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Managerial Leadership Practices based on the Time Span research of Elliott Jaques.

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Too Much Humidity

“It’s not your fault that your most valuable team member is out sick, but I will still hold you accountable for the results from your team. What has to change?” I repeated. Vicki was still stumped. “Vicki, let’s look at all the variables that could have an impact on production. You are focusing on the team’s manual assembly. Do they work at different...

Your Fault My Fault

“You’ve talked about this before, but I want to make sure I understand it. We need to get 30 units out of this team every day, 15 in the morning and 15 in the afternoon. Right now, if they don’t make it, as their Manager, I get pissed. If it happens two days in a row, double-pissed,” Vicki stated flatly. “And if that’s the way you see it, then,...

A Shift in Accountability

“They don’t give me an early warning because if production is late, they know I will be upset and I will want to know why they failed to produce the desired result, I guess,” Vicki winced. “If I don’t find out about an order that’s late, I can’t get angry. At least until the customer calls. That’s when emotions flare up.” “And how many of your customers...

Early or Late?

Vicki was almost laughing. “Do you mean, that if my team can work faster, finish early, they are supposed to tell me? I’m sorry, my team will expand the work to whatever time frame they think I will buy.” “I understand that,” I replied. “That is actually Parkinson’s Law. Work expands to the time allotted. So, what is it about your system, as a...

Toward a More Accurate Prescription

“To determine the cause of the problem,” I continued, “you have to look at more than symptoms. Look at any medical doctor. Before they can prescribe a remedy, they are trained to look at very specific things. I assume you have a physician?” I asked. Sarah laughed, “Of course.” “When you go to see the doctor, after the pleasantries, what does the...

Because We Said So

“Just to be clear,” Sarah wanted to know, “if communication is the symptom, but accountability and authority is the cause, what’s the fix?” “You already told me that your communication seminar did not make any improvement. Is your answer embedded in your question?” I asked. “We have to fix accountability and authority?” she angled her head to the...

Not a Communication Problem

“I am a bit confused,” Sarah explained. “As an executive management team, CEO included, we were frustrated about some issues that were not going well.” “And, what did you do?” I asked. “We thought it best to take a survey, kind of a company climate survey, to let everyone chip in and express their opinion about things gone wrong and how to fix them,”...

Looming Uncertainty

“While timespan helps us understand the capability required for the role,” Pablo explained, “it also applies to the CEO.” “I’m listening,” I replied. “The cause of many organizational issues start with the CEO. Sometimes, in the pursuit of growth, the organization outgrows the timespan capability of the founder. It’s not just headcount or revenue...

The Girth of the Organization

“Why do most startups fail?” I asked. “The standard answer is that they are undercapitalized,” Pablo replied. “But, I believe that is only a symptom of a larger problem.” “The larger problem?” I pressed. “Most startups begin with an idea, that the founder believes may have viability as an enterprise. It is this beginning of an idea, only vaguely...

Effectiveness

“I am still not ready to let go my KPIs,” Brendon stated flatly. “I don’t want you to let them go, I am just saying that results-based-performance may not tell the whole story and is unreliable in judging effectiveness,” I replied. “Looking at a salesperson’s effectiveness, have you ever had someone go over quota (sales KPI) and, yet, you knew, as...

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