The Importance of Listening Skills for Managers, by Jackie Edwards
Listening. Today, around 40% of employees do not feel valued or appreciated, and around 70% would be willing to accept an offer for another job or are actively looking. This issue stems from a difficulty in communication within the workplace which, as a manager, it is important to address.
While it is widely recognized that managers must be excellent leaders and problem solvers, a very important and often underlooked managing skill is also listening. This skill can make you a better and more effective manager; employees will strive hard to do their best for a manager who actively listens to them, leading to a more productive and motivated team. Here are our tips to help managers improve their listening skills.
Whose Objectives are You Pursuing, by Walter McIntyre
Every person and every organization has objectives and a purpose. I am not speaking of the ones individuals profess or those an organization posts on their lobby wall. It is the ones you observe in action that count. These objectives, which are always related to an agenda, are not that hard to see and hear if you are paying attention.
I am fortunate to have been involved in leading a business turn around twice in my career. In both cases individual agendas and objectives were subverting the business’s success. In both cases, changing the focus of specific individuals, or removing the individuals from the business, became the turning point for business success.
Project Management Problem Solving by Walter McIntyre
I hear the following a lot. “He (or she) is a good problem solver.” This is a great quality to have, but it is less than half the needed skill. It is better to be known for preventing problems. From both a time and cost prospective, a problem prevented is best, because solving a problem typically adds more time and money to a project, than a solid plan to avoid the problem in the first place.
Cultural Aspects of Six Sigma Process Improvement by Walter McIntyre
Whatever the process improvement methodology used, when properly applied, it produces a change in a business’s culture. Outlined below are some behavioral changes necessary to sustain a customer focused process improvement effort.
View the business as an organization of processes:
• If you view the business as an organization of processes, then managing the business becomes managing processes.
• Processes are interrelated and, as a result, they interact with each other. Changing one affects the others.
• If the appropriate processes are in place, managing those processes is managing people. Not the other way around.
Government and History by Walter McIntyre
Our current day politicians seem to want to berate Washington, our government and everyone that is there. Don’t be fooled, all of them are trying to become what they criticize, insiders. These naysayers have lost site of the importance of knowing and understanding history. Actually, they should be embracing the history and talent that resides in our nation’s capital. Many decisions that shaped our history, and the modern history of the world, were made by men and women, in desperate times, showing great courage from political office or appointment. There is much we can learn from them. The same cannot be said of any other city in the United States, or any demographic involving corporate headquarters.
Voice of the Customer by Walter McIntyre
Typically, there is not a single voice of the customer. They are fractioned into multiple groups, each with their own perspective. Each group may also have different voices in different circumstances.
For the Six Sigma team, identifying the customer involves more than collecting information about who is purchasing the business’s products or services. Those who purchase the products and services are just one of several customer groups. Some other classifications are internal supplier/customer hand-offs, customers of competitors, former customers, and potential customers.
Lean Value Proposition by Walter McIntyre
The basic Lean and business value proposition in looks like this:
Profit = Perceived Value – Inherent Value
Lean process improvement projects address the Inherent Value piece of this equation. The idea is to reduce the inherent cost of production and delivery of the product or service. A common mistake that teams make is to assume that inherent value issues are not customer driven. This is a case of being inwardly focused instead of a more balanced focus (inward and customer driven).
“I See You” Management, by Walter McIntyre
Connectivity between human beings is the beginning of synergy. It is written in our genetic code and expresses itself in our drive to connect to others and be part of a group. Since this is how we are wired, it only makes sense that the most effective management styles, as far as us humans are concerned, leverages this aspect of our specie’s corporate psyche.
I would call this “I See You” management. I did not coin this phrase, but since I cannot remember who did, I will use it for this post. The way I see things, “I See You” management is based upon three levels of recognition.
Statistically Estimating Project Timelines by Walter McIntyre
Why is it that projects more often than not come in behind schedule and over budget? This question drives business executives crazy. Why shouldn’t there be an even split between on time project delivery and late project delivery? These are valid questions.
Entrepreneur Life by Walter McIntyre
For the most part, all of us have a robust fear of failure. We are good at counting the cost of trying and failing. We are also pretty much aware of what we don’t want to lose. The result is that we miss opportunities due to not taking the risk of possible failure.
What we are not good at, is evaluating the risk of not trying. We decide to play it safe. Understand, though, you are guaranteed to fail if you don’t try. By playing it safe all the time, you limit your opportunity for success.