Friday, 11 July 2008

Check Out The New Guy

I've been listening to presentations made by Scott Berkun, a former program manager at Microsoft. He's been making the rounds promoting his latest book on innovation and also Making Things Happen: The Art of Project Management [chapter sample PDF here].
He says that leaders are not often the smartest, or the best, or the most attractive, but rather have the clearest grasp of priorities and a willingness to take responsibility. I've found that the staff here are happy when they know they are doing the single most important thing, they're doing it now, they won't be interrupted for three hours, and then they'll check in and participate in the next decision. After months of complaints in one ear and pipe-dreams in the other, the clarity is probably something of a relief.
I thought that it would be a liability being promoted from the ranks, but it seems to have a few advantages. People believe me when I talk about changes I'm making to cut down on complaints. Moving shifts and rooms around based on what I know of the staff has, through simple actions and cost-free perks, improved morale and customer service. And following through quickly on promises has won me trust and made me a useful guy to have around.
This new job is offering up far broader ways to look at subjects that I have before. Myriad topics mix together and a solution emerges. A combination of graphic design and Behavioral Psych 101 resulted in new front-desk forms. Unconditional Positive Regard and GTD seems to make me look both nice and efficient. Maybe all those years of pouring ideas into my head were more practical than I thought.

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