A NEW DECADE DEMANDS - A NEW BREED OF MANAGER

BY OREN HARARI AND LINDA MUKAI Our research has shown that the kinds of management behaviors that may have been appropriate in the past will actually be counterproductive in the '90s. It's the less conventional Jills that are more likely to succeed nowadays. We interviewed executives in consumer products, insurance, transportation and financial services. We asked them to specifically identify "effective" (and promotable) managers and "ineffective" (and non-promotable) managers in their own organization. We asked them what made the effective managers stand out, and followed up with interviews and observations of the managers themselves. We were thus able to identify those attributes that distinguish the effective from the ineffective. We learned that effective managers say and do things that ineffective managers don't. Based on our research, we named three categories for measuring effective managers: role of the manager; approach to action; and development of company allies.

Our findings developed into a checklist for management success

Effective managers are change agents, externalists, influencers, developers and revenue-enhancers.

Change: Ineffective managers don't like change. They wish things were predictable
enough so that they could manage by cruise control. Many believe that turbulence is temporary, that ambiguity is the fault of senior management, and that they should wait until "things settle down" before they tackle problems. Effective managers recognize that turbulence, flux and ambiguity are facts of life in the business world. They know that things will never "settle down." They are also energized by these conditions because they see them as challenges and opportunities. These managers would be bored if they managed by cruise control.

Attention: Ineffective managers focus their attention almost entirely on the internal
organization. Their mindset, memos and meeting revolve around the budget, paper flow, operations, procedures and personnel. They are often more concerned with understanding company politics than understanding customers and vendors, with whom they rarely communicate. Effective managers devote necessary attention internally in order to improve efficiency and de-bureaucratize. But regardless of their functions, they also pay careful attention to external issues. They often communicate and interact with customers, suppliers and other

" "the market. They say. They believe that managers create power by their actions and decisions. Coaching: Ineffective managers see themselves as cops and conduits." which they recognize as something that top management by definition has more of. they view "power" as the ability to influence people. Effective managers don't believe that power is handed out. they funnel information from top to bottom and vice versa. often without asking. they tend to tell people what to do and how to do it. training." They also believe the power they do have comes with their job title and position on the organizational chart. they may complain that they've never been appropriately mentored and that therefore they don't know how (or why) to do it with their own staff. these managers get out of the way. If it does not. When they do try to coach. but that rather. Effective managers envision accomplishments and responsibilities well beyond their formal job descriptions. They believe that their own power to get things done is severely limited. they often complain that they are overburdened. This means that they too . Once they outline the boundaries of fundamental do's and don'ts to their subordinates. they may think that theirs is a dead-end. Effective managers believe that one of their primary roles is that of mentor and developer.” and they don’t wait.have the power to get things accomplished. They see a big part of coaching as asking their people questions to help them find alternatives and make decisions.key constituencies. they don't wait for "authority" before they get things done. support and feedback. In fact. job. They look for . Unlike "authority. "it doesn't pay to try to get things done until senior management gets its act together. As cops. like respect. As conduits. Responsibility: Ineffective managers see their primary responsibility as meeting the demands of their bosses.not just top management . it must be earned. cost-containment and revenue-enhancement. Accordingly. their job descriptions and their annual goals. they execute. When this does occur. They don't see their primary function as coaches. and when necessary. Their conversation is liberally sprinkled with phrases like "our customers." "our competitors" and "new technology." Power: Ineffective managers believe that only people in top management positions hold the real power. They provide staff with information. not by holding a job title. They don't wait for someone to expand their jobs. They constantly try things out. enforce the directives that come from the top. They assume that it is up to someone else (usually their boss) to expand their job responsibilities and goals. Effective managers don’t talk about “someday. They encourage people to "challenge the system" by developing new approaches with an eye to improving efficiency of operations.

usually their boss or the finance department. That is. They are innovators. Their philosophy: If I haven't explicitly been told "no. more speed or greater operational efficiency." and they don't wait.. and try again. Their philosophy: If I haven't explicitly been told "yes. they sometimes bypass counterproductive procedures to get the job done. They are usually too busy fire-fighting to plan ahead." then I can't do it. Profit: Ineffective managers see themselves primarily as controllers. They often view profits and revenues as the job of someone else. but they also look for ways to enhance revenues and margins. They use "failure" as a learning tool. be it through better quality.and grab . "You can't expect us to turn things around that fast. They focus on staying within their allocated budget. They assume that in organizations it's easier to get forgiveness than permission. They are constantly thinking about how they can "make things better around here. more time. They respond to actions. This means that they sometimes fail in a particular endeavor. They do anything to avoid the appearance of making mistakes. often without asking. They focus on what they can do to "add value" to the services or products of the firm. they rarely initiate them. They constantly look for ways to accomplish projects faster. . accomplish tasks and improve operations. Effective managers are concerned with cost-containment. sometimes using phrases such as. They say. but they're not afraid of failure. restraining expenditures and making plans accordingly. They complain about pressures for speed. better service." They remake their own jobs continuously. hustlers and scramblers. They wait for "someday" when there will be more money. they quickly do some preliminary research. try it out. They go by the book and wait for directives.  Effective managers are proactive . "Do it! Fix it! Try it!" is their operating philosophy. They constantly try things out. Effective managers don't talk about "someday. by definition they take risks in developing and trying new ways to solve problems.in thought and action. more top management mandates. Initiative: Ineffective managers are reactive." They point out many reasons why that's the case.new responsibilities. make adjustments. They work hard to create an environment where their own people will feel confident about doing the same. Effective managers are innovators. Urgency: Ineffective managers try to meet deadlines." I can do it. more clarity. but they frequently argue that things take time. They communicate the same message to their people. on an idea. Effective managers demonstrate a sense of urgency to get things done. "Just do it!" Risk-taking: Ineffective managers take few risks. Without being irresponsible.not reactive . Hence. get some rapid feedback.

They often complain. and they immediately set out to rectify matters. They like creating and working with cross-functional teams. Effective managers make themselves accountable for their actions. Their orientation. They seek allies to solve problems. Ineffective managers view success as maintaining a "steady state" and achieving the specific goals set by or with their superiors.when things go wrong. they join them for lunch. ask for help or lead a hand. They spend a lot of time in their offices. the receivables office or the mail-room. Other than company gossip. by and large. Teamwork: Ineffective managers act as if they are independent from (or even competitive with) other functions of the organization. Goals. They take responsibility for setbacks . They often blame and gossip about the so-and-so's in other parts of the firm. They often extend their cultivation outside the organization . They chat with allies. there is no "they. Effective managers constantly set goals and priorities beyond formal goals set by or with their superiors. Relationships: Ineffective managers spend little time cultivating relationships throughout the organization. Effective managers view themselves as part of an organization-wide team. They don't tolerate an excuse or complaint mentality in themselves or in others. they are not particularly interested in other parts of the organization. They deliberately spend time cultivating allies throughout the firm. They see the organization as a circle of people who know and can help each other. Sometimes they even spend time planning excuses before they take action .to get the job done. be it the research lab. team players. boundary-crossers and resource sharers." They cross organizational boundaries . They foster a "we versus they" mentality." Their major loyalty is to their function and department. They are impatient with status quo management and are always looking for ways to improve.vertical and horizontal . and they are loyal to a tight clique. They are concerned about those people close to them on the organization chart. They give reasons not excuses . They share information and exchange feedback without violating trust.and successes.with customers . is "Leave me and my people alone and let us get our job done.  Effective managers are network builders. including their subordinates. They teach their people that it is also necessary for them to cross boundaries to get the job done.for setbacks and mistakes.other than on themselves .Accountability: Ineffective managers are quick to place blame anywhere . Effective managers learn about the needs and challenges of other units in the firm.just in case. They always have excuses. not the organization. they visit them. They learn a great deal by doing all this. To them.

 Realize that there are no quick or easy ways toward personal growth. well beyond anything prescribed by the organization chart. Plug away. and they are frequently out of their office managing by "wandering around.even budgets and personnel . They are excellent net-workers. By using a web of informal networks and company alliances. how can you put it to work? Here are some suggestions:  If you're brave. They resist sharing information and resources because they feel they would lose power and security if they did so. Does your perception of yourself jibe with their perception of you?  Identify people in your company who you feel are strong in particular areas on the chart. ask your colleagues (including subordinates) to rate you on the chart. tapes and training programs that might help you narrow the gaps. and thus depend on their bosses for information. be patient. By doing so.and suppliers. The '90s have gone! .  Look around for books." Resources: Ineffective managers hoard information and resources. they often don't know what's really going on in the organization. advice. Armed with this knowledge. ideas . trusting only a few people. use them as mentors if possible.with people at all levels and functions. usually those linked to them on the organization chart or those in their personal clique. Effective managers share information. Because they are not plugged into the entire firm. they are in touch with what's happening throughout the organization (they often tell their boss what's happening!) and are able to get the job done quickly and effectively. for example. Talk with them. ask them for advice. and by all means imitate them. take some risks. and you'll find yourself one of those managers who will thrive in the year 2000. Your training department and the AMA can be helpful here.  Start now. these managers create reciprocal relationships with allies and expand their influence throughout the firm.