What managers should do – a few thoughts about practical wisdom

 I have to admit that after seeing so many recommendations about it around the web I was really eager to see Barry Schwartz’s talk at TED. They say that high expectations beget disappointment. Well, this maybe a good example of an expectation. This is one of the most inspiring and appealing speeches I have seen.

The speech contains so many themes that are worthy of a discussion that I can develop a whole blog around them. However, I will only elaborate on one of them and let you think of the rest. Listening to Barry talk about the fact that some janitors describe their jobs differently than the formal job description that entails a only a list of what he must clean, by talking about the way they interact with people, reminded me what Markus Buckingham talks about in “First, breaking all the rules” about how great manager treat their employees. If I try to summarise both of their ideas and incorporate my own it will sound something like this:

  • 1. Find the right people – people have different talents. Many times, in order to be great at a job – yes, even that of a janitor – you need more than the basic skills for actually doing the job. In this case, a janitor in a hospital needs empathy. How many hiring for janitors include that in their list of demands? But it is true in many other jobs. There is always the extra passion or talent that transforms good employees to great ones. Find a candidate with such a passion or talent and your chances of hiring a great employee increases.
  • 2. Let them to the job – people work differently. They produce the same outcomes differently. Don’t interfere. Don’t make up rules. Maybe, as Barry says, don’t even create incentives (I am not sure I totally agree with that one). Don’t try to make them do the job the way you would have done it. Give them the intellectual and mental space to work it on their own. Provide support and training but don’t create rules about the specific job. If phase one was done correctly, they will find the way to produce the outcomes you required.
  • 3. Actively look for results – this seems like an obvious stage, but it is not. And when I talk about results, I don’t mean only if the job is done, but how is it done; what is the joy the employee derives from doing it; what are the ripple effects of his work. You can’t do that by looking only on the products. You have to talk to the employee. You have to walk around in his area. You have to assess his work from different perspectives.
  • 4. Replace or retain – if someone is not fit for the job, if the only results you see at level three are the “formal” ones, than it is wiser to let go. Off course, this should not be done lightly and not before you are absolutely sure that there is no match. But it is better to lead an employee to directions where he can produce those results. Where he can put his “practical wisdom” that Barry talks about in his speech for good use. Because as I said in point one, each of us has different “practical wisdom” or talent. On the other hand, those who do create result should be recognized. Or as Barry calls it: “celebrate moral exemplars“. This is the guy you want to spend most of your time with. This is the guy, you want to learn and frame step one according to. This is the one you should try to do everything to retain, because these are the people who truly excel and drive your organization forward.

Elad

About these ads

19 Responses to “What managers should do – a few thoughts about practical wisdom”

  1. What Managers Should Do - A Few Thoughts About Practical Wisdom | DelhiPlanet Says:

    [...] Note: This article has been reproduced with explicit permission from the author. Check the original post here. [...]

  2. Practical implications of the “Paradox of Choice” « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    [...] few weeks ago I wrote about Barry Schwartz’s inspiring talk about practical wisdom. After I relaxed from that amazing talk, I searched for more of his talks on TED and yesterday I [...]

  3. Are automation and checklists the only answer for the problem of microdecisions? « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    [...] 2. Chose the right people. People who have the ability to make the right decisions as a matter of intuition. I would refer you to the talk about “Practical Wisdom” by Barry Schwartz and the discussion of it in my blog. [...]

  4. What will your employees do when you leave for a vacation? « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    [...] great managers focus on the setting and explaining the right desired outcomes and let the people do their jobs in the best they can. But, even this outcome perspective about management does not come without [...]

  5. Isn’t it time we stop with trying to create rules? « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    [...] resoanted with me. I am not suprised given my writing on outcome management and the fact that this is what I wrote a few months back as one of my lessons from Barry Schwartz’s talk at [...]

  6. Best posts on The Comparative Advantage for 2009 (and a little more) « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    [...] What managers should do – a few thoughts about practical wisdom [...]

  7. More on stopping with the rules « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    [...] A few days ago I wrote about the lesson I learned from visiting the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel in Mumbai – we need to stop trying and create rules for employees. I quoted something I wrote after watching  Barry Schwartz’s talk at TED: [...]

  8. human capital systems Says:

    This design is spectacular! You most certainly know how to keep a reader
    entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost
    moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

  9. medical courses Says:

    Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
    Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very
    techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick.
    I’m thinking about setting up my own but I’m not sure where to start.
    Do you have any tips or suggestions? Thanks

  10. visual merchandising course Says:

    My partner and I stumbled over here different page and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking at your web page yet again.

  11. Sterling Says:

    whoah this blog is magnificent i really like studykng your articles.
    Keep up the great work! You know, a lot of individuals are searching around for this info, you can aid them greatly.

  12. visual courses Says:

    Since the foods you eat will either help your weight
    loss or hurt it, you will want to make sure the kitchen
    is a room where Feng Shui balanced is easily achieved.
    A bamboo roll-up banner stand rolling down the window is just tantalizing.
    Keep working on your portfolio (taking unpaid
    jobs if need be) to gain more experience and add to your resume.

  13. eye cream Says:

    Transportation typically eats up a large portion of a traveler’s budget, especially when travel plans require international flights.

    Multi-purpose solution is specially made for the cleanliness of contacts.
    Eye medications and treatments can be quite costly.

  14. voyance Says:

    Howdy would you mind stating which blog platform
    you’re working with? I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m
    having a hard time selecting between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems
    different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique.
    P.S My apologies for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  15. Power Paychecks Says:

    Hi, I check your new stuff like every week.
    Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

  16. Example Says:

    Hi there, I wish for to subscribe for this
    weblog to obtain latest updates, therefore where can i
    do it please help.

  17. alternative treatment shampoo for lice and nits Says:

    Rinse comb under hot water and wipe it off on a paper towel before combing the next section.
    Now apply this mixture of almond paste and lemon juice on your scalp and wait for the next one to
    two hours. Many families are growing more and more concerned with the chemical make-up of the products they use in their homes.

  18. rainbow bracelets Says:

    This site really has all of the info I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to
    ask.

  19. forex information Says:

    If you do wish to add scalping to your trading
    toolbox, it is extremely important to pick a broker who can support a scalpers’system.
    Apart from monitoring several currency pairs, you can trade in several markets, in several time
    zones. To put this another way, a stock’s earnings yield is ‘e” over ‘p”.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: