As managers, we are all looking for that magic bullet that will make us a better manager and make our lives easier. Let’s be honest; being a manager is not an 8 to 5 job. I have been in management for over 30 years and have managed both a small group of people and indirectly managed more than 1,000 people. During these 30 years I have talked to, advised, hired and fired thousands of different managers.
The one common thing I have found is everyone is looking for a magic bullet. Unfortunately I don’t think it exists.
What I have discovered is successful managers who follow the Six Fundamentals of Management are significantly more successful and seem to live a more balanced life than managers who don’t follow them. So what are these Six Fundamentals? Well they aren’t magic bullets; just good management.
Six Fundamentals of Management
- Priority and Time Management
- Task/Compliance Management
- Team Communication Management
- Key Metric Variance and Corrective Action Management
- Crisis Management
- Training Reinforcement
My guess is not one of these items surprises you. I also suspect you will find it difficult to dispute that these are key components to successful management. You may have some additional items you would like to include, however, I would love to have any manager on my team who can successfully execute each of these areas.
So if you are not performing at an above average level in any of these areas, what can you do to improve yourself? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have the awareness of these Six Fundamentals (obvious answer)?
- Do you have the desire to improve in each of these areas or in the area you are not performing strongly? Without desire, nothing else will matter.
- Do you have the knowledge to get better? There are numerous articles and books written in each of these areas. Are you willing to read and learn? In other words, make the effort?
- Do you have the ability to change your behavior? This is not such an easy answer. Your mind might say yes but the rest of you might say something else.
- Do you have a daily system that reinforces this behavior? Getting on track is one thing, maintaining the track is where your old ruts seem like old friends.
I believe where most people fall short is either desire or they don’t utilize a daily system that reinforces this behavior and creates a habit. There is nothing I can say about desire, this is an individual choice. However, without a daily system, it is impossible to plan and focus your day to successfully manage through each of these key components. You will fall prey to reacting to what is happening in the moment, you will lose some control and your operation will lose some control right along with you. Keeping your focus on the important and not the urgent is a golden opportunity to improve in itself.
There are a variety of systems for you to choose from that will help you to stay focused on each of these categories (that would be a lot to manage in itself), but rarely are they captured in a single simple system. Of course, I happen to be the President of one of these companies, so I have a slight bias. Regardless, find something and use it religiously. You will find the results will speak for themselves, your life will become easier and you might even be rid of those restless nights dreaming of mythical magic bullets.