How I Got Started With Management
It must be an inner drive that I like to see things done, and that I have taken up interest in getting things done from an early age. As far as I remember, I have always headed a little group and worked on some sort of project that I wanted to see completed, preferebly sooner, then later. I have a natural inclination toward leadership. Several groups have appointed me to become their leader, and I took up leadership positions on my own.
The first time I formally started paying attention to management was in early 1991 when I watched Tom Peters in a PBS Special about MCI and other companies that he visited to learn about their work practices. I became a fan of Tom’s and have been following his work ever since, as well as read up on his earlier work (pre 1991).
Since I didn’t get a formal education in management—and in 1991 had no intent on becoming a manager—I decided to learn about management on my own primarily out of curiosity. I started reading books that would help me understand what should a manager do and, later, how can one go about becoming an excellent manager. I tracked down and read books that I considered would help. You can find most of the books I read on my reading list.
When one is a manager, then almost invariably the question of “management philosophy” tends to come up. My philosophy, if I should call it such, is to hire the right people and then get out of their way, support them, enable to get their work done. I ask lots of questions, to help my team understand the problem that we have to solve, and to help me understand where do I need to contribute.
Over the years I came to conclude that pretty much the only way to motivate people is to give them a challenge just a bit bigger then the one they have already conquered. As a result, I am working on understanding where everybody is in the organization, so I can help them select the right problem for them. I believe that it is much better to let people pick the work they are doing then to try to force it on them. Intellectual work is only getting done if the person doing it can fully engage in it.