Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Creating Structure

I've watched a number of effective managers in my life . . . and I've even tried to imitate some of their successes.

One thing that they all had in common: their teams just worked.

It was amazing to compare highly skilled managers' team members with those of less skilled managers. Everybody from the strong manager's team seemed to be a star, and they were several steps ahead of others in the meeting - always ready to make a decision and push ahead.

Of course, the strangest part was that these managers never seemed to be devoting huge amounts of time to managing their people. Work just got done, and it was high quality.

How did the great managers craft these dream teams?

They created structures in which other people could succeed, then they got out of the way.

Instead of telling people how to write a proposal step by step, they described the information that the client needed to see and then left the proposal crafting process to a team member.

Instead of giving a strict list of duties, they created a set of objectives that should be met and allowed team members to create their own list of duties.

Instead of trying to fix areas of weakness, they crafted teams so that one person's weakness was another person's strength. No individual was perfectly strong, but the team was.

They created the structure: Great work was the byproduct.