. I decide faster using pros and cons
13. I establish a foundation for my thoughts
14. I can monitor my personal growth easier
15. I know exactly what I need to work on after defining my weaknesses
16. I know what I need to probe on through my strengths
17. Living life full of energy and poise
18. Being able to organize my business, life, and family
19. Prioritizing
20. Finding the time to give back to society