You can focus on the problems you have. Or you can focus on the solutions. As big ideas go, they don’t get much simpler than solution focus. It’s simply a binary choice to focus on the future, rather than the past.
Solution focus has its origins in Solution Focused Brief Therapy. But therapy isn’t what we specialize in here at Management Pocketbooks. So, instead, we’ll turn our attention to what managers can learn from the ideas, and put to use in solution-focused problem solving and coaching.
Continue reading Solution Focus: The Future Beats the Past
Peter Drucker is the originator of Management by Objectives. It’s a Big Idea that, in various forms, still dominates much of the corporate world.
It’s not sophisticated, nor very clever. It is the simplicity and directness that makes Management by Objectives a powerful tool for any manager. However, as a corporate culture, it may have passed its sell-by date.
So, let’s see what Management by Objectives is, how it works, and what its strengths and weaknesses are, in today’s world.
Continue reading Management By Objectives: Delegating Outcomes
Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is one of the world’s best-known management and psychology models. And the internet does not need another detailed article about it.
But, the hierarchy of needs is a Big Idea. In fact, it’s a Big Idea structured around another Big Idea, with a third Big Idea built in, all of which sit on top of an important point.
The truth is that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs well and truly earns its fame among management models. This is despite a welter of critiques and failings, and a series of later and more rigorously researched theories and models.
So, this article is going to take a rather different view of the hierarchy of needs. But one that will be instructive, nonetheless. Here, I want to break apart the Big Ideas buried in Maslow’smost enduring work.
Continue reading Hierarchy of Needs: Motivation Stack
The quest to understand human personalities has been going on for 3,000 years, or more. The Big Five Personality Traits are just the latest in a long line of models that take us towards that understanding.
And, it would be as absurd to think that the Big Five Personality Traits will be the last word on the matter as it would have been to stick with the four humours. But perhaps what the centuries of scientific development, and acres of statistical analysis, can assure us of is that we are honing that understanding.
How like the Big Five our 22nd Century model will be, we cannot know. But, for now, the best representation we have, of the fundamentals of human psychology, are the big Five Personality Traits. So, what are they?
Continue reading Big Five Personality Traits
Key Performance Indicators – or KPIs – stem from an insight that is most often attributed to Peter Drucker, in his 1954 book titled, ‘The Practice of Management’:
‘What gets measured gets managed’
That attribution may be contested, but the central assertion seems pretty sound. If your organisation measures performance against a specific metric, then its managers feel an incentive to manage their parts of the business, so that they perform well against that metric. KPIs are nothing more nor less than the key – or most valuable – metrics.
Continue reading Key Performance Indicators: KPIs
Organisational life revolves around performance monitoring and measuring. Often it’s a single person who will assess your performance. But what if they had access to the observations of all sorts of people who work with you in different ways? That’s the big idea that 360 Degree Feedback represents.
The idea and practice of 360 degree feedback has been through rises and falls since it first appeared in the 1950s. And it really took off in the 1990s. But it is as important today as it’s ever been. So, let’s examine 360 degree feedback from a number of angles.
Continue reading 360 Degree Feedback: What Everyone Thinks of You
The Wisdom of Teams is a true classic among Twentieth Century business books. Based on detailed interviews with 47 teams across the US, it uncovers the wisdom of what teams can achieve, and how they can perform at their best.
The authors of The Wisdom of Teams acknowledge that what they discovered is both obvious, in that we recognise the truths straight away, and subtle, in that making sense of them in the real world can be hard. They rank their findings as both common sense and uncommon sense. And all this is as it should be. Teams are people. And people working together can be messy and hard to characterise.
So, while the book has been criticised for its obviousness, and also for being too long and sharing too many long stories, this is its nature. Real team stories show not just the obvious truths, but the subtle complexities too. Perhaps the biggest idea of the Wisdom of Teams is that there is no one Big Idea, but many smaller big ideas.
Continue reading The Wisdom of Teams: Outperforming Individuals
These days, mentoring is defined – more often than not – in distinction to coaching.
That’s easy to do, but if I were to do so, it would pre-suppose that you know what coaching is. And you may do. But, what if you don’t?
I have set myself the task of describing mentoring without mentioning coaching again in this article.
Continue reading Mentoring – Passing on the Benefit of Your Experience
The easiest way to understand Positive Organisational Scholarship is to think of it as the systematic study of Positive Psychology, at the level of an organisation. And, if you need a primer on Positive Psychology, take a look at our article.
A lot of the formal descriptions of Positive Organisational Scholarship (POS) use dry academic language. Put simply, it’s the study of what makes members of an organisation perform at their best levels, by focusing on what they do well.
Continue reading Positive Organisational Scholarship
Cognitive Behavioural Coaching is not as well known as others among our Big Ideas. In fact, it’s more of a spin-off from a Big Idea, than one in its own right. But Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) would certainly qualify. It has had and is having a huge impact on people with serious problems.
But CBT is not designed for the workplace. It’s a tool for mental health practitioners. If only there were something that could apply its principles to lower level stress and self-efficacy problems than its older sibling, CBT.
This is where Cognitive Behavioural Coaching comes in. Drawing from the ideas and tools of CBT, it is ideal for problems like:
- lack of assertiveness or of confidence
- hesitancy in decision-making
Continue reading Cognitive Behavioural Coaching (CBC)