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30+ Management Strategies

        posted by , June 09, 2013

Management strategy follows a hype cycle.

A new strategy gains momentum because it's based on a few good ideas. People take things too far — jumping on the strategy as a solution to all problems.

In the end, popular management strategies go bust.

Hundreds of management fads have come and gone in the past 50 years. You can probably name a few — Management by Walking Around, Management by Exception, Management by Objectives, Delayering, Matrix Management ...

Management is tough. Delivering value in a political environment of constant change isn't easy. Inspiring teams to greatness isn't easy. No single strategy is likely to tackle all management challenges.

The following strategies look past the management fads. It's a straightforward list of actions you can take to tackle common management challenges.

Leadership Strategies

Inspire people to follow your direction.

  1. Provide certainty
    Teams crave certainty because it calms fears and doubts. Set certain direction for your team to establish yourself as leader.

  2. Manage ambiguity .
    Press ahead and make clear decisions in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity.

  3. Recognize mistakes
    Hiding mistakes is a bad habit that tends to drag you down. For one thing, it makes it easier for people to sling mud at you. When your decisions are wrong, recognize it quickly. Openly discuss mistakes. Develop a story — what did you learn?

  4. Provide consistency
    When you change course — carefully explain your reasons to your team. Provide a sense of consistency in the face of constant change. Highlight the common themes of old and new strategies. Your team want to feel that they're headed in a consistent direction.

Delivery Strategies

Achieving your team's objectives.

  1. Balance Measurement & Judgement
    Measurements are how an organization improves. The cycle of measuring, improving and measuring again is essential.

    Measurements are so useful that some managers become blinded by measurement. They sink into numbers and fail to see the big picture. They pursue strategies that are easy to measure instead of strategies that make sense.

    Managers who are able to balance measurement with a keen sense of judgement tend to be most successful.

  2. Manage Knowledge
    Aggressively capture your team's knowledge and share it freely.

  3. Manage Risk
    Make it a habit to formally identify risks. Look for opportunities to reduce risk.


  4. Manage Quality
    Quality is the value you produce. Define what quality means for your processes, products and services. Measure it and improve it.

  5. Manage Time
    There's nothing more important for your team than getting time management right.

  6. Manage Expectations
    Keep expectations low and over deliver as a habit. Keep releases small and schedules padded. No matter how much pressure is applied — refuse to over promise.

  7. Rank & Prioritize
    Rank your top 20 priorities and publish them for your organization to see. Keep them continually updated. Manage the expectation that prioritizing one thing, pushes something else down the list.

  8. Negotiate
    Effective managers negotiate for approaches and prioritizes that make sense for their team. Invest in your negotiation skills.

Influence & Stakeholder Management

Change minds to lead change.

  1. Promotion & Publicity
    Read up about marketing techniques. Understand the basics of promotion and publicity. Find ways to keep your team in the limelight.

  2. Value Over Perceptions
    It's important to promote your team but it's not an end unto itself. Some managers fall into the trap of creating nothing but perceptions. Focus on innovating and creating value.

  3. Momentum
    We live in a what-have-you-done-lately world. Establish forward momentum by implementing small successes on a frequent basis. Create the impression that you're constantly accelerating.

    wild drive

  4. Leverage Your Team in Politics
    Encourage your team to network and influence. Set clear direction for influence.

  5. Make Friends
    Seek genuine friendship in people at all levels of your organization. A collection of friends can make a big difference to your influence. Friends add to your social status, they relieve stress and they support you.

    network casual

  6. Make Enemies
    Don't try to please everyone. Some people won't like you. Some will oppose everything you do. Remember that successful managers always have plenty of detractors. It's a sign you're doing something right.

  7. Visibility
    Besides friends and enemies ... it's useful to be generally visible. When your name is well known, it will open doors for you and your team. Talk to everyone. Attend events. Participate in things that are optional.


  8. Play The Game
    Politics are the way that people work out differences to set a common direction. It's not an end unto itself. It's often a good idea to avoid becoming too passionate about politics. Political power follows value creation. Focus on value.

  9. Entertain
    People want information to be wrapped in entertainment. Put on a show. When you speak in public, wake people up.

    wake up the audience

  10. Tell Stories
    Find an angle that makes the mundane interesting. Become a storyteller.

  11. Use Emotion
    People are more influenced by emotion than dry logic. Tune into the emotions that underlie every situation.

Innovation Strategies

Create new value.

  1. Fail Fast
    Innovation is about thinking small and fast. Build cheap prototypes to quickly determine which ideas fail and which ideas move forward. If your thinking creatively enough — most ideas will fail.

  2. 80/20 Time
    Give your team time to research their ideas for improving your team. Give them a clear path to make ideas a reality.

  3. Anticipate Resistance to Change
    People tend to value stability and defend the status quo. Innovation is typically resisted. Plan for resistance and break it down.


Build the fast, productive and creative team of your dreams.

  1. Culture
    Establish a team culture through shared experiences and symbols. Culture includes your team's norms and expectations.

  2. Team Building
    Teams perform better when they regularly interact on a social basis. Develop rituals such as weekly team lunches and monthly outings.

  3. Team Networking
    Find ways to socialize your team across your organization. Invite other teams to your events. Social settings breakdown political barriers.

  4. Feedback
    Your people are waiting to be recognized. Provide regular feedback on positives. Challenge your people to improve.

  5. Difficult Conversations
    Avoid letting problem situations fester. Have difficult conversations early.

  6. Appreciate Style
    Establish a basic culture and then let your team work as they like. Avoid micromanaging. Recognize that everyone has their own working style.

    library surf

  7. Trust & Verify
    Give your team specific missions and trust them to follow through. Verify regularly.

  8. Challenge Growth Challenge each individual on your team to grow. Develop leaders.

  9. Share Information
    Embrace your team as trusted advisors. Share information quickly and openly.

  10. Value Performance
    It's not fair to your organization or team to allow under performance to go unchecked. Actively manage problem situations. Set the expectation that toxic behavior and poor professional habits are a problem.

  11. Influence Over Authority
    Authority can force behavior but doesn't achieve commitment and motivation. How would you manage your team if you had no formal authority over them? That's how you should manage.

  12. Develop An Allergy to BS
    Candor is the hallmark of a highly productive and creative team. Seek to reduce BS.

Next: Stylish Guide To Management Style »

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