Moving Office!


Been a quiet week on the blogging front – mainly because I have been moving to a new office.

Just waiting for the e-mails to start flowing again as my new ‘IP address propogates across the internet’!  Amazing how much you can get done with fewer e-mail distractions.

So the Progressive Managers Network and Realise Development now have new homes in the real world at Unit 35, Unity Business Centre, 26 Roundhay Rd, Leeds, LS7 1AB.

The office is small (but perfectly formed) and well equipped with whiteboards, flip charts, an inspirational library,  and good coffee.

So if you want to drop by for a conversation about how to improve management and leadership, or any other aspect of organisational development and performance improvement you would be very welcome.

Mike Chitty

0113 2167782

What Could a Management Makeover Do for You?

Here is a ‘Management Makeover’ recipe to improve organisational culture and performance – fast.

  • Significantly increase the quality, quantity and frequency of communication throughout the organisation. Do this through effective 121s, team meetings, project meetings and ‘skip level’ meetings. Train people to make these meetings REALLY work. Make sure that the communication regime works both ways – that managers listen as well as they talk.
  • Significantly increase the quality, quantity and frequency of feedback in the organisation. Train everyone how to give, receive and act on feedback. Train managers how to escalate feedback if it is not acted on effectively. Once everyone knows how their performance is perceived, what is working well and what needs further development, they will start to develop – fast. Make feedback a part of every day work – not a quarterly event!
  • Train every manager to coach every member of their team, every week, to improve their performance. Use coaching to establish learning firmly in the workplace and focus it on providing a better service. A weekly coaching routine provides a great tempo to learning and performance improvement. Train managers to use coaching for performance improvement – helping good people to become great. However also equip them to coach under-performers – if necessary as part of a formal performance process.
  • Train managers to delegate prodigiously. Train them to use delegation as a tool to provide opportunities for those who are hungry to learn and develop their contribution to the organisation. Use delegation, supported by coaching, feedback and great communication to significantly increase the capacity of your organisation.

Communication, Feedback, Coaching and Delegation. Managers who do these four things consistently well stand head and shoulders above their peers. Their teams perform better and keep improving.

All four are relatively easy to learn – requiring more commitment, courage and discipline than skill. For most people a three hour training session on each gives them the basics. They then just need to practice and learn perhaps with some additional advice and support along the way. The challenge in implementing this ‘Management Make’ over is in developing a new set of management habits. And this takes, time, courage and discipline.

But don’t rush it. If this recipe is going to work managers need time to develop and put into practice what they have learned.

Start with better communication through 121s. As soon as 121s have bedded down, after 4-6 weeks introduce training on feedback. Let this have a month to bed in before developing coaching, and a further month before training in delegation.

Within 6 months you will have transformed the culture and performance of your organisation. And this Management Makeover will be much more than skin deep.

In Support of 121s

Carmine Coyotes Slow Leadership blog is one of my favourites. In this post she describes with great eloquence the importance of ‘Right Relationships’ to effective leadership. Carmine writes:

Dealing with people takes time. You need time to get to know them, time to establish trust and respect, time to recognize their strengths and weaknesses, and time to help them develop and grow. Perhaps the worst aspect of the frenetic management pace that’s becoming the norm is the way it deprives leaders of the time to spend with the people they’re charged with leading.

How do your colleagues, friends, and subordinates know that you’re interested in them? I mean truly interested in their welfare and progress, not just focused on them as useful to you in some way: shoulders to cry on or “worker bees” with a tough budget to meet in honey output.


The answer is simple: it’s the amount of quality time you spend with each one.


For most managers it is not about spending more time with their team members. It is about focusing the time on them – the team member – rather than on the manager or the organsiation. It is about scheduling the time in advance rather than relying on impromptu meetings. It is about preparation and follow through.

Weekly, 30 minute, documented 121s.

Progressive Managers’ Network Graphics

The Progressive Manager’s Goal


Can You Manage?

From Good to Great Manager – Part 2

Great managers make people feel good about their work.

They catch people doing something right and thank them for it far more often they catch them doing something wrong. Affirming feedback outnumbers adjusting feedback by about 5:1.

They spend time with their team members observing them working and providing plenty of feedback and praise based on what they see. This is very different to many managers roles that are explicitly designed to ‘manage by exception’. ie the manager only gets involved when something has not gone as planned.

Great managers, when presented with ideas listen carefully for the tiniest germ of potential. Seizing that germ, they talk it through – teasing it, tweezing it, rearranging it – until the team member produces something workable.

Most importantly great managers make sure that team members know that their work is important.  That it makes a difference.  That they contribute.

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

There are several factors that will keep talented employees in a company.

The most important is good quality managers.

Employees stay where they have a manager who actively manages them: spends time with them, gives feedback, coaches them and provides plenty of opportunities for personal and professional development through delegation.

Great managers listen to employee ideas and encourage collaboration.

Good performers leave ineffective managers rather than get trapped working for a bad boss.

Investing in managers so that they can actively manage people is vital to developing a high performing organisation.

Employees join the company – but they usually leave the boss.

Why Should We Learn with the Third Sector?

We try to attract managers to PMN events from a wide range of organisations and sectors. I am often asked by managers from ‘for profit’ organisations ‘Why should we ask our managers to learn alongside managers from the third sector?’ The implication is that it might ‘set them back’ or ‘slow them down’, or ‘develop skills and knowledge that are not relevant to ‘for profit’ managers’.

Some facts

  • The total turnover of social enterprises is estimated at £27 billion, or 1.3% of the total turnover of all businesses with employees. Their contribution to GDP is estimated to be £8.4 billion.
  • There are around 55,000 social enterprises, and numbers are rising.
  • Since 2004, the Government has invested more than £350 million in the capacity of the third sector.
  • Over £18 million has been allocated to support and develop the social enterprise sector over the next few years.
  • Total public funding (from local and central government) reported by the voluntary and community sector has doubled from less than £5 billion in 1996/97 to more than £10 billion in 2004/05.
  • It is a growing sector.
  • It has cash to spend and demands high quality professional services.
  • It will choose to work wherever possible with partners that share its values and vision. With people that it knows, likes and trusts.
  • It delivers work of great social value. The best staff  demand more than just a good pay packet. They find the sector challenging and rewarding to work with. They meet remarkable people and organisations.
  • Working effectively with the ‘third sector’ – as well as with the ‘for profit’ and ‘public sector’ should be a key part of your strategic thinking.

Jim Collins (of ‘Good to Great’ and ‘Built to Last’ fame) urged the third sector not to ape the practices of the ‘for profits’. Instead he urged the ‘for profits’ to learn lessons from the third sector – about managing people with passion for real social purpose. If you do that well, then profits follow. Both ‘first sector’ and ‘third’ then have to decide the level at which surpluses should be re-invested to pursue the aims of the business and what should be distributed to stakeholders.

Managers face similar challenges whether they are managing in the ‘for profit’, ‘not for profit’ or ‘public’ sectors. Learning alongside colleagues from other sectors enriches the experience and the increases the possibility of doing good business for all.

Who is the Entrepreneur?

Rob Greenland has just had a harrowing experience. A couple of on-line tests designed to find out whether or not he has what it takes to be an entrepreneur have come back in the negative. Apparently he ‘may benefit from the security of a permanent job’.  Welcome to the human race Rob!

Most questionnaires designed to elicit whether or not you are an entrepreneur are based on the notion that entrepreneurs conform to a personality type.

  • They do not.

They also assume that all entrepreneurs are interested primarily in financial wealth creation.

  • They are not.

They also assume that entrepreneurs work in isolation.

  • They do not.

The best entrepreneurs work as part of team that they have recruited with care and humility. They concentrate on doing beautifully what they love to do – and surround themselves by people who love to do what they hate. Successful entrepreneurs recognise their own strengths and weaknesses and are able to recruit people to work with them.

It is the skills and passion of the ‘entrepreneurial team’ that are the key determinant in the success of the enterprise.

Not the personal characteristics of the entrepreneur.

If we could just get people to understand the importance of ‘enterprising teams’ rather than the lone heroic entrepreneur then I think we could make a big step forward in the quality of enterprise in the UK.

The death of the entrepreneur – and the enterprise – is solitude.

Changing the Game

I love it when I hear of a manager who does something simple and easy that shifts organisational culture immediately.

A recent example of this is the CEO of ING Direct in the USA.  He has recently moved his office to the floor of their telephone banking call centre.

He is now much closer to his staff and to his customers both physically and psychologically.

He is able to experience the company and its work with customers directly, as opposed to through a balanced scorecard or some other set of metrics. He is able to listen to the conversations and make a real difference in appreciating the good stuff and providing a touch on the tiller when it is needed. This first hand experience of how things are working ensures a tightness in execution that is bound to pay off.

My guess is that this one game-changing move will have more impact more quickly than most ‘strategic change efforts’.

  • What simple game-changing moves have you seen work?
  • What simple game-changing moves have you made?

Going from Good Manager to Great: Part 1

This is the first of a series of posts looking at what most managers need to work on if they are to go from being an OK manager to being a great one.

Understand the Maps

Part 1 – Learn to Read (and Shape) the Maps

Most managers have a pretty good idea of what they need to get done. They have their own map of ‘organisational’ priorities. Their management consists of allocating tasks and shaping work according to this map. It is the only map that matters!

Great managers understand that every employee carries around in his or her head their own ‘map’ of their priorities. Every one of those maps is different. And they all differ from the manager’s organisational map. Great managers know that it is these personal maps that really decide what gets done. It is these that hold the key to performance. Understanding personal ‘maps’ is crucial as they drive decision making and motivation. They provide the directions in which their owners channel their energy, skill and drive.

Each person’s map differs because of the beliefs that each person holds. For people who are confident and self-assured the maps are full of shallow gradients and interesting looking paths. For those who are less confident they are full of rocky precipices and ‘dead end’ canyons. Each persons map is dynamic an dis being continually shaped. Great managers play a full part in the shaping process.
For some people work is a place of stability and security where they want routine and fixed hours. These are the loyal soldiers who get things done. Others are innovators, mavericks and change-makers who are always looking for ways to change the world. For ‘loyal soldiers’ the maps are relatively gentle and serene – for the change monkeys they are a series of first ascents, usually with frequent falls and patches of white water. For most of us the maps cover mixed ground.

Great managers know that it is not enough to simply publish the organisational map – and hope for the best. They spend time in conversation with each employee helping them to explore the organisational map and to shape their own personal map appropriately.

The best way to improve your map-reading skill is simply to do it. Spend more time 121 with your people – looking for clues to their own peronal maps. Are they looking for a serene stroll or a wild adventure? Are they fired up by the thought or increasing margins or fearful of the consequences?

Spending just 30 minutes a week 121 with each person will be enough understand their maps and enable them to give their very best to work.

Improve your management map-reading skills here!