Friday, March 14, 2008


The step up to management

While here I have put a number of people into management positions, often for the first time in their careers. Two aspects of the transition to management appear consistently, and have to be talked through. One is that achieving a management position does not mean that "now I've made it"; the journey is really only just beginning at this point, and is likely to be extremely challenging along the way.

The second, which I suspect is more common here than it might be say in the UK, is the need to shift perspective from activity to output. The job of a manager is to achieve the task, to get the job done. How many hours a day people work is in most respects incidental. I have had many comments come back from new managers to the effect that "it's not finished, but they have worked really, really hard". To which I have to point out that if it's not finished it's not finished, and that is the important point. The analogy I use to illustrate is a common one round here, that of a cleaner. Wiping a surface is not the same as cleaning it. The activity of wiping may look busy, and may take hours, but if the cloth is unhygienic or the surface left covered with smears, the task - cleaning - is not complete, however much elbow grease is put into it. It's the ability to distinguish between wiped and clean that new managers need.


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