Tag Archives: management styles

Want Feedback? Best Article of Month Teaches You How

I just read an excellent article in Forbes about new and better ways to measure performance. These really are new kinds of metrics. Way better than the usual revenue-derived ones that are slapped on people who have nothing to do with sales. They are somewhat esoteric, but they are eminently linkable and valid to the concept of customer feedback because they are trying to judge how things such as learning, joy, usefulness, and improvement.

I found that points 3, 4 and 5 can be related not just to managing a team, but also to getting feedback from people (whoever your customer is, be it internal or external), and using it to improve things.

Perhaps the most interesting one is Metric 4: Compound Weekly Learning Rate. If you can determine what someone has learned and made themselves better by, be it a software shortcut, a new way to make a meal 5 minutes faster or just tastier, or anything that opens your mind. Or someone else’s. Or makes a better product. Doesn’t really matter, but it demonstrates that you can see people being happy through the joy of learning, and that it compounds, and that joy translates into either more sales, more productivity, more friends, etc. Just a better life.

Metric 5 is sort of like the net promoter score but for real people, not just customers, but it does emphasize being positive and passing along the positives in life to make sure thee are more positives than negatives. Sort of like positive ions for the management soul.

Worth a read, that is for sure.


3 Tips to Keep Focus When the Customer Changes

It has been an eternity since I last posted anything here. And that is because things changed and I lost my focus. My role changed at the company, twice in fact, and it is now that of a manager in a highly visible area where there is a criss-cross of management needs and customer needs, which don’t always jive.

My customers have changed, because they include the people I manage, who manage me, and the companies who buy our products.

When these changes in circumstances happen under a spotlight, the natural reaction is to react first and fix later, whether it be a product plan, a strategy or even hiring. And when you firefight and react to everything immediately, you lose focus. I know I do. So I have to fall back on my best practices and strategies for dealing with it, and these apply whether it’s software development, client meetings or hiring talent.

  1. Don’t just react, instead acknowledge. So often people react without thinking — look at how we behave in traffic — because they feel threatened or they think their job is in danger. Usually it isn’t and stopping and acknowledging that there is a problem, and what exactly what has gone wrong or right is the only way you’ll ever learn. And it allows you and your team to stop, discuss and focus on the problem so you can focus on your customer.
  2. list_imgMake a mind map and then make a list. If you’re not sure what a mind map is, check it out on Wikipedia.  The short version is an connected yet not definitely structured (in terms of priorities) graphic depiction of your ideas. It’s a great starting place letting you figure out where you are running into problems, what kinds and how you can resolve them so you can go back to focusing on the tasks at hand. Once you do the mind map, make a prioritized list, with a backlog of items you want to check off. It’s a slow distillation process but worth the effort. Budget half a day for the whole exercise.
  3. Put your foot down. You may not have the ultimate power to decide anything, but make sure you have certain hard points or priorities that you are willing to fight for. They become your focus points of action. You may need to convince your team or your boss or your customer that these issues are important to  resolving the issues your customer perceives. There may be disagreement, but be prepared to make your case why you don’t want to budge on these things.