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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Management 9

Q: So you always manage to divert from my question to make your own point, or to ask me a question in reply.

A: And what's wrong with that? :)

Q: Stop kidding around! The question on the table is “How does a Manager get to know about all the management stuff we have talked about”?
By the way – where have you been?

A: Now who's digressing? But thanks for asking. I've been taking a little R&R with my sweetie and recovering from a strained back – this property management stuff is hard on a desk jockey.
Back to your question:
The fact that you have to ask is an example of an issue we see regularly. Management Training just doesn't seem to be a standard item in organizations any more.

Q: For sure! I think our budget for all training has been cut back considerably over the years.

A: I'm afraid so. Things like training, coaching, consulting regularly get cut back in, or out of, budgets whenever spending is constrained. Unfortunately, there is always someone with a sharp pencil, or spreadsheet, that can make a name for themselves by finding short term savings.

Q: Yeah; but the argument always is that we need to focus on our core business, our “core competencies”, and these extras get cut.

A: Well; that's just one more aspect of short term thinking. Training, coaching, and consulting build core competencies and provide efficiencies and effectiveness to make the business more profitable. Cutting these things out once saves money – once, in this budget. That's just poor planning, staffing, and controlling.

Q: Hey! I remember those items – they're part of the management activities list. So you are saying those cuts are poor management?

A: They are unless all other options for immediate cost savings have been exhausted, like capturing the salary of the one-time-savings hero.
It really comes down to how do Managers make these decisions. And typically cutting training, coaching, consulting look like good decisions because the longer term isn't considered, or the return on investing in these items isn't known or seems to be too hard to figure out.

Q: Are you on your soapbox again?

A: Probably; but it is relevant. How does an organization prepare and develop for the future without training, coaching, and consulting? If the machinery isn't oiled today, it won't run tomorrow.
Managers get to know the fundamentals of their jobs through being taught, and then doing. The path to lots of good decisions is littered with lots of bad. Remember that the goal to start with is simply make more good ones than the others.

Q: I'm hearing that training is the start, and the doing part – including making mistakes – is next.

A: Right, just like most things. Management can be taught; good management takes practice; really good management requires great people skills that not everyone has.
So once the initial training is done, and mistakes are being made, then coaching can make a huge difference in tuning skills and adapting from lessons learned.

Q: OK; training is clear, but I'm not familiar with this “coaching” idea. You mean like a sports team coach?

A: Perhaps a better analogy is a personal fitness trainer. Only a business coach is your personal business skills trainer. And, of course, one of the business skills is management.

Q: Neat; so a coach works with you on a regular basis?

A: As often as you wish, usually on a weekly or bi-monthly basis. That way issues that the coach can help with are current, the mistakes made and lessons learned are fresh, and an effective flow is maintained for progress. The best are certified as coaches, have solid personal experience and background in the area, and so can be extremely valuable and focused on their client – you! :)

Q: And what do I get out of this?

A: Well, anything you wish. Imagine that any time you had a question about your management role, situations with employees, tough decisions, the “office politics” stuff, etc. you could reach an expert with suggestions, approaches, reminders, etc.

Q: Sounds like a real time management support life line!

A: Yeah! Cool, eh?
Why don't you, for next time, do a little research on Business Coaching. A great place to start is adaptivecoach.wordpress.com

Q: Jeez; homework again?

A: Yup. :)

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