This was the response for each time I asked about it after taking over as the boss in four organizations.
My prior experience primarily involved large organizations with many moving parts. The organizations I worked for provided great exposure to many types of managerial and leadership training events. I was even fortunate to take a class from Dr. Edward Deming, who was affiliated with the Total Quality Management movement many years ago.
Subsequently, I learned about the works of several other pillars in the field – people such as Peter Drucker (the father of modern management), Warren Bennis, and others. Based on all of this exposure, I developed a set of practices that seem to work.
First, there is no single best way to run an organization – because there are just too many variables to pick just one (this is a topic for a future posting). The variables include you, the boss, the nature of the work environment, and the nature of the employees. My advice is to be cautious of articles starting with “The 7 Key Things Great Leaders Do” or something like that. Management is just not that simple to be boiled down to 7 key things or 5 greatest attributes of leadership, or whatever…If it were that simple, we would not need the thousands of books on the topic or the large number of MBA’s in the workforce (another future posting).
That said, I firmly believe a few fundamentals exist:
- Select your staff for their strengths and make their weaknesses irrelevant (this is a Drucker-ism). Do not hire your buddies, your family members, or others unless they are the right fit – period.
- Focus your staff on the organization’s higher purpose – and it’s not growth or profit margin. It has to be genuine, meaningful, and the truth.
- Pay the employees fairly and treat them as if they were volunteers – because they are (another Drucker-ism).
- Create an organizational execution plan with your team to create goals, schedules, and quality/cost targets as if it was all project management – because it is.
- Find out how you can help your staff achieve the goals
- Get the staff to collaborate as a team to achieve the higher organizational purpose
- Develop trust within the organization so you all can live full lives.
Feel free to ask questions about running an organization or other management topics.
Tim Parker is a Business Consultant focusing on Executives and Leadership. He is President of Parker Resource Management, LLC in Raleigh, NC.
"What do you want to be remembered for?" - Peter Drucker