General management

This category contains 84 posts

Who defines your process?

When someone introduces a process it’s usually to help them. If top-level management introduces a process for people on the ground then there’s a danger it will help the top team at the expense of the people on the ground delivering effectively. In our organisations we all want comprehensible processes. We want to be able … Continue reading

Trust from delivery

Trust might seem like a nebulous thing, but it’s based on very concrete things. Some time ago I was lucky enough to be part of a workshop run by Laurence Wood, discussing this issue of trust with some senior executives. I’ve always been struck by Laurence’s thoughtfulness and his deep concern for people’s needs, and … Continue reading

Making a vision meaningful

Many of us have a vision or an idea about how an organisation might improve. Perhaps we’ve read something which connects with us and triggers an idea, or perhaps we’ve learned from experiences elsewhere and we want to bring that to our current organisation. And sometimes some of us are fortunate enough to be able … Continue reading

Balancing ownership and quality

Having worked as both a team manager and a consultant, I find there is a common balancing act when introducing people to a new approach or idea, such as setting up a particular process. On the one hand I tend to have a good idea about what I want to achieve and what it should … Continue reading

Accepting failure enables rational exits

You’ve probably heard the idea that we should allow people to fail. You’ve probably also heard the phrase “fail fast”, meaning that we should both allow failure and be set up sufficiently to recognise it and recover from it quickly. In both cases I’ve always seen the benefits of accepting failure as allowing us to … Continue reading

Are we seeking to evaluate or improve?

In a discussion the other day about measuring the effectiveness of developers I looked for a document I’d written a while back for exactly that purpose. But when I opened it up I found that it wasn’t the document I thought it was. I expected something that would help the reader, as a manager, assess … Continue reading

Even successful subversion is a sliding scale

A few weeks ago Theresa May talked directly about Russia’s attempts to undermine democracy in the UK. It does this by planting “fake news” in social media, as well as direct cyber attacks and influencing individuals. Yet I also heard a claim on BBC News that one government source said there was no evidence that … Continue reading

Be aware of the organisational brakes

I often hear about organisations that have tried to implement change and it’s not gone well. Sometimes those are organisations in which I’m working. Here, “not gone well” means the change has had to be halted or scaled back significantly, because of some kind of push-back. Maybe key senior stakeholders have prevented certain things happening. … Continue reading

Improving our decision-making by externalising our instincts

It’s useful to be clear about our decision-making so that we can improve on the poor decisions and repeat the good ones. Even if we don’t know how a decision will turn out it’s valuable to be explicit about the thinking behind it so that we can understand it better for the future. Recently I … Continue reading

What does it mean to “manage” risk?

What do we mean when we say we need to “manage” risk, or “manage” a risk? I’m not talking about financial risk, which is a world of mathematical models and algorithms. I mean project risk or enterprise risk, which typically manifests itself in risk workshops, risk registers, mitigation actions, and regular discussion of “risks” either … Continue reading

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