Tag Archives: Managers

S.O.S.: Has Anybody Seen My Boss?

What do you do when your boss checks out?

Finding purpose and reengaging middle managers…

Top organization executives steer the ship by setting out broad organizational initiatives.

Frontline workers keep the engines going by performing tactical actions.

While the people at the top are facing outward and the people at the bottom are heads down: business unit and team leaders can get lost in the middle.

With the trend toward flatter organizational structures, tolerating disengaged middle managers may be an interim step to eliminating the layer entirely but that won’t really stop the issue that’s plaguing lots of organizations and contributing to middle manager disengagement.

What’s the Answer?

Let’s look to nature for guidance. Facing ecosystem scarcity, most plants will adapt by making their leaves more efficient but the plants that survive go belowground to utilize a combination of diverse strategies to get more out of their root systems.

I say mix the metaphor and let our organizational ships take the lead from the plants, work below the waterline to give middle managers a new role and a new reason to check back in. Research supports the idea, suggesting that developing a process for translating creative ideas into tangible innovations that enable the achievement of organizational strategies may be key to sustainable organizational performance in the future. If that’s what connects the bridge and the engine room, the leaves to the roots…what better role for the middle manager?

Either that or we can simply knee-jerk to traditional business wisdom:

“If the ship is in trouble, shuffle the deck chairs and rename the boat.”



Graham Zemunik, Benjamin L. Turner, Hans Lambers, Etienne Lalibert�. Diversity of plant nutrient-acquisition strategies increases during long-term ecosystem development. Nature Plants, 2015; 15050 DOI: 10.1038/nplants.2015.50

Yaping Gong, Jing Zhou, Song Chang. Core Knowledge Employee Creativity and Firm Performance: The Moderating Role of Riskiness Orientation, Firm Size, and Realized Absorptive Capacity. Personnel Psychology, 2013; 66 (2): 443 DOI:10.1111/peps.12024

N. Anderson, K. Poto nik, J. Zhou. Innovation and Creativity in Organizations: A State-of-the-Science Review, Prospective Commentary, and Guiding Framework. Journal of Management, 2014; DOI: 10.1177/0149206314527128

Change, Managers, Leaders & the $3.56M iPhone…

Alvin Toffler’s 1970 book Future Shock, warned the world that change was coming and that the pace of change was about to change everything!

Toffler’s 800th Lifetime Theory divided the last 50,000 years of human history into generations of 62 years each = 800 lifetimes,

  • 1-650: Humans lived in caves,
  • 720: Birth of the written word, allowing us to communicate from one generation to another,
  • 794: The average person sees the written word in his/her lifetime,
  • 796: Measure time with precision,
  • 798: Use of the electric motor.

In short, the vast majority of the tools and technology we take for granted everyday, has been developed within the last generation.

Connecting Change to Managers & Leaders

While there are as many definitions of leadership as there are leaders, only one definition captures the essence of Toffler’s warning a half-century ago:

Managers deal with complexity through the application of process.

Leaders deal with change through the alignment of resources.

Nowhere else are the mindboggling effects of change better reflected than the shift in emphasis from managerial know-how to leader-led empowerment. This shift changed the way we operate companies, how we view and lead employees, redefined our relationships with customers, heightened the importance of alliances and partnerships and fundamentally shifted our view to the future.

Yesterday, Dallas-based sales-exec Eric Wortmann sent me an email. Eric participated in a multi-day training session I conducted a few years ago and in his note he shared that of all the content we’d covered, the leader-manager distinction was most important. Eric – thank you. I completely agree!

Having trouble taking it all in… consider that if you wanted to purchase the technology in a $200 iPhone back in 1991, it would have cost you about $3,560,000.00!

Keep your head up and your eyes on the future!

Are you a Giver or a Taker?

Studies have shown that personality plays an important part in exchanging knowledge. Adam Grant at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, created a personality measure to determine people’s natural tendency toward interpersonal knowledge exchange. He found that most people can be classified into one of three groups: givers, matchers and takers:Givers: not only share more information they also tend to share more important information,
Takers: tend to keep important information to themselves,
Matchers: (you guessed it) are in between and see information exchange as a tit-for-tat strategy.WHICH ONE ARE YOU?


Salespeople: Mastering this model might come in handy when trying to get info from clients…

Managers: May realize that it’s not enough to simply provide knowledge management tools, but to also keep in mind the personalities and interaction styles of their employees…

Husbands & Wives: I’ll leave those implications to you…

Until next time…Stay connected!
-JeffSource: http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=144301&CultureCode=en