27 Nov

10 Things That Good Bosses Do

http://managerlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/blog_best_teacher-1.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 150px) 100vw, 150px" />When I read this blog article I knew I had to share it with our readers and PM/FM followers. I thought it would really hit home with our industry. -Linda

Guest Author Blog Article with permission from Jody Gilbert and Steve Tobak from TechRepublic.com
Date: November 16th, 2010 Author: Steve Tobak

As we discovered in 7 Signs You May Be a Bad Manager, bosses aren’t usually aware that they are bad bosses. The fact is that nobody wants to believe they’re the problem. Nevertheless, there’s a bell curve for all things involving people, which means there are few really bad bosses, few really good bosses, and most of you fall somewhere in the middle.

To me that says, for the vast majority of you, there’s lots of room for improvement.

So, if you’re not exhibiting any of the 7 Signs, that’s great, pat yourself on the back. Still, if you really want to up your management game, maybe even vault into the executive or ownership ranks someday, you’d better start doing at least a few of these 10 Things That Good Bosses Do.

Incidentally, this isn’t from some academic study. These are real attributes of real bosses, culled from decades of observation, which motivate and inspire employees to perform at their best.

1. Pay people what they’re worth, not what you can get away with. What you lose in expense you gain back several-fold in performance.
2. Take the time to share your experiences and insights. Labels like mentor and coach are overused. Let’s be specific here. Employees learn from those generous enough to share their experiences and insights. They don’t need a best friend or a shoulder to cry on.
3. Tell it to employees straight, even when it’s bad news. To me, the single most important thing any boss can do is to man up and tell it to people straight. No BS, no sugarcoating, especially when it’s bad news or corrective feedback.
4. Manage up … effectively. Good bosses keep management off employee’s backs. Most people don’t get this, but the most important aspect of that is giving management what they need to do their jobs. That’s what keeps management away.
5. Take the heat and share the praise. It takes courage to take the heat and humility to share the praise. That comes naturally to great bosses; the rest of us have to pick it up as we go.
6. Delegate responsibility, not tasks. Every boss delegates, but the crappy ones think that means dumping tasks they hate on workers, i.e. s**t rolls downhill. Good bosses delegate responsibility and hold people accountable. That’s fulfilling and fosters professional growth.
7. Encourage employees to hone their natural abilities and challenge them to overcome their issues. That’s called getting people to perform at their best.
8. Build team spirit. As we learned before, great groups outperform great individuals. And great leaders build great teams.
9. Treat employees the way they deserve to be treated. You always hear people say they deserve respect and to be treated as equals. Well, some may not want to hear this, but a) respect must be earned, and b) most workers are not their boss’s equals.
10. Inspire your people. All the above motivate people, but few bosses have the ability to truly inspire their employees. How? By sharing their passion for the business. By knowing just what to say and do at just the right time to take the edge off or turn a tough situation around. Genuine anecdotes help a lot. So does a good sense of humor.

All this adds up to an environment where people feel appreciated, recognized, challenged, and appropriately compensated. So what do you think? How do you measure up on the good boss scale?

Steve Tobak – Steve Tobak is a consultant, writer, and former senior executive with more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry. He’s the managing partner of Invisor Consulting, a Silicon Valley-based firm that provides strategic consulting, executive coaching, and speaking services to CEOs and management teams of small-to-mid-sized companies. Find out more at www.invisor.net

10 Nov

Why “the cloud” doesn’t matter

When I read this blog article I knew I had to share it with our readers and PM/FM followers. I thought it would really hit home with our industry. -Linda

Guest Author Blog Article with permission from Toni Bowers and Patrick Gray from TechRepublic.com
Date: November 4th, 2010 Author: Patrick Gray

Surprisingly, a couple years after “the cloud” first arrived on the IT scene I am still hearing IT leaders speak about it with breathless reverence. Even non-IT executives will proudly announce “Oh, we’ll just put that in the cloud” when any technology-related topic appears in a staff meeting. The fact of the matter is that the cloud is just another boring make vs. buy decision, and the sooner those in IT management realize this, the less likely they are to build potentially career-ending plans based on clouds and rainbows.

So, what is “the cloud”?

Definitions of cloud computing abound, but they overly complicate thing. Essentially, the cloud is little more than “stuff outside your company.” That “stuff” could be processing power, storage, networks, applications or any other bit of technical wizardry. When the CIO says she’ll “put that in the cloud,” all she is really saying is she will take something that was done in-house, and do it with someone else’s “stuff.” You might put any aspect of your internal “stuff” into the cloud, from raw data that you store on another party’s storage systems, to an internal application you run on someone else’s’ hardware. Often, the cloud refers to a third party’s applications, analogous to the enterprise equivalent of gmail or hotmail to employees.

The non-IT reader who is now thinking “Hey, this sounds exactly like what companies have been doing for over 100 years” gets a gold star. Conceptually, all the fancy cloud talk could be applied to anything a company does outside its walls. The toilet paper you purchase from an outside vendor effectively comes “from the cloud,” and the same decision making process that you would use to choose that vendor applies to cloud computing.

Going into the cloud is nothing more than a make vs. buy decision

A frightening part of the over-hyping of the cloud is that it has obfuscated the decision-making process for determining if the cloud is appropriate for a particular IT function. Mysticism seems to creep into any cloud-related discussion, obscuring the fact that deciding to move something into the cloud is a simple make vs. buy calculation. If you are considering moving email into the cloud, tally up the costs of the various servers, software and support, divide by the number of users, and compare that to the per-seat fees from various cloud vendors. If you want to get fancy, include factors that denote reliability, security and support of the vendor.

Unsurprisingly, this process sounds very similar to the process that your COO and his or her staff go through when selecting vendors for critical components and parts. Assuming your company produces physical products, the supply chain and purchasing groups are likely loaded with people that can help you make an exceptionally thorough analysis of the various cloud vendors, and apply appropriate rigor to the process. While those in IT may quip that those buying physical commodities could never understand the subtle nuances of the cloud. However, the supply chain deals with production and design secrets all the time, and reliability is obviously a central concern since a critical vendor could hamper the company’s ability to actually produce products.

If you can present the cloud in these terms, not only can you get internal purchasing expertise onboard to help you make better decisions, but you can have more realistic discussions with your peers. Rather than the cloud offering a voodoo-like panacea to every internal problem, other executives can approach it as a way to cut maintenance and administrative costs, or a way to allow IT to focus on more valuable activities than maintaining email servers or commodity functions and applications.

While the cloud currently has near-magical properties with many, like most emerging technologies these will soon wear thin, and will only serve to build mistrust and skepticism of IT and the CIO if they are sold as magical cure-alls. When you can take a rational look at cloud-based services, and analyze the decision to utilize them just as you would any other third party vendor, the cloud becomes far less hazy and much more practical.

Patrick Gray is the founder and president of Prevoyance Group, and author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology. Prevoyance Group provides strategic IT consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Patrick can be reached at patrick.gray@prevoyancegroup.com