Taking the hurdles of employees out of the way


Photo by clearlyambiguous

I was going over some of Tom Peters presentations on his website (yes, I had some free time today, and a good friend reminded me of this amazing source of great ideas about management – Thanks Tommer). These presentations are not always easy to understand  without the commentary, but some of the content is really mind-blowing! I was going through this presentation where I encountered this sentence:

Peter Drucker once famously said, “Ninety-percent of what we call ‘management’ consists of making it difficult for people to get things done.”  There is more than a grain of truth to that. On the other side, and there can be an “other side,” I see the manager’s principal role as identifying things that get in people’s way (by asking them!) and meticulously getting those things out of their way. Thence, you could call the boss the CIRO, or Chief Impedance Reduction Officer, or my choice, CHR, Chief Hurdle Remover. In any event the idea is that this is a/the primary task the boss performs—and that it is a systematic, pro-active affair (e.g., on the daily agenda).


Managers’ job is to find ways to help people excel. They do that by understanding them, what they do and what troubles them. By helping them find and use their strengths. By helping them reach a state of flow.

Doing that is not easy. But a good place to start is to try talking to people. What about?  Telling them once a week, how they made a difference this week and actively helping them create that difference.  Making sure you have an answer to these three questions. And one of the simplest ways is just asking them a simple question:

What do I need to do in order for you to excel at your job?

This quote by Peters deals just with that. You would be surprised by the answers you would hear to that question and by how easy it is to solve some of the problems they have. And you would be even more surprise of the level of engagement these people will reach when you actually solve these problems and give your employees the feeling that you are putting them first.



6 Responses to “Taking the hurdles of employees out of the way”

  1. Tommer Says:

    Finally I managed to get credit! Hurray!

    Great post. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to put it to good use.

  2. sherfelad Says:

    Come on, Tommer, you got credit in my E-book as well! 🙂

  3. Tommer Says:

    Apparently I’m a credit hog.. and did even know that!

  4. Shorts: Incentive Intelligence on not telling people what to do « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] agree. Outcome management, not giving answers and taking hurdles out of the way, are to competencies managers need to master. […]

  5. Shorts: Lean is Good (@leanisgood) on The Jackass fallacy « The Comparative Advantage Says:

    […] I love it. It is an example of another mechanism of control to deal with employee heterogeneity, that worked in the past in a world of homogeneous products and efficient production, but has lost its ability in our modern world of innovation, autonomy, mastery and purpose. It is another example of a conventional wisdom that went bad and now is preventing managers from their real work – helping people excel. […]

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