John Bernard, Business at the Speed of Now, Podcast Episode 5: Seven Deadly Sins of Management
JB: Well hello Tom. It seems like we just did this.
TM: Doesn’t it? This is great. In our last session John and I talked about how management waste contributed to slowing economic growth and the impact that has outside the walls of our organizations. Today I have a few questions for John that focus on the second chapter of his book which is titled “Making The Shift To Now.”
John in that last half of the chapter you outline the seven deadly sins of management. What are those? Can you describe what they are and the impact they have?
JB: Sure Tom. In some ways they’re pretty obvious.
When we talk about having a lack of direction, the impact of that is people don’t know where we’re going so how do you expect them to help?
If we don’t have a line of sight, which is sort of my connection to that direction, I don’t know what I‘m going to do to make a difference and help us get there.
If I’m not sure what I’m accountable for, then you can’t count on me to do it because I don’t know what you’re counting on me to do so I’m going to need to know that.
If there’s a language spoken in the organization and it’s not a business language that makes sense to me, I can’t figure out what things are and how I fit in, then I’m also disconnected because I’m afraid to be a part of it. I can’t even speak the language if I even know it.
Poor issue transparency is another killer; what it does is just make us all hide everything. if I can’t be honest about problems I’m having then you won’t’ know I’m having problems, which is a problem.
Insufficient resources is another great waste. We pretend we’ve got enough but we don’t and we proceed anyway and we expect people to get the job done regardless.
And then finally, not having the right tools and skills. Obviously if you don’t have the right tools you’re not going to be as effective or efficient and if you don’t have the right skills you have the same problems to deal with.
TM: I was curious if you had a general feel for where most of the time needs to be invested to make these come to life? I’ve been part of organizations where we’ve have a large training seminar, lots of hours spent on trying to increase skills and knowledge in certain areas. If you can just give us a feel for where the most time is needed for a leader or a manager in an organization to install these solutions to these seven deadly sins, where would you venture a guess on that?
JB: Well I think that the first couple ones about direction, line of sight, and accountability, are very critical. This is all about engaging people and if we need to have our people, our most valuable assets, actually helping to make a different then they need to know what part of the game we need them to play. So that set of things about getting clear direction, understand how you connect to line of sight, and finally measures that show my accountability, are foundational to people being able to engage.
TM: The Now Management system that you write about in your book, in what ways does what help to begin to minimize or eliminate some of these deadly sins?
JB: Well the Now Management system actually walks through these seven and it shows a leadership team how to address each and every one. It’s systematic. It’s a lot of work for management but management is a lot of work. You actually have to figure out what do people need to be able to do to take action in the Now, that’s why we call it the Now Management system.
People need to act. They can’t sit around, they can’t wait. What things need to be present for them to be able to solve business problems in the moment?
TM: So for the leaders and mangers that have taken a deliberate approach following through your methodology there, what benefits have you seen them begin to achieve?
JB: Well typically when we do this work you’ll see 70% to 80% of the measures are actually in red or yellow, red or yellow means they’re below the levels that management wants them to be.
We’ve seen in most successful cases wherein 18 months you’ll see 30% in yellow or red. That means a huge transformation across the board in a lot of measures. That’s because we connect everybody, engage them, allow them to solve their own problems and make sure we’ve eliminated those seven deadly sins.
TM: So if I’m in an organization that isn’t quite using a deliberate approach like this but I’m one leader or I’m one manager and I want to be moving forward, what impact could I have as a single person in an organization if I began to deliberately tackle these deadly sins?
JB: Well you can have an impact Tom. We all have to look out at the organization and figure out what part we can take hold of and do something with.
I think figuring out the measures for an organization or for a team or for an individual are critical. I think creating a language around problem solving and having a common methodology are really key to be able to move quickly and solve problems.
TM: Thank you for your time today John.
JB: It was fun Tom, always.
His Inc Magazine top five bestselling book “Business At The Speed Of Now” is available at Amazon.com.
Look for our next podcast where we’ll continue pursuing how leaders can thrive in the Now. Thank you for listening and I hope you can join us next time.