How to Evaluate How Well You Use the 7 Timeless Vital Skills Every Manager Needs to Master

Due to their organizations needing to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, today’s Managers and Supervisors face what at times can seem to be a host of overwhelming challenges, such as managing larger staffs and facing increased demands on their time from both above and below. To survive and thrive in this type of climate, it’s vital that Managers and Supervisors master 7 vital day-to-day skills that have proven timeless in their importance. These are:

  • Designing and Running Better Meetings
  • Holding Effective Team Discussions
  • Delegating Work Successfully
  • Managing Projects
  • Time Management
  • Coaching Employees
  • Leading Effectively

How to Evaluate How Well You Use Them

One of the best ways to evaluate how well you use each of these 7 skill areas is to test them against your own experience.

To start, look at your typical day.  How often do you need to use these skills?  Do you encounter situations that call on them over and over, probably each day?  Next, look at either today or the last few days.  What went right, what went wrong?  Which of the items you noted related to one or more of the 7 skills?  Many of you will probably be able to easily identify how use of these skills, of non-use of them, probably made a big difference.

If any of the 7 skills did make a big difference, look at the descriptions of the areas you need to master in each skill area described below.  Which of these areas are you doing well, and which do you need to develop or enhance?   This gives you a basis for developing your own development plan.  For those areas that you need to improve locate the “Manager’s Toolkit” e-handbook from KAW Consulting (see below) that walks you step-by-step on how to learn and apply the skills in the area you want to enhance.

Following is a list of the major skills needed to be successful in each area.

Designing and Running Better Meetings

Meetings are a vital part of a Managers or Supervisors day.  Yet, many seem to fail.  In fact, a major survey revealed that 70% of employees feel the meetings they attend are a waste of time.  Consequently it’s important that as a Manager or Supervisor understand:

  • What makes meetings succeed, and why many fail
  • The crucial roles that need to be filled in each meeting
  • How to use 8 basic steps to design an Effective Meetings
  • How to use some basic tips for Running an Effective Meeting
  • How to deal with common problems that can derail a meeting such as:

–    Stares and Silence

–    Negative Remarks

–    Separate Agendas

–    One person trying to dominate the discussion

Holding Effective Team Discussions

Look at the types of discussions that Managers and Supervisors hold with their teams and you’ll find they often fall into 5 areas.  Consequently, Managers and Supervisors need to be able to effectively hold discussions with their teams to:

  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Solve Problems
  • Make Decisions
  • Plan Tasks
  • Set Goals

Delegating Work Successfully

Not only do Managers and Supervisors have to manage larger staffs, they’re also expected to make sure that their staffs are more and more productive.  This means of course that the Managers and Supervisors are skilled at the art of delegating work.  Skills in this area include:

  • Identifying what tasks to delegate
  • Identifying the right people to delegate to
  • Identifying the level of delegation that the Manager is comfortable with
  • Determining what the person doing the task needs, so they can deliver the results the Manager/Supervisor expects.
  • Conducting the needed follow-up to stay on top of the person’s progress.

Managing Projects

More and more Managers and Supervisors are asked to take a lead role in managing special projects.  This can mean having to develop and use a whole new skill set which includes:

  • Defining the project’s scope, objectives, deliverables, critical success factors, resource needs, and collaboration requirements.

  • Breaking the work down into its major work blocks and tasks.

  • Developing an easy to use project schedule

  • Monitoring the project’s status and what to do if it’s off course.

Coaching Employees

One of the implications of managing larger staffs is that individual staff members are going to need to be increasingly self managed.  Consequently, it’s vital that Managers and Supervisors know how to provide each staff member with effective coaching to help them be as productive as possible.  To coach effectively, a Manager/Supervisor needs to be able to:

  • Establish the groundwork to have an effective coaching relationship with their employees.
  • Determine expected performance levels for their employees’ major tasks and responsibilities.
  • Analyze their employees’ current level of performance against expected levels, and identity areas needed improvement.
  • Hold an effective coaching discussion to provide employees with feedback on how they are doing, and develop plans for making needed improvements.

Time Management

Of course to be able to apply any of these skills and meet the heavy demands being placed on them, Managers and Supervisors need to become good managers of their time.  To do so, they need to become adept at:

  • Analyzing their job and identifying what to focus on to achieve both what’s expected and their own personal goals.

  • Developing an ideal picture of how to allocate their time between their various activities.

  • Analyzing how they’re currently spending their time and identifying the gaps from their ideal picture.

  • Developing weekly and daily schedules so they focus their time on the activities needed to achieve their goals.

  • Dealing with time management challenges such as unexpected interruptions, non critical phone calls, high volumes of e-mail, and unproductive meetings.

Effective Leadership

Ultimately, in the eyes of your followers and those who evaluate you as a Manager or Supervisor, it comes down to their perception of you as a Leader.  Consequently it’s vital that you understand what make leadership efforts succeed and why they fail.  That way you can focus your attention on doing the things necessary to make them succeed, and keep from overlooking some of the common reasons for failure.

Leadership efforts that succeed usually contain 8 key elements.  These are:

  • Being proactive and willing to act.
  • Setting and communicating a clear vision and direction.
  • Establishing and maintaining credibility with the people you’re trying to lead.
  • Getting commitment.
  • Setting the example.
  • Empowering others to do what needs to be done.
  • Confronting and overcoming barriers and obstacles.
  • Managing accomplishment of day-to-day efforts.

On the other hand, leadership efforts that fail, usually don’t meet all of these criteria.  They are often lacking, and seriously so in one of the key areas.

How to Learn These Vital Skills

To help you learn and use these vital skills, KAW Consulting developed the “Manager’s Toolkit”,  a set of electronic handbooks  that guide Managers and Supervisors step by step through each of the processes used in the 7 basic skill areas.

Unlike most books on the 7 key skill areas, that are too complicated and hard to understand, the “Manager’s Toolkit” handbooks are exactly the opposite. They’re written in easy to understand language that walks the Manager or Supervisor step by step through the processes needed to apply each of the 7 key skills.   Many even include sample forms and checklists.

Like any great handbook, the handbooks in the “Manager’s Toolkit” are something meant to be used over and over again. And because they’re electronic,  Managers and Supervisors can always have them readily accessible.  Just call up a handbook and it’s ready to use.

Now Available in Both Kindle and PDF formats.

To meet the demands of our both our U.S. and global users, the following titles in the “Manager’s Toolkit” are on now Kindle:

  • “Meetings That Work”
  • Team Discussion Frameworks”
  • “Delegating for Results”
  • “Coaching Skills for Managers and Supervisors”
  • “Project Management for Managers and Supervisors”
  • “Time Management for Managers and Supervisors”, and
  • “The Leadership Framework”.

Both U.S. and International users can purchase them from Amazon.

Because they are on Kindle, you can use Amazon’s Kindle App to store each either on your iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or other appropriate mobile device and have it readily accessible whenever you them.

For information on these Kindle versions either click the applicable link below, or visit your applicable Amazon website and input the appropriate title  in the search criteria.

For “Meetings That Work” click here

For “Team Discussion Frameworks” click here

For “Delegating For Results”  click here

For “Coaching Skills for Managers and Supervisors” click here

For “Project Management for Managers and Supervisors”click here.

For “Time Management for Managers and Supervisors”click here.

For “The Leadership Framework” click here

PDF Versions

U.S. users, can enjoy the added benefits of the PDF versions.   You can store these handbooks on your computer so you have them accessible each time you need one. They include hyperlinks so you can jump right to the page or section you need without having to spend time scrolling through unneeded pages. If you want hard copy you can print what you need.

You can purchase single copies or share with additional users by purchasing additional licenses. This makes it easy for organizations to increase the productivity of their staffs.

 We’ve also made these handbooks very easy to afford and purchase. The most expensive single copy is $21.95.   You can purchase directly online and start using right away.

Sharing with additional users across your organization is also easy–just purchase additional licenses (also available online) and send the handbooks out by e-mail.

To view samples of each handbook, and to learn how to purchase copies, click here.

Note: PDF versions available to U.S. purchasers only at this time.  International users can purchase available Kindle Versions.

 

7 Timeless Vital Skills Every Manager Needs to Master

Note: “The 7 Timeless Vital Skills Every Manager or Supervisor Needs to Master” is now available as an e-book on Kindle.  Use it to self-evaluate which skills you need to develop or enhance, and available resources to help you do so.  Click here to see a free preview.  Amazon.com users can purchase directly.  International users should visit your applicable Amazon website.

Due to their organizations needing to adapt to a rapidly changing business environment, today’s Managers and Supervisors face what at times can seem to be a host of overwhelming challenges, such as managing larger staffs and facing increased demands on their time from both above and below. To survive and thrive in this type of climate, it’s vital that Managers and Supervisors master 7 vital day-to-day skills that have proven timeless in their importance. These are:

  • Designing and Running Better Meetings
  • Holding Effective Team Discussions
  • Delegating Work Successfully
  • Managing Projects
  • Time Management
  • Coaching Employees
  • Leading Effectively

Following is a list of the major skills needed to be successful in each area.

Designing and Running Better Meetings

Meetings are a vital part of a Managers or Supervisors day.  Yet, many seem to fail.  In fact, a major survey revealed that 70% of employees feel the meetings they attend are a waste of time.  Consequently it’s important that as a Manager or Supervisor understand:

  • What makes meetings succeed, and why many fail
  • The crucial roles that need to be filled in each meeting
  • How to use 8 basic steps to design an Effective Meetings
  • How to use some basic tips for Running an Effective Meeting
  • How to deal with common problems that can derail a meeting such as:

–    Stares and Silence

–    Negative Remarks

–    Separate Agendas

–    One person trying to dominate the discussion

Holding Effective Team Discussions

Look at the types of discussions that Managers and Supervisors hold with their teams and you’ll find they often fall into 5 areas.  Consequently, Managers and Supervisors need to be able to effectively hold discussions with their teams to:

  • Brainstorm ideas
  • Solve Problems
  • Make Decisions
  • Plan Tasks
  • Set Goals

Delegating Work Successfully

Not only do Managers and Supervisors have to manage larger staffs, they’re also expected to make sure that their staffs are more and more productive.  This means of course that the Managers and Supervisors are skilled at the art of delegating work.  Skills in this area include:

  • Identifying what tasks to delegate
  • Identifying the right people to delegate to
    • Identifying the level of delegation that the Manager is comfortable with

 

  • Determining what the person doing the task needs, so they can deliver the results the Manager/Supervisor expects.
  • Conducting the needed follow-up to stay on top of the person’s progress.

Managing Projects

More and more Managers and Supervisors are asked to take a lead role in managing special projects.  This can mean having to develop and use a whole new skill set which includes:

  • Defining the project’s scope, objectives, deliverables, critical success factors, resource needs, and collaboration requirements.

  • Breaking the work down into its major work blocks and tasks.

  • Developing an easy to use project schedule

  • Monitoring the project’s status and what to do if it’s off course.

Coaching Employees

One of the implications of managing larger staffs is that individual staff members are going to need to be increasingly self managed.  Consequently, it’s vital that Managers and Supervisors know how to provide each staff member with effective coaching to help them be as productive as possible.  To coach effectively, a Manager/Supervisor needs to be able to:

  • Establish the groundwork to have an effective coaching relationship with their employees.
  • Determine expected performance levels for their employees’ major tasks and responsibilities.
  • Analyze their employees’ current level of performance against expected levels, and identity areas needed improvement.
  • Hold an effective coaching discussion to provide employees with feedback on how they are doing, and develop plans for making needed improvements.

Time Management

Of course to be able to apply any of these skills and meet the heavy demands being placed on them, Managers and Supervisors need to become good managers of their time.  To do so, they need to become adept at:

  • Analyzing their job and identifying what to focus on to achieve both what’s expected and their own personal goals.

  • Developing an ideal picture of how to allocate their time between their various activities.

  • Analyzing how they’re currently spending their time and identifying the gaps from their ideal picture.

  • Developing weekly and daily schedules so they focus their time on the activities needed to achieve their goals.

  • Dealing with time management challenges such as unexpected interruptions, non critical phone calls, high volumes of e-mail, and unproductive meetings.

Effective Leadership

Ultimately, in the eyes of your followers and those who evaluate you as a Manager or Supervisor, it comes down to their perception of you as a Leader.  Consequently it’s vital that you understand what what make leadership efforts succeed and why they fail.  That way you can focus your attention on doing the things necessary to make them succeed, and keep from overlooking some of the common reasons for failure.

Leadership efforts that succeed usually contain 8 key elements.  These are:

  • Being proactive and willing to act.
  • Setting and communicating a clear vision and direction.
  • Establishing and maintaining credibility with the people you’re trying to lead.
  • Getting commitment.
  • Setting the example.
  • Empowering others to do what needs to be done.
  • Confronting and overcoming barriers and obstacles.
  • Managing accomplishment of day-to-day efforts.

On the other hand, leadership efforts that fail, usually don’t meet all of these criteria.  They are often lacking, and seriously so in one of the key areas.

How to Learn These Vital Skills

While desperately needed, too often attempts to provide Managers and Supervisors with training and/or resources in these important areas fail.  Some of the common reasons are:

  • Available training is too expensive, so none is offered.

  • Available books and resources on the subjects provide too much information, and no real “how to” application tools.

  • Materials are too hard to get to when you need them.

To correct this, KAW Consulting developed the “Manager’s Toolkit“,  a set of electronic handbooks  that guide Managers and Supervisors step by step through each of the processes used in the 7 basic skill areas.

Unlike most books on the 7 key skill areas, that are too complicated and hard to understand, the “Manager’s Toolkit” handbooks are exactly the opposite. They’re written in easy to understand language that walks the Manager or Supervisor step by step through the processes needed to apply each of the 7 key skills.   Many even include sample forms and checklists.

Like any great handbook, the handbooks in the “Manager’s Toolkit” are something meant to be used over and over again. And because they’re electronic,  Managers and Supervisors can always have them readily accessible.  Just call up a handbook and it’s ready to use.

Now Available in Both Kindle and PDF formats.

To meet the demands of our both our U.S. and global users, the following titles in the “Manager’s Toolkit“ are on now Kindle:

  • Meetings That Work 
  • Team Discussion Frameworks
  •  Delegating for Results
  • Coaching Skills for Managers and Supervisors
  • “Project Management for Managers and Supervisors”
  • Time Management for Managers and Supervisors”, and
  • “The Leadership Framework”.

Both U.S. and International users can purchase them from Amazon.

Because they are on Kindle, you can use Amazon’s Kindle App to store each either on your iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone or other appropriate mobile device and have it readily accessible whenever you them.

For information on these Kindle versions either click the applicable link below, or visit your applicable Amazon website and input the appropriate title  in the search criteria.

For “Meetings That Work” click here

For “Team Discussion Frameworks” click here

For “Delegating For Results” click here

For “Coaching Skills for Managers and Supervisors” click here

For “Project Management for Managers and Supervisors”click here.

For “Time Management for Managers and Supervisors”click here.

For “The Leadership Framework” click here

PDF Versions

U.S. users, can enjoy the added benefits of the the PDF versions.   You can store these handbooks on your computer so you have them accessible each time you need one. They include hyperlinks so you can jump right to the page or section you need without having to spend time scrolling through unneeded pages. If you want hard copy you can print what you need.

You can purchase single copies or share with additional users by purchasing additional licenses. This makes it easy for organizations to increase the productivity of their staffs.

 We’ve also made these handbooks very easy to afford and purchase. The most expensive single copy is $21.95.   You can purchase directly online and start using right away.

Sharing with additional users across your organization is also easy–just purchase additional licenses (also available online) and send the handbooks out by e-mail.

To view samples of each handbook, and to learn how to purchase copies, click here.

Note: PDF versions available to U.S. purchasers only at this time.  International users can purchase available Kindle Versions.

 

Why Worry About Social Media?

Ever wondered how to answer someone that asks what’s the value of all this social networking stuff? Or why would anyone ever use Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, You Tube, etc. and how do they relate to each other?

You can play the role of an expert and develop your own answer by solving the case in this posting. A great way to learn by doing!

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Introduction: Ever wondered how to answer someone that asks what’s the value of all this social networking/media stuff?  Or why would anyone ever use Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, You Tube, etc. and how do they relate to each other?

Well, here’s a way to learn by playing the role of an expert and advising someone else asking the same basic question.  The case below challenges you to test your creativity and advise someone on the impact of changes being caused as a result of social networking. In this case it’s your friends (a brother and sister) who as you’ll see in the scenario don’t understand social media, but are being impacted by it in a real way.

This scenario is based on one of the important types of change—the need to adapt to changes in the environment caused by events largely outside of your control. In this case, the change is because of social media.

To play:

  • Read the scenario below.
  • Then develop some advice.
  • If you want to share your ideas, post your response on Twitter #KAWConsulting so others can respond and share their ideas as well.

  • Better yet, share this challenge with others (friends, colleagues, etc.)  and get them to respond as well.  (It can be the start of a collaborative learning community).

  • Or, leave a comment.  (Comments will be public so be advised that others viewing this posting will be able to see them).

Scenario:

Your friends own and run a party store. The store has been in their family for 30 years. Their father started it back in the 80’s, and now they run it. The key to being successful for so long has been based on:

– Location (it’s in a suburban strip mall with easy access from several local single family house developments).

– Carrying the right inventory—supplies for birthday parties, holidays, graduations, weddings, etc.

– Affordable prices

– Marketing—they have display ads in the local phone directory, advertise in the community paper, support school events, etc.

Lately their business is going down, while they’ve noticed that one of their competitors seems awfully busy. This concerns them—along with the fact that their income is taking quite a nose dive.

Consequently, your friends hired a mystery shopper and find out that their competitor is using some strange new techniques, that frankly they had never really heard of. Apparently, the competitor has something called a Blog and writes articles on everything you need to know to plan your party or event. They seem to have fans on something called Facebook, and have created a community of enthusiastic followers, that always seem to know about their specials. They even are using something called Twitter to communicate with an even wider network. What’s more, they’ve even hired someone called an Event Specialist, who can help customers plan your party so it’s just right.

Getting somewhat frantic, your friends call you, because you always seem to be on the leading edge of everything, and ask for advice on what to do. Even though they don’t know much about the new technology, or how to use it, they know they need to do something fast and right.

Based on what you’ve heard, your gut tells you that the changes involved may be enormous and involve a lot more than just technology.

Challenge: Assume that you’re the friend. What advice would you give about:

– What your friends need to learn.

– What they need to do.

– What challenges will they face?

– What changes will they need to make?

– Who will be impacted by the changes?

– What do they need to do to implement them successfully?

– Other advice you think important.

Resources: A couple of Blogs with helpful information–look for ideas on how to use Social Media as Marketing Tool.

http://www.modernmediainstitute.com/

http://mashable.com/

Question for further reflection: What approach can you use to help your organization learn how best to use social media?

Contact Information

E-Mail KAWCONSULTING@COMCAST.NET

Copyright 2010 KAW Consulting.  All rights reserved.

Planning for a Major Change Initiative

For a major change initiative to succeed, it’s vital that the planning for it addresses key strategic, leadership and operational issues. Learn important key questions to consider when planning a major change initiative.

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Note:   This post provides a list of questions that need to be considered when planning a major change initiative. For assistance in developing a plan based on these and other questions unique to your organization, contact KAW Consulting directly.

Introduction:  For a major change initiative to succeed, it’s vital that the planning for it addresses key strategic, leadership and operational issues.  Projects that fail often don’t sufficiently address these areas and find that they didn’t have a broad enough definition of the project’s scope, didn’t include all the necessary activities, or have the needed resources to make the initiative a success.

Following is a list of questions to ask when developing the strategy for a major change initiative to help ensure your plan addresses the needed areas.  

Strategic

  • Is there a clear Vision for the initiative that clearly states why it’s being done, the reasons why it’s critical for the organization’s continued success, the benefit of doing it, and the probable impact of it on the organization?

  • Can the Highest Executive in the organization clearly explain this?

  • Is the definition of the initiative’s scope broad enough to encompass what really needs to be done?

Example: Does the initiative require a re-examination and redesign of existing business processes as well as integration of new technology? Will there be major impacts on staffing, relationships between departments, need for better teamwork, etc. as a result of the initiative?

  • Does each member of Executive Leadership have a clear understanding of the initiative’s purpose, strategic intent and true impact on their segment of the organization, and their role in making this a success? Many times this is only vaguely understood and the result is a lack of communication down the line that this effort is “critical” and the needed attention be paid to it as one of the “key things we’re working on”.

  • Is this initiative’s success reflected in key organization strategic goals and performance criteria at the executive level?

  • Are the initiative’s resource requirements understood and included in the organization’s capital and operating expense budgets?

  • Is the status of the initiative included in the organization’s key monitoring systems that evaluate progress against key strategic goals?

Leadership

  • Who has overall responsibility for implementation of this initiative? Is this clearly communicated and understood by the organization’s Executive and Senior Leadership?

  • Does this responsibility cover all the needed areas such as business impact identification and process redesign, user training, system implementation and adoption planning versus just system development and testing?

  • Does the initiative have a Leadership Team composed of representatives from impacted departments/stakeholder areas with responsibility and accountability for successful implementation in their Department?

  • Do these Departmental representatives clearly understand their roles and responsibilities? Is the success of this initiative a key part of their performance criteria?

  • Do the Departmental representatives have enough organizational authority to ensure the initiative gets the needed attention in their department/area?

  • Do the various Departments and Stakeholders have this initiative and its success as one of their key performance goals? Are the necessary resources included in their Departmental operating budgets?

Operational

  • Does the initiative’s overall project plan include all the major activity areas such as business impact analysis, process redesign evaluation, staffing and culture change needs, communications, implementation planning, user training, etc. versus just system design, testing and implementation?

  • Key Question to Answer: What are the areas someone might say “This is clearly a major area we overlooked in our planning…” if the project failed. These are all activity areas that need to be in your plan.

Example: Departments did not really understand the impact on their operations and proactively get ready for it, and experienced substantial difficulties once new technology started up. When looking at the initiative’s overall plan after the fact, it didn’t include enough attention to departmental business impact analysis as a major phase.