Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Who dictates your day?

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Why micromanaging doesn't work.

Great post by Seth Godin on who sets your daily schedule:

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/04/paying-attention-to-someone-elses-agenda.html

First, the definition of micromanage, from Webster: to manage or control with excessive attention to minor details.

When I was a DIVO on a submarine, my efforts at work were micromanaged by the Engineer, who was micromanaged by the XO, who was micromanaged by the CO. It looked like it was effective, since everything appeared to be getting done. But, as I found out later:

1. Everything wasn't getting done. Sailors lied about records, and because our spot check system was micromanaged (such that the CO couldn't understand why it would take 1 hour to do a check), we had no effective way of catching this.

2. There was no creativity. You did exactly as you were told. It was an abysmal place to work. Most of our officers left the Navy, and there were very few reenlistments.

When you think about the potential that a 50 person division has, it should make you smile. Think about how much each person can offer to the Navy, and how much work can get done if that person puts in an honest effort every day. Micromanaging our subordinates will lead us to always fall short of this goal.

- If they never learn how to do their job independently, we're stuck telling them how to do it every day.
- If they never learn to think on their own, we can never expect them to walk into an "open-ended" job and do well.
- If they can't set their own schedule, we can never ask them to plan and prioritize their day, since we've done that for them.

Give your folks some space to get things done. Set the WHY, not the HOW.

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