A few more thoughts on management and Best Tech Stories of 2015

I hope that everyone has been able to take some time around the holidays to reset and refuel as we head into the new year.  To close the year out, I just had a few more thoughts on management and leading people:

  • Being a manager takes a set of skills that are clearly identifiable and trainable; leadership skills, while straightforward, are not as natural or “simple”
    • That said, while leaders need to create the vision, they must also get results
  • Leadership is a combination of caring, comfort with ambiguity, persistence, communication, negotiation skills, political astuteness, humor, level-headedness, engaging, challenging, self-awareness & future focus
  • Observation of how a leader acts will tell you as much if not more about that leader than who they say they are or what they believe – again, coming back to leading by example
  • Organizational tension is a part of every business, so how do we manage?
    • Competitive urge: redirect the urge to compete into productive channels
    • Group decision making vs. decisiveness: a leader needs to seek counsel when making most decisions but also needs to balance that with when a decision just needs to be made
    • This won’t be an issue as long as it is rare and the team’s input is consistently sought otherwise
  • If a vision is something that resonates with our followers and creates a deep yearning in them, what does that mean for you organization?
    • Is it “people using our service” as a default for most companies today?
    • Do industry pundits need to acknowledge your for it to be the best?  Or is it the best because it fits your culture and your overarching values and mission?
    • What is it between the different personality types that will inspire?
  • When does a company outgrow its own vision statement?  How often must it change?
    • At one point Microsoft’s was much simpler: a pc on every desk in every house around the world.  It became to help people and businesses around the world to achieve their full potential.  Is the simpler version better?
  • How do you create a vision statement that is actionable at every level of an organization?
  • Does a vision statement need to be more concrete, less inspirational, to be truly effective?
  • In the end, to be a leader you must not only create a vision, but have it be a powerful one that you can articulate clearly.  You have to:
    • Create awareness of the need to change to achieve the vision
    • Drive desire in those impacted by the change
    • Give them the knowledge to implement the change
    • Make sure they have the ability to implement the change on a day to day basis
    • Reinforce the change again and again

The Role of a Manager and Leader

  • The minimum is to lead by example and from the front – but be real/human.
  • Be contagious with your attitude
  • To define success, you have to have a clear connection to where you’ve been, where you are, and where you need to go
  • Share the development of plans amongst the team so that you end up with a vision that is shared by all
  • How can you possibly expect people to excel and take on training/growth if you don’t enable it?
  • Part of an action-oriented, empowering culture is one that is fun
  • While there is a need to manage from the top and empower the bottom, be wary/pay attention to the sides
  • Part of your reality is that you are the impetus behind and the champion for organizational change
  • Focus on the customer and the rest will follow … and all of your employees are customers
  • Never settle for less than that which is possible, even if it seems improbable
  • The unspoken part of empowering your people to grow and learn and leading by example is that you push yourself out of your comfort zone constantly through your own growth/learning
  • Know what you want, how to measure it, and have the courage to make change when change is needed

Last, Forbes has a great article this week that captures some of the best technology stories of 2015 – a few I’ve already talked about, other are new, all are worth a look.

Happy New Year!

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