Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘management

How management gets in the way of success? Too long a list to enumerate?

“Most of what we call management consists of
making it difficult for people to get their work done.”
Peter Drucker

By Dan Rockwell?

Four ways managers get in the way:

  1. Meddling – Managers that roadblock work stay too close and talk too much. Your people want you to let them work. Stop by to encourage and ask questions, briefly. Express interest, give direction, and get out of the way. Stay close enough to monitor progress.
  2. Meetings – Too many meetings that include too many people that share too much detail. Meetings are expensive. A one hour meeting with 8 people in attendance costs their combined salaries plus lost productivity. Remember, you don’t get anything done in a meeting. Things get done after meetings. Send a memo. (A few managers charge their personnel per hour for meeting in the meeting room
  3. Butt covering reports – Requesting too many reports that include too much irrelevant detail that takes up too much space in file cabinets and on networks. One reason you ask for all the detail is to cover your butt. It’s a business culture issue. Fear based cultures lack vitality, freedom, and performance.
  4. Projects rather than people – It’s instinctive to focus on projects and deliverable. However, it’s more effective and efficient to give clear direction, encouragement, and motivation to your people than it is to get directly involved in long-term projects. People deliver projects, not meeting or reports.

Enhancing productivity may not be about doing more and working harder.

It may be about meddling and meeting less, fewer reports, and focusing on people.

How do managers make it difficult to get work done?

13 mistakes “new leaders” makes: This taboo number 13. As if older leaders ever diminish this number of mistakes!

There are different types of mistakes and errors that people commit, “leaders new and old” and no leaders…Just you and me…the little people

1. Mistakes “reserved” for management of people

2. Mistakes with complicated created “professional” terms attached to them

3. Mistakes organized in taxonomies, or check lists…

4. Mistakes never reminded of…and never accounted for…and never confronted with

Let start with the first category of mistakes that Dan Rockwell recollects:

“Mistakes matter more when you’re the new kid on the block. Long-term relationships contextualize and soften occasional screw ups. Here are 13 mistakes new leaders make:

  1. Forgetting your arrival stresses others, including those who hired you. The stress you feel, others feel too. (What arrival?)
  2. Proving technical skill. You don’t need to prove what you know. You did that when they hired you. Own the job. You’re qualified.
  3. Reaching for big wins. Grab low hanging fruit. Win small – win often. Big wins are the result of a series of small wins.
  4. Believing everything you’re told. People have agendas. Trust but verify.
  5. Basing confidence in technical skills rather than the ability to learn.
  6. Making yourself look good while neglecting others. You look good when you make others look good. Use “we” more than “I” or “me”.
  7. Making statements before asking questions. Questions make new leaders look smart.
  8. Forgetting what’s small to you is big to others. Before changing things ask, Who’s impacted?”
  9. Neglecting the social game. New leaders get so busy they forget to connect vertically and horizontally within organizations.
  10. Not making decisions. Listen, investigate, seek suggestions, but whatever you do, decide.
  11. Neglecting the players who really get things done while focusing on high-profile people. Play with players who aren’t official leaders.
  12. Forgetting names. (That’s the hardest to overcome…especially when you substitute the names with nicknames that are never funny to the concerned persons…)
  13. Making premature judgments about people. Watch the quiet ones. They offer more than you think. (And what if they keep hiding and refuse to meet you?)

Remember: When you feel the need to receive honor, give it.

Contributors own list of mistakes: Leadership Freak Coffee Shop (second question down the page)

What mistakes have you seen new leaders make?

How can new leaders avoid common new-leader mistakes?

“So, you want systems to fit people?” February 21, 2005

 “So far, it sounds that Human Factors in engineering is a vast field of knowledge and it could have many applications.”  You are absolutely right, the profession is multidisciplinary.

Let us consider the problems that an excellent human factors designer has to cope with when he has to incorporate the human dimensions into his design and the body of knowledge he has to learn and incorporate in his practice:

First, there are no design drawings for people as traditional engineers are familiar with because the structure of human organisms is approximately delineated and the mechanisms are imperfectly understood.

Second, people vastly differ in anthropometric dimensions, cognitive abilities, sensory capabilities, motor abilities, personalities, and attitudes; thus the challenge of variability is different from physics where phenomena behave in countable fashions and can be accounted for in design.

Third, people change with time; they change in dimensions, abilities and skills as well as from moment to moment attributable to boredom, fatigue, lapse of attention, interactions among people and with the environment.

Fourth, the world is constantly changing and systems are changing accordingly; thus interfaces for designing jobs, operations and environment have to be revisited frequently.

Fifth, contrary to the perception of people regarding the other traditional engineering fields, when we deal with human capabilities, limitations and behavior everyone feels is an expert on the basis of common sense acquired from living and specific experiences and we tend to generalize our feelings to all kinds of human behaviors. For examples, we think that we have convictions concerning the effects of sleep, dreams, age, and fatigue; we believe that we are rather good judges of people’s motives, we have explanations for people’s good memories and abilities, and we have strong positions on the relative influence of nature and nurture in shaping people’s behavior.  Consequently, the expertise of human factors professionals are not viewed as based on science.

To be a competent ergonomics expert you need to take courses in many departments like Psychology, Physiology, Neurology, Marketing, Economy, Business, Management, and of course engineering.

You need to learn applied statistics, system’s modeling (mathematical and prototyping), the design of experiments, writing and validating questionnaires, collecting data on human performance, analyzing and interpreting data on the interactions of human with systems.

You need updating you knowledge continuously with all kinds of systems’ deficiencies that often hurt people in their daily lives, and learn the newer laws that govern the safety and health of the employees in their workplace. 

All the above courses and disciplines that you are urged to take or to be conversant with have the well being of targeted end users in mind.  To be an expert well qualified designer you need to assimilate the physical and cognitive abilities of end users and what they are capable of doing best; you need to discover their limitations as well so that you may reduce errors and foreseeable misuses of any product or interface that you have the responsibility to design. 

You need to fit the product or interface to the users and avoid lengthy training or useless stretching of the human body in order to permit the users to efficiently manipulate your design.  An excellent designer has to know the advantages and limitations of the five senses and how to facilitate the interaction with systems under minimal stress, errors committed, and health complications generated from prolonged usage and repetitive movements of parts of the body.

I am glad, my newly found friend, that you are attentively listening to my lucubration.

I would like it better if you ask me questions that prove to me that you are enthusiastic.

Could you enumerate a few incidents in your life that validate the importance of this field of study?

“Well, suppose that I enroll in that all encompassing specialty, are there any esoteric and malignant courses that are impressed upon me?”

Unfortunately, as any university major and engineering included, many of the courses are discovered to be utterly useless once you find a job.

However, you have to bear the cross for 4 years in order to be awarded a miserly diploma. This diploma, strong with a string of grade of “A’s” will open the horizon for a new life, a life of a different set of worries and unhappiness.

I can tell you for sure that it is not how interesting are the courses but the discipline that you acquired in the process. 

You need to start enjoying reading, every day for at least 5 hours, taking good care for the details in collecting data or measuring anything, learning to write everyday, meticulously and stubbornly, not missing a single course or session, giving your full concentration during class, taking notes and then reading your notes afterwards, coordinating the activities of your study groups, being a leader and a catalyst for all your class associates.

You need to waking up full of zest and partying hard after a good week of work and study, staying away, like the plague, from those exorbitantly expensive restaurants and dancing bars because they are the haven of all those boring, mindless and useless people who are dependent completely on their parents.

Well, you will hear, frequently, that securing a University diploma is a testing ground for your endurance to accepting all kinds of nonsense.  It is.

Most importantly, it is testing the endurance of your folks who are paying dearly for that nonsense.

You want happiness? Manage your nerves. (November, 10, 2008)


There are three ways to burn energy; on your nerves, your muscles and your brain cells.  I knew subconsciously that the first way is my nemesis which siphoned every drop of energy from me.  Almost 60 years later or until last year I realized that my decisions were guiding me to be relieved of jobs and activities that were nerve consuming.  I focus now on works that require physical and mental activities.  Yes, I hate regular money earning jobs; the thought of a regular job repulse me.  I am working 16 hours a day and do not feel that tired.  I work my garden, I read, write, review books, and publish on  I drive within a couple of miles from home, no traffic jams, no time wasted on the roads, no hard looks, no internal jockeying politics, no orders to receive from redundant bosses, and no forced meetings.  I pay visits three mornings a week a nearby public library; it is very quiet; I am the only fool to patronize libraries; I read all kinds of new manuscripts and magazines and borrow books too.  The library has a nice almost wild garden and Rita or Mary offer me Nescafe with cookies. 

The general impression around me is that I am useless and that I have wasted my life and didn’t make good use of my professional learning or potentials within the paradigm of the fast pace dictum.  I certainly ended up without money, I didn’t build a house and I didn’t marry but finally I have happiness in my heart. So far, I am inclined to believe that I will get my daily bread. One day, I was totally broke and then I won $1000 in the lotto; I paid my yearly fees to the library and my dues to the Order of Engineers and thus secured my health insurance. Once, I needed to submit to a surgery and I asked wealthy contractor money to cover the extra expenses; I didn’t even say it would be a loan or promised to return the money; I just needed the money and I got it.

I wake up early happy, I work in the tiny garden happy, I read happy and I write happy.  I take naps and enjoy my night sleep.  I realized that what I read I didn’t know, what I knew made sense, what made sense are now part of me and I write about all that and disseminate it.  I am no recluse by choice: when I am invited for a hiking trip or an almost free night out then I am ready; I do enjoy a change in the environment and mingling and observing people.

The saddest part is that I feel sad about the people surrounding me who think that I am miserable and might not be a pleasant company to be around because I don’t care for a regular job and cannot afford to go out.  All this is happening when I feel much more open minded and that sharing my joy with a knowing companion or a friend with free time to spend then it would triple my joy!  The problem is that the process of finding a companion should be a nerve wracking endeavor and the odds of her sharing my “lethargic” happy state are pretty slim.  Heck, if I was in the tripling business in the first place I would have committed suicide after the latest Wall Street crash!




March 2023

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