Monday, December 29, 2003

Five Minds of a Manager, Part 5

I'll tie up today my comments on this fine article from the November issue of Harvard Business Review by Jonathan Gosling and Henry Mintzberg (click for a free summary or to download for $7, if you don't have the article).

The last two mindsets of the manager as described are the Collaborative Mindset (that is, managing relationships) and the Action mindset (managing change). These two perspectives jive closely with previous three.

Collaboration cannot take place unless the manager is with others, both physically and emotionally. Relationships are key. And, this acknowledges that we are not purely rational people...we have likes and dislikes, warts and gowns. In one simple way, collaboration means the manger listens more than talks. The manager chooses to shut up. Frequently. It means leadership is earned from, not thrust upon them.

Which leads to action. The authors point out that our usual view of action is a linear one...we plot a course, take steps and the expected result happens. IF you are a good leader. In reality, action is far less linear. An opportunity presents itself. It is seized (or not). The organization improves (or not). And then it happens again. When will we get out of the illusion of linear action?

I think part of the key to moving out of this illusion is to look at the interrelatedness of managerial excellence captured in this short article. Unless one reflects, one will miss the opportunity. Apart from collaboration, others don't add their input. Lousy analysis will lead to poor use of cash and people. If we miss the impact on the worlds of the those affected, it won't improve. If we don't understand change, surprise, nothing will change.

Conversely, a reflective understanding of the worlds of others, collaborating with them while breaking down the components of the action will be generally positive. And, even if it fails, it won't sink the ship. And the lean leader will learn from any failure, and continue to drive waste out.

I hope this short series was helpful for you. Thanks for reading.

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