Managing your goals is more than monitoring your people

In an earlier post I mentioned my concern with regard to the staff morale in this depression era. A natural reaction of managers is to monitor their staff more and more closely (and technology enables these practices)

A better way to think about managing people is to lead them in understanding and acting on the system.

Artist: Marina Gadonneix
Artist: Marina Gadonneix

It harnesses people’ ingenuity towards contributing, learning and improving, rather than engaging their ingenuity against the system.

Systems thinkers appreciate that all performance is subject to variation.

The first-level manager should address the question: what are the causes of variation?

  • Those identified that are within the team’s control can be actioned by the team.
  • Those beyond the team’s control should be actioned by the manager.

In transforming any operationr, management’s focus changes from:

  • managing people – ensuring that people do as they ‘should’ – to
  • managing the system – understanding and improving how well the work flows, end to end, to fulfill the customers’ demands.

It is a revolutionary step away from the current pre-occupation with managing people.

It is a step that managers are only prepared to take when they have first learned that their current performance is governed by the system and not the people. Once managers make this conceptual leap they stop wasting time doing ‘one-on-ones’; the impact on productivity is enormous.

Artist: Marina Gadonneix
Artist: Marina Gadonneix
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