High Output Management

I’ll be going through this bit by bit…

I’m starting with this, becuase man is made for action.

Key Idea 1: output-oriented approach to management by applying principles of manufacturing to business

Key Idea 2: human activity is pursued by teams, not individuals

Key Idea 3: provide task-relevant feedback to create peak performance consistently

A manager’s output = output of his organisation + output of the neighbouring organisations under his influence

A manager not only gathers information but is also a source of it. He must convey his knowledge to members of his own organization and to other groups he influences. Beyond relaying facts, a manager must also communicate his objectives, priorities, and preferences as they bear on the way certain tasks are approached. This is extremely important, because only if the manager imparts these will his subordinates know how to make decisions themselves that will be acceptable to the manager, their supervisor. Thus, transmitting objectives and preferred approaches constitutes a key to successful delegation.

Three key ways a manager can increase their leverage on output

  1. increase the rate which a manager performs his actitivites
  2. increase the leverage associated with the activity
  3. shift the mix of manager’s activity from low to high leverage

These can be achieved in three basic ways:

• When many people are affected by one manager.

• When a person’s activity or behavior over a long period of time is affected by a manager’s brief, well-focused set of words or actions.

  • When a large group’s work is affected by an individual supplying a unique, key piece of knowledge or information.

To use your calendar as a production-planning tool, you must accept responsibility for

two things:

1. You should move toward the active use of your calendar, taking the initiative to fill the holes between the time-critical events with non-time-critical though necessary activities.

2. You should say “no” at the outset to work beyond your capacity to handle.

The next important production concept we can apply to managerial work is to strive toward regularity.

Accordingly, we should do everything we can to prevent little stops and starts in our day as well as interruptions brought on by big emergencies. Even though some of the latter are unavoidable, we should always be looking for sources of future high-priority trouble by cutting windows into the black box of our organization. Recognizing you’ve got a time bomb on your hands means you can address a problem when you want to, not after the bomb has gone off.

To make the most of this kind of meeting, we should aim to infuse it with regularity. In other words, the people attending should know how the meeting is run, what kinds of substantive matters are discussed, and what is to be accomplished. It should be designed to allow a manager to “batch” transactions, to use the same “production” set-up time and effort to take care of many similar managerial tasks. Moreover, given the regularity, you and the others attending can begin to forecast the time required for the kinds of work to be done.

At the same time, the subordinate teaches the supervisor, and what is learned is absolutely essential if the supervisor is to make good decisions.

A staff meeting is one in which a supervisor and all of his subordinates participate, and which therefore presents an opportunity for interaction among peers. As we will see later, peer interaction — especially decision-making by a group of peers — is not easy. Yet it is key to good management.

Once the meeting is over, the chairman must nail down exactly what happened by sending out minutes that summarize the discussion that occurred, the decision made, and the actions to be taken. And it’s very important that attendees get the minutes quickly, before they forget what happened. The minutes should also be as clear and as specific as possible, telling the reader what is to be done, who is to do it, and when. All this may seem like too much trouble, but if the meeting was worth calling in the first place, the work needed to produce the minutes is a small additional investment (an activity with high leverage) to ensure that the full benefit is obtained from what was done.

Employing consistent ways by which decisions are to be made has value beyond simply expediting the decision-making itself. People invest a great deal of energy and emotion in coming up with a decision. Then somebody who has an important say-so or the right to veto it may come across the decision later.

Similarly, our behavior in a work environment can be controlled by three invisible and pervasive means. These are:

• free-market forces

• contractual obligations

  • cultural values

CUA: Complexity, Uncertainty, Ambiguity

Flow

The conclusion is that varying management styles are needed as task-relevant maturity varies. Specifically, when the TRM is low, the most effective approach is one that offers very precise and detailed instructions, wherein the supervisor tells the subordinate what needs to be done, when, and how: in other words, a highly structured approach. As the TRM of the subordinate grows, the most effective style moves from the structured to one more given to communication, emotional support, and encouragement, in which the manager pays more attention to the subordinate as an individual than to the task at hand. As the TRM becomes even greater, the effective management style changes again. Here the manager’s involvement should be kept to a minimum, and should primarily consist of making sure that the objectives toward which the subordinate is working are mutually agreed upon. But regardless of what the TRM may be, the manager should always monitor a subordinate’s work closely enough to avoid surprises. The presence or absence of monitoring, as we’ve said before, is the difference between a supervisor’s delegating a task and abdicating it. The characteristics of the effective management style for the supervisor given the varying degrees of TRM are summarized in the table below.

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