• Five Steps to Managing Smart People

    Five Steps to Managing Smart People

    1. Become a Good Steward of Creative Brainpower. Start with the Premise that the Purpose of a Company is to be a Vehicle in which People Express Their Creativity.

    If you accept the concept that the creative talent of the workforce is the primary asset and that a major part of your job is to be an effective steward of that resource, then it follows that you want and need a complete inventory of the talent you have.

     Stop and really think this through.  If you have not perceived that the development of the workforce is the most important function, the essence, of the Long-Term Success of the Company, then it makes little sense to attempt to provide information to expand that perception for you.  You must ask, without people what constitutes a company? What is the essence of a company if not the people?

     

    1. Take Inventory of Your People. Discover Who They Are, Their Stories, Not Just What They Are from a Skills Inventory.  Seek to Know What Hand You Have Really Been Dealt with Respect to People

    Taking inventory reveals both what you have and what you need… what you know and what you do not know.  Taking inventory of the professionals readily reveals what they are in their disciplines but likely reveals little about who they are as complete and unique individuals with undiscovered talents, abilities, ambitions, motivations and aspirations accessible but unknown to the company.  So it is necessary to look at your people again…

     

    Large companies have extensive skill banks brimming with data about what a person can do and at what level of expertise.  A task needs to be completed and you enter the technical specialties required and the level of expertise and a search gives back a list of candidates.  In addition there are many on-line surveys to discover your strengths, your motivations, your best fit into the future. But it is all canned analysis.  The missing element is the quality of human experience, the process of embarking on a journey of discovery with someone else.  The danger is isolation, learning more and more about oneself without the external validation that gives it credibility.

     

    1. Reperceive Your People. Look at Them Again…In a Different Way.

    Explore the “Inner World” of Your People Through In-Depth, One-On-One Dialogue.

    As you look at your people in a different way and discover the “inner world” of people through humble inquiry you learn much more about them.  They will tell you about core career values that lead to long-term value-based goals, about their best job fit, their key motivational drivers, strengths of character, underutilized talents and their best possible alternative futures. Just ask… and listen.  This process works best if it is conducted in a value-based environment, so….

     

    1. Establish, Manage and Defend a Creative Climate. Foster Freedom of Expression, Self-Motivation, Mutual Trust and Respect and Achievement of Long-Term Goals Consistent with Personal Values.

    Such a creative climate provides a framework in which people can make the transition from dependence to independence, from weakness and to strength, power and influence and from simple to more complex problem-solving.  People in this environment of trust bond together and stay together.  This climate encourages a vocabulary that welcomes Why and What If and encourages you to …

     

    1. Manage By Values. Lead with a Humble Attitude and a Beginner’s Curious Brain.  Recognize that High Tech Requires a Balance of High Touch. Managing Smart People is a Complex Problem Premised on the Need for the Quality of Human Experience.

    Humility is the ability to hold power loosely in the service of others.  Humility is the key to both learning and power in leadership. Curiosity is more important than knowledge going forward.  The only competitive advantage you have as a manager is to learn faster than the competition.

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