Thoughts on ways to improve the management of professional services firms

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Praise from Martin Hoffman for the Common Management Problem Series

I am grateful to Martin Hoffman for his compliments on my Common Management Problems series . This series takes me time because I want it to be simple and useful, drawing from my own experience. With Martin's approval, I am running his email to me as a post with my own comments.

Thanks for your series on Common Management Problems. I have a lot of ideas in my head about improving processes etc. Once I think I've got the solution, I will tell people. And move on to the next idea. And that's where I sometimes used to run into problems (and sometimes still do) because, as you point out, something that's obvious and clear to me, may not be as obvious and clear to the people I work with.

I think that Martin has caught something very real here. I think that any enthusiastic manager is prone to this fault. Certainly I am. Martin goes on:

But what I do now is to try and find "champions" who are quicker to understand and who I can trust to relay the message and repeat it and work with everybody else. In the beginning I tried to singlehandedly convince everyone in the organizations. Now I am trying to adhere to what I call my "Avalanche principle". I just try to push the right people, and usually it spreads. It doesn't always work. But when it does, the great thing is that those "champions" all feel like they have a stake in it, so they are very driven. And I get to think of the next thing sooner...

I think that Martin is spot on the money here. I think that we as managers have to create the climate, but when it comes to pushing things through we have to have our champions. Martin continues.

The other interesting observation here is that job level doesn't always matter. Sometimes it pays to inspire the very junior people and they will spread the message upwards.

Hallelujah brother! But its even better than that. Inspire the juniors and they will impose the message on difficult senior staff. Better still, they are usually the group with the best new ideas. Martin continues:

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I really enjoy this particular series on your blog. I hope you will continue with it.

Thank you, Martin. I will.

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