Sunday, 13 July 2008

The One Minute Manager ... don’t miss it!

Have you ever been trying to figure out how people work best with other people? When they produce good results and are happy about their job, company and other people? If you are one of those who feel that this is important and interesting then I can highly recommend you this book: The One Minute Manager. It's a very well-written book which you can finish in one evening. The main message is that:

People who feel good about themselves produce good results.

But in the same time it's important to keep the organisation productive. Authors are trying to show that those two objectives can be achieved in the same time, moreover, the best way to achieve good productivity is through people. It all can be accomplished by applying one minute management. To understand how it works you need to be familiar with three secrets of one minute management.

The First Secret: One Minute Goals

One Minute Goal Setting is absolutely essential, it introduces philosophy of 'no surprises'. The point here is to be clear about what has to be done from the beginning. Therefore:

The One Minute Manager feels that a goal, and its performance standard, should take no more than 250 words to express. He insists that anyone be able to read it within a minute. Manager always makes sure that people know what good performance is. Performance standards are clear.

Rationale for that:

You see, in most organizations when you ask people what they do and then ask their boss, all too often you get two different lists. In fact, in some organizations I've worked in, any relationship between what I thought my job responsibilities were and what my boss thought they were, was purely coincidental. And then I would get in trouble for not doing something I didn't even think was my job.

And this is how the process should looks like step by step:

  1. Agree on your goals.
  2. See what good behavior looks like.
  3. Write out each of your goals on a single sheet of paper using less than 250 words.
  4. Read and re-read each goal, which requires only a minute or so each time you do it.
  5. Take a minute every once in a while out of your day to look at your performance, and
  6. See whether or not your behavior matches your goal.

Why does it work?

When your goals are clear you can work until your job is done. All the time you can compare your results with your goal which gives instant feedback. And a few words about the feedback:

Clearly the number one motivator of people is feedback on results. In fact, we have a saying here that's worth noting: 'Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions.' Feedback keeps us going.

The Second Secret: One Minute Praisings

Manager should strive to help people succeed and become a big help to the organization, therefore manager's main concern, especially at the beginning of a new task or responsibility, should be:

Help people reach their full potential, catch them doing something right.

Managers usualy try to catch people doing something wrong ... so why "catch them doing something right"? To help people by letting them know in no uncertain terms when they are doing well, to praise them and make them feel good.

Remember you don't have to praise someone for very long for them to know you noticed and you care. It usually takes less than a minute. And that's why it's called a One Minute Praising

This is how the process should looks like step by step:

  1. Tell people up front that you are going to let them know how they are doing.
  2. Praise people immediately.
  3. Tell people what they did right—be specific.
  4. Tell people how good you feel about what they did right, and how it helps the organization and the other people who work there.
  5. Stop for a moment of silence to let them "feel" how good you feel.
  6. Encourage them to do more of the same.
  7. Shake hands or touch people in a way that makes it clear that you support their success in the organization.

Why is it so important?

Key to training someone to do a new task is, in the beginning, to catch them doing something approximately right until they can eventually learn to do it exactly right.

but in some organisation it doesn't always work this way ...

That is what we often do with new, inexperienced people. We welcome them aboard, take them around to meet everybody, and then we leave them alone. Not only do we not catch them doing anything approximately right, but periodically we zap them just to keep them moving. This is the most popular leadership style of all. We call it the 'leave alone-zap' style. You leave a person alone, expecting good performance from them, and when you don't get it, you zap them.

The Third Secret: One Minute Reprimands

If you have been doing a job for some time and you know how to do it well, and you make a mistake, the One Minute Manager is quick to respond.

One minute reprimand has two parts and here is how it should looks like step by step:

  1. Tell people beforehand that you are going to let them know how they are doing and in no uncertain terms.

    The first half of the reprimand:
  2. Reprimand people immediately.
  3. Tell people what they did wrong—be specific.
  4. Tell people how you feel about what they did wrong—and in no uncertain terms.
  5. Stop for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence to let them feel how you feel.

    The second half of the reprimand:
  6. Shake hands, or touch them in a way that lets them know you are honestly on their side.
  7. Remind them how much you value them.
  8. Reaffirm that you think well of them but not of their performance in this situation.
  9. Realize that when the reprimand is over, it's over.

The most important is to remember this:

You will be successful with the One Minute Reprimand when you really care about the welfare of the person you are reprimanding.

What might happen if you don't use this rule in everyday life?

If managers would only intervene early, they could deal with one behavior at a time and the person receiving the discipline would not be overwhelmed. They could hear the feedback. That's why I think performance review is an ongoing process, not something you do only once a year.

That's it, those are all the secrets of the one minute management in a nutshell. Maybe I can add one last thing:

"I can see now," the young man said, "where the power of your management style comes from—you care about people."
"Sometimes," the One Minute Manager said, "you have to care enough to be tough. And I am. I am very tough on the poor performance—but only on the performance. I am never tough on the person."

Sound easy and cool isn't it? In the end we spend lots of time working, if there is something we can do to enjoy this time then I believe we should at least give it a try. So if you are asking yourself: Should I apply one-minute management? The answer for me is obvious: YES!

If you found one minute management interesting I highly recommend reading the book. It will give you much more details, examples and guidelines how to become One Minute Manager.

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