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If the Shoe Fits: the Most Important Management Action

by Miki Saxon

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read allIf the Shoe Fits posts here

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mWhen I started this blog I wrote a post called Management Bedrock in response to a query from a newly promoted manager who didn’t want to be mediocre.

My advice to him hasn’t changed and it reflected in two very different situations.

The first is from Derek Flanzraich, founder of Greatist, talking about mistakes to avoid.

Not Sharing Enough With the Team

I aim to be transparent with my team to the point of feeling uncomfortable about it. Since we’re so small and what we’re doing is so important, believe it’s key to express that trust. This year, I failed to share my general thoughts on the future a few times, so I’ve learned to be more proactive. We’re all in this together–and I need their help!

It’s an older and much different environment in Europe; however, transparency and skilled communications not only worked for BMW, but won it an award.

“There is no better way to motivate than to communicate,” Johannas Haider, VP of Purchasing, Production and Technology Plastics-Exterior at BMW, told INSEAD Knowledge at the 2012 Industrial Excellence Awards ceremony near Munich in October.  Haider calls his BMW subsidiary in Tubingen a “Transparent Factory” in which management and workers are cross-trained to understand the entire manufacturing process.  The workflow is also visible on “dashboard” charts throughout the plant.  “This is our answer to complexity,” he says.

Transparency; trust; openness.

Here’s the simple mantra I shared years ago and have shared with clients for more than three decades.

Premise: People are intelligent, motivated and want to help their company/manager succeed.

Corollary: It’s management’s responsibility to provide them with all the information needed to understand how to perform their work as correctly, completely and efficiently as possible.

Print it. Post it in where you’ll see it every day. Practice it all the time.

Don’t wait for a good time, just do it now—do it always.

Image credit: HikingArtist

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