3 years ago I had to deal with all kind of processes: The no-process strategy (my favorite .. sight), heavy waterfall (I’m still soaked by that one …), home grown iterative process etc. Scrum was definitely only discussed during a good Rugby game.
I finally had a chance to finish reading Richard Branson’s biography: Losing my virginity. After Jack Welsh, Branson was on my top 10 business leaders list and after reading his 600+ pages bio, he’s probably not far from the top. What an amazing read ! To my surprise, it really reads as a novel and has a very particular personal touch I appreciate. The most surprising of all for me is the fact that Branson was not necessarily promised to such success: Poor academic records, dyslexia, not a lot family backup (from a financial perspective) etc.
“Management Time: Who’s got the Monkey” is probably one of the most popular management article published by the Harvard Business Review. It’s been written by William Oncken and Donald Wass in 1974. It’s been reprinted several time since then and the message is still very true. This is a must read for everyone who has trouble delegating and ends up doing their subordinates or peers work.
If you can relate to the following situation, you should definitely read the article:
Let us imagine that a manager is walking down the hall and that he notices one of his subordinates, Jones, coming his way. When the two meet, Jones greets the manager with, “Good morning. By the way, we’ve got a problem. You see …. “As Jones continues, the manager recognizes in this problem the two characteristics common to all the problems his subordinates gratuitously bring to his attention. Namely, the manager knows (a) enough to get involved, but (b)not enough to make the on-the-spot decision expected of him. Eventually, the manager says, “So glad you brought this up. I’m in a rush right now. Meanwhile, let me think about it, and I’ll let you know.” Then he and Jones part company.
You’ve just allowed the actual problem or “monkey” to leap from your employee back to yours.
I’ve always picked up quite a bit of management and business knowledge by observing and talking to leaders around me. I’ve been fairly lucky so far and have been regularly surrounded by people who impressed and inspired me. They all helped me in one way or another to get better at what I’m doing.
Another way to get some inspiration and motivation is to read biographies about very successful people in whatever industry they are working in. Jack Welch, is one of these people and his biography Straight from the Gut is a fantastic read !
As part of my professional growth and training, I spend quite a bit of free time reading books on various subjects. These days I’m particularly attracted by the business shelf. I get technical growth directly on web article and conference (online and live test conference. More on this in a future post) but nothing replace (other than experience) a good book in the business area. I’m part of the personal MBA community which offers an interesting concept. I can’t say that I’m a very active member but I do pick up some good book recommendations on their website.
I’m particularly interested in business biography these days: just finished one about Jack Welsh (former GE CEO), one about Lou Gertsner (former IBM CEO) and I’m looking forward reading one about Richard Branson (current Virgin CEO). Continue reading