Posted by Tom Gable
The key to a manager’s success in a PR firm or otherwise is how well he or she can organize other people and direct them toward achieving specific goals in the most effective and efficient manner. The process needs to have an outward, multidirectional focus. What needs to be accomplished on multiple fronts? How can you achieve your goals with the minimum possible resources? How to leverage time, so one hour of senior management can turn into ten hours or more of productive work by others on multiple fronts? Go for a ten-fold leverage; if you achieve five-fold you will still be WAY ahead of the game.
Speaking of game, management works best as a team sport. In working on the Fifth Edition of my PR Client Service Manual, I came across guidance from an early mentor, a former dean of the College of Business at San Diego State University and a Vistage chair. He had a growth model showing how a company goes from a one-man shop (the long-distance runner, competitive swimmer, archer, gymnast, etc.), to the race car driver (one person supported by a team of mechanics), to basketball, to football and soccer (multiple players, different tasks, focused on results according to a game plan). Some liken it to a philharmonic orchestra. Whatever the model, the direction is clear: the better you can do in assembling, training, organizing, coaching and improving your talent as you move your game plan forward, the more impressive the results.
Michael Gerber, in the classic e-Myth Revisited, advises building the team from the bottom up. Who does the tactical work? How do you build checks and balances into your system so average people can achieve extraordinary results? Not unlike a university setting, how do you keep your talent learning and advancing, which both improves overall organizational results and gives management more time for strategic thinking or marketing? Discipline is key, particularly when it involves creative teams.
Two Big Traps
Do It Yourself – The argument: the initial work was so poor that I’ll just do it myself and save a bunch of time. The problem: you just reverse-delegated to yourself and did nothing to improve your talent for the future. Take the time to set expectations, educate, delegate and provide rapid feedback – candid and brutal if needed. The first effort may take more time than you would like, but it will pay off. If the latent talent is there, the next assignment will improve. Momentum will build. Your 15 minutes of future counsel will turn into two or three hours of useful work by someone else – the ten-fold payoff.
Throw Everything at the Issue – In this case, the manager sends a small army to do battle, wasting huge amounts of time and energy, instead of getting strategic with his team and achieving more with less. This is the dark side of leverage. Instead of going for a ten-fold increase in your ability to generate results, you have cut it by whatever your over-kill factor might be. Five people working in a room on one issue have gone from the Power of Five to the Power of One – an 80 percent reduction in efficiency!
Next: Nine Steps to Improved Mentoring and Team Results