The official blog of Abacus Group — a place to share our knowledge and thoughts on trends in recruiting

January 03, 2012

Ring in 2012 with 5 Innovative Management Tips

A December 13 guest Forbes article by James Slavet of Greylock Partners, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, provides employers with several valuable management suggestions. In recognition of employers’ tendencies to focus heavily on outputs, like revenue or income, Slavet recommends that managers quantifiably assess employee inputs for the best possible results. Analogizing a corporate staff to a Little League baseball team, the article perceptively explains that a coach cannot demand runs without evaluating the players’ abilities. Accordingly, a manager must internally measure his or her staff’s progress to properly develop external expectations; Slavet’s article includes five related tactics. The first two techniques involve employees’ mentality during actual or attempted work completion. Managers should be aware of productivity-interruption and anxiety-boredom relationships to ensure that employees are both working at capacity and are sufficiently challenged. The third suggestion seeks to improve the effectiveness of staff meetings by using a simple rating system, as many conferences are often useless. To boost team morale, the article’s fourth proposition is to have staff members report one source of improvement on a weekly basis. Lastly, the article reminds managers to be conscious of the amount of negative versus positive feedback they provide to their staff.

Are Slavet’s ideas relevant to Accounting, Finance, Human Resources and IT? Absolutely. For supervisors in these fields, precise results are absolutely vital. Fiscal deadlines or client requests leave little room for error. Additionally, the methodological nature of the work prevents the flexibility enjoyed in more creative job roles. As such, managers may struggle to accept to the validity of Slavet’s propositions. They may argue that results are everything in defense of their current, outcome-focused managerial strategies. However, close measurement of employees’ daily engagements – the foundation of an organization’s larger accomplishments – is applicable to managerial success in every line of work. Interruptions, boredom, inefficient meetings, lack of personal improvement and excess negative feedback are problems common to all professionals, including those in Accounting, Finance, HR and IT. By implementing the article’s five metric recommendations, managers can transfer some of their concerns with the measurement of tangible outputs to the equally significant assessment of internal, personal processes.

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