I got to know the concept of high performance management in Andrew ‘Andy’ Grove’s book. For those of you who don’t know this master of management, know that he was one of the first employees of Intel and became president of the same.
The indication of this book came from Ben Horowitz himself in a book we’ve discussed here before, Hard Things about Hard Things.
There’s no way to pass up this incredible indication since Ben Horowitz comments throughout his book on Andy’s personality and cunning when dealing with business, negotiation and people.
And Andrew Grove’s book has such sensational insights that I came here to bring them to you.
Don’t let problems become snowballs
Also known as solving problems when they are small. This tip I had already heard before reading the book. The point here is that dealing with the problem before it grows makes it possible to prevent something wrong from escalating to an out-of-control ratio.
Of course, it is not always possible to predict when this will happen, but the most important thing is to be able to diagnose a problem when it is still small. A practical example, for a sales manager, would be the following: You recognize that one of your employees is unmotivated. What do you think would be most appropriate?
- Waiting for the end-of-the-month result of this employee to make sure things aren’t looking good?
- Or talk to him as soon as possible and try to provide actions to avoid this lack of motivation?
If you follow the first alternative, you end up running the risk, after a month, of having lost time in which it could be generating a better result than what was proposed.
The impact of this? A member of your team can be fired or even ask to leave because they don’t think they are bringing a good result for the organization.
And far beyond that, you need to spend more time on new hires and training.
Now, if you follow the second alternative suggested by the team of Blue World City, a follow-up of 30-60 minutes a week, it saves you from having to waste two months needing to hire and train a new team.
The time spent, if you are in an active posture to solve problems, is always less than when the bubble bursts, and the stress when dealing with the situation is less.
I’m sure you have a problem that you would like to solve in your team, as this is something that is part of any business.
Perhaps an unmotivated member, professional attitudes that don’t align with the organization, or members that don’t get along very well.
Think of the problem-giving space you may be opening up by leaving this to be resolved in a second moment.
Once that’s done, don’t leave it for later, think about how to solve it now, and take action as soon as possible. Go deal directly with the problem.
coaching is essential
This teaching that Andy Grove himself passed on to Ben Horowitz was called One on Ones. Ben said that if his managers went more than a month without doing One on Ones, he had a very clear reason to fire them.
Get fired for not coaching the team? Yes! You just have to think about the opportunity generated by this type of activity:
- Learn about challenges the member is facing;
- Give clear directions;
- Discuss new ideas and opportunities;
- Give and collect feedback.
Coaching is not only a part of the process that can work, it also has great personal value.
In the middle of this process, it is possible to build a relationship that goes beyond the professional level and can help the work to be better performed.
After all, nothing better than empathy to know how to deal with that difficult collaborator. Some possible examples to be raised in coaching may range from:
- Infrastructure problems: bad internet, lack of key equipment, etc…
- Knowledge problems: I don’t know how to present well, I don’t have technique, I don’t understand the product and etc…
- Personal problems: Poor health, problems with parents, a child has just been born and is getting little sleep, etc…
- Between others…
I added personal problems because sometimes a direction (with the person) is something possible. When that’s not possible, you already have inputs that you should consider (perhaps reorganizing) for the long term.
Open your schedule now and close some schedules next week for coaching. Start with a few basic questions and then evolve your process according to what you think is most important. I have separated some questions from the previous article that I think are extremely valid:
- What parts of the job would you like to deepen your knowledge or gain deeper training?
- What could I do as a manager to make your job easier?
- What worries you?
- What is one unique point you would most like to change in your team?
Also check out about Agile Coaching.
Listen to your team (usually they have more perspective)
This is more difficult when the manager and the team appear to be playing on different sides. After all, naturally, the team will tend not to bring bad news to the manager and the manager also tends to consider the team only as an execution cell.
The truth is that the team often has a vision that may even be clearer about the problems and what is going on right and wrong. And leaving this feedback out is missing a great opportunity.
One important technique Andy proposes that we use is to take written notes about what was said in a feedback. And it makes perfect sense. If I can’t remember what I talked about yesterday, I’m sure I can forget valuable feedback for the simple reason that I didn’t write it down.
Furthermore, taking notes works almost like a handshake ensuring that what has been noted will be considered and taken forward. You can do this in coaching or in outside discussions.
But consider asking the team questions to validate each other’s views on how things have been going. Asking is an incentive to get people talking, which they wouldn’t say on their own.
In this sense, the manager needs to have open ears, the so-called active listening, to ensure that he is absorbing the information. Sometimes it even gets to the point of being humble to accept some feedback (even if it’s hard to hear).
It’s part of the process.
Blue World City already mentioned in the previous topic about some questions that I think are valid to be worked on.
Now a second part of the process I propose you have is, after the coaching, to compile the responses of all members into a single file and set aside time for the next week to calmly review .
The importance of this is not to let the feedback get lost once you’ve written it down. Maybe it’s enough of a problem that you’ll have to choose what to focus on at the outset, but ideally you should review this file from time to time.
lead by example
Know that you are always being analyzed.
Every new or old member will take the way you behave and consider it part of the culture, making it an acceptable standard. In Ben Horowitz’s book, it has a very clear pattern.
In that scenario, the author himself considered some behaviors (he called “profane” culture) as something acceptable as long as it fit into a scenario that motivated the team to do better and also as a way to leave very clear messages.
What the author realized was that everything he did ended up being in one way or another incorporated by the team itself.
As an example of profane culture (be careful, this is not valid for the vast majority of companies and is also not something we practice here), he cites the use of some behaviors (use of profanity) as a way to encourage the team to do what needed to be done. Making it clear, I don’t encourage this, I think the example goes far beyond that.
But the message is clear, you create the team culture. Your behaviors are worth more than your words.
Values and behavioral norms are simply not transmitted easily by talk or memo, but are conveyed very effective by doing and doing visibly.
Take a second and think: What are the factors (positive and negative) that I am encouraging my team to incorporate? It is very common for team members to incorporate not only subtle factors, but also some very clear ones.
And among the factors that the team has incorporated (whether it is your example’s responsibility or not), what would you like to change?
Always remember: behaving in a way that everyone can see is the best way to get the team to embody.
Leading by example is also based on other principles.
Time is definitely a limited resource.
This is one of the statements I must have heard the most so far in my life. I’m out of time.
The truth is that if you were to visualize this lack of time, the conclusion you will have is that most of the activities that are being carried out are of little value.
A checklist you need to answer is whether that activity you are doing right now is a high priority or, more simply, whether it is within the 20% that generates 80% of the value.
Another important factor is that every time you say yes to one activity, you are automatically saying no to another. And it becomes easy to get lost in these activities since, in addition to executing, it is necessary to manage among all the tasks, which are the most important.
A valid tip is also to think that every activity generates a price/hour value for your company or for your customer. Of course, some repetitive activities have to be done, however which ones will generate the most value?
I always seem to, right? 20% of the actions generating 80% of the results.
Are you really supposed to be reading this text right now? Or is your next meeting something that will really create value?
It is very easy to perform an action that is not always the best to generate the proposed result.
You’re going to send an email, but maybe it would be better to make a phone call which in half the time makes the message much clearer.
Also think about which activities generate the greatest return for you and your organization. What only your expertise can do.
There are times to hold hands and times to let go
The moral of the book is that you need to constantly do two things: train and motivate your team like Capital Smart City do.
But for every new skill that a member learns, should we hold out until he can do that activity on his own, or should we just let him drop when he takes his first steps?
The suggestion is that you first be aware that not in every situation there is a one-size-fits-all solution.
It is necessary to think about other variables such as the person’s maturity when performing a certain task and even the flexibility to deal with pressure when doing something new.
It is this amount of variables that good coaching is able to raise and address. By “forcing” this manager-team member coexistence, we ended up analyzing the situation from a unique perspective.
This is also valid when a member himself does not have enough skills to deal with a new situation, which can lead to friction and even demotivation of members.
The reverse is also true: micro-managing capable members is not valid or recommended and is certainly exhausting for both parties.
You can think of a framework to train your members. Earlier I talked about Shu Ha Ri.
Of course, it’s good for you to have a broad view of which skills the member needs accompaniment and which ones he can play on his own.
Try not to be too bureaucratic and choose 2 or 3 skills to develop. Also target the learner very specifically.
For example, learning about business is something very broad. Try to focus on more specific categories or look for validated materials, for example.
If the idea is to learn about specific points within the sales process, I suggest this complete guide to sales techniques.
And in a second moment, apply the knowledge little by little.
I hope the message was clear.
Managing is not simple, but if done in the right way it has a huge impact on the members of the organization. Regardless of whether he is at the top or the bottom, you need to take this factor into account and be willing to develop your team members.
Also don’t allow problems to grow into an unbearable situation. This is a sign of very high management maturity.
Along with that, staying close to the team and gathering feedback, without fear of addressing the elephant in the room, is something that demonstrates a very strong team atmosphere as well.
Last and not least, manage your time by always prioritizing the most valuable activities.