A Leader’s Manifesto to be published

January 19, 2009

I’m delighted to announce that ChangeThis will publish A Leader’s Manifesto in PDF format, and will distribute it through their network, as well as host it for download. Anyone who wants to share the manifesto will be able to do so much more easily with the PDF.

I’ll keep you posted regarding the publication date.

I’m thankful to ChangeThis for providing this service. They rock. But they are publishing the manifesto because — and only because — of the support of people who voted at the ChangeThis site. A Leader’s Manifesto was the top vote-getter in this round of proposals, with 295 votes — a number that surprised and delighted me, given that most of the manifestos generated fewer than 100 votes, some fewer than 50. I am deeply grateful to all of you who blogged, tweeted and re-tweeted, emailed your friends, and took the time to vote yourselves. Thank you very much.

Wide open

January 7, 2009

I believe that managing well is partly about being wide open — to input, ideas, joy, better choices, change. And in that spirit, it’s time to open the Humans At Work door wider.

I began by offering the Humans At Work program on a turnkey basis only to new managers. I’ve come to believe it’s better to make the turnkey option available to managers at every level of experience. I’ll be updating the website with this change over the next several days.

When I was putting the program together, I made the decision to focus my teaching services on new managers for a couple of key reasons. New managers get short shrift in the training corner of the corporate world, although they represent by far the biggest potential return on investment that any company can make — spend a few thousand dollars to teach someone best practices and good habits from the ground up, and save yourself tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in diminished productivity, loss of talented people, and failure to build the kind of teams that can stay strong and focused even in hard times. Honestly, especially in these financial times, this seems like a no-brainer to me: those companies who can afford it should be putting as many new managers through some kind of training as possible, with the explicit goal of getting the company’s work done more effectively and attracting and keeping the best people possible.

But recently someone said to me, “I’ve been a manager for years, and I still have to figure it all out myself. I want to do a good job and I don’t always know how. I would kill for someone to teach me these skills.”

And so I re-examined my assumptions about Humans At Work. Here’s what I realized: I was assuming that people who have been managing for a few years (or many years) would be less receptive to changing their habits; that I would have to “sell” them on the value of these behaviors, as opposed to simply presenting them as the given baseline. I put “sell” in quotes because I’m using its old-school negative meaning: talking (pushing, spinning, manipulating) someone into superficial consent. I’ve always seen that ultimately unproductive.

But what if, instead of assuming hostility and challenge, I assume that in fact most managers want to have as many skills as possible so they can manage better, get better results, feel more successful, and be happier in their own work experience? If I assume that, then I want to throw the door wide open to help.

So for those who’ve approached me, or who have wondered privately — thank you very much for your feedback, and yes, I think you’re right. I’ll happily talk with any organization about teaching the program to any of your managers. We’ll work together to figure out the right mix of participants based on your needs. The goal is, as always, to help your managers be the best they can be.