Friday, July 28, 2017

Hot Button Values

I was recently cleaning some old folders on my laptop to make room for the new.  (No matter the  model purchased, I always seem to run out of hard disk space.) I came across a memo that I updated from time to time for my team when I was CIO.  This edition is from 2006, when I was at Save the Children.  It still rings true for me, which means it's likely part of my values that endure across the years of  change.

Now that I'm teaching in the fall at U. of Michigan I thought I'd look at this through the lens of leading a class of students and research projects.  My sense is that it still applies.  What are your thoughts?


MEMORANDUM

To:           IS Managers
Date:       April 17, 2006
Subject:  Hot Buttons

What Gets Recognized and Rewarded? Here are my management and work values:

1) Work hard, with passion
  • Enthusiasm and high energy are contagious
2) Be on-time
  • Set deadlines and make them
  • Raise the "red flag" early about projects running late
  • Call, or email in advance, changes in your schedule
  • Make up missed time, on the honor system
  • Do what it takes to deliver results, with self-directed flex time as the guiding principle
3) Don't waste mistakes
  • Screw-ups are OK; they're an opportunity to change and improve something
  • Be able to say: 
          a) What went wrong,
          b) What you changed so it doesn't happen again,
          c) How you're going to be faster fixing it if it does occur again.

4) Say what you mean, do what you say
  • Honesty and integrity are fundamental to a team; there can't be mutual trust without it
  • Say what's on your mind (keeping problems inside is a good recipe for ulcers)
5) Take ownership
  • Admit mistakes, take responsibility
  • Say what you're going to do to improve
  • “Sign-up" and commit to get things done
6) Propose solutions
  • Identifying the problem is only half the job; “no problem identification without recommendation.”
  • When you have a problem to solve, take time to think about and suggest possible solutions to discuss
  • Avoid complain mode and "dive-bomb deliveries;" keep ownership of the problem.
  • That way we problem solve as a team, instead of hosting a gripe party.
7) Be frugal
  • Handle time and expense records as if they were your mother's checking account
  • Look for a low cost solution that doesn't lose quality
  • Travel as if it's your credit card and bank account
8) Continuous Improvement
  • Everything can be better the next time
  • Check your work for quality, accuracy --you are your own QA department!
  • Take initiative to constantly learn new things
          o Build prototypes
          o Test hypotheses
          o Dig into things with some research and analysis
          o Have a "book-of-the-month" (CD, seminar, etc.) mentality

9) Think positive
  • Look for the bright side, the silver lining, the prize at the bottom of the box
  • The glass is not half-empty, it's half-full
10) Play hard
  • Have fun with everything you do
  • Foster a rich sense of humor (it's the best antidote for stress!)
  • Play seriously - play is work: it's the key to innovation
11) Teamwork
  • Respect your neighbor
  • Hold inclusive meetings: every opinion counts
  • Solicit all participants input; “no wall flowers!”
12) Bias for Action
  • Meet, discuss, build consensus.... but then take action and “do something!”
  • End every meeting with a clear understanding of who will do what by when
  • Look for the pragmatic solution; “80% solutions are good enough.” “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”
  • Planning is good, but so is humility: “50% of what you need to know is learned by doing;” so get started!
13) Service orientation
  • Take the time to help somebody get something done
  • Take the time to teach - help others become self-sufficient
  • Treat other departments as if they are your customers, as if they are writing your paycheck.
14) Servant Leadership
  • The management pyramid is upside down - managers serve their people
          o Help remove obstacles
          o Champion causes up the line
          o Get people what they need to get the job done.

15) Keep Score
  • “Teams that don't keep score are only practicing”
  • Gather data, run the numbers, prove the difference, “move the needle” forward


Of these 15, my top "hot" buttons are these 4:

#1 Bias for Action
  • Meet, discuss, build consensus.... but then take action and do something
  • End every meeting with a clear understanding of who will do what by when
  • Look for the pragmatic solution
  • Keep score
  • Deliver!
#2 Service orientation
  • Take the time to help somebody get something done
  • Take the time to teach - help others become self-sufficient
  • Treat other departments, vendors and each other as if they are your customers
          o As if they are writing your paycheck

#3 Take ownership
  • Admit mistakes, take responsibility
  • Say what you're going to do to improve
  • “Sign-up" and commit to get things done

#4 Play hard
  • Have fun with everything you do
  • Foster a rich sense of humor (it's the best antidote for stress!)
  • Play seriously - play is work: it's the key to innovation (prototype everything)

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