Organise, allocate and monitor resources August 1, 2010

Observe, calibrate and refine.

Managers parcel out work to staff (using the company-specified system so it’s automated, scaleable, and works between departments) using resources, but are careful not to “over control” like a novice pilot. Managers stay loose enough from the flow so they can observe, calibrate and refine, while fulfilling department operational plans.

Managers should seldom – if ever – perform the duties of employees under their care: employees are to be selected, managed, trained and mentored to perform all department duties themselves. If an employee is absent, the manager should not be the person to pick up the slack – systems must be developed to allow other staff to perform these duties, or for the duties to not be performed on that day. Managers must focus on the important (planning and developing systems and projects), not the urgent (Mary being away today).

Managers must be working on the department one to six months in the future, to ensure everything will be prepared and ready for staff to execute their duties and deliver on operational plans. This empowers employees to be accountable for their own actions around BAU (Business As Usual) duties, pushing responsibility down and out. The tendency is to do the reverse – to continuously monitor problem areas, rather than adding structure and delegating. Professional managers resist this temptation.

Professional managers are mindful of responding to ad-hoc requests, knowing how they can mess with priorities. They work actively to train people out of a demand-fed approach, and overall contribute to the efficient and effective functioning of the team in order to meet the company’s vision, mission and goals via the strategic plan.

Human

Ensuring staff are only ever working on the highest priority, and most valuable project at a given time. Ensure established processes are being followed, especially if a person is absent and having their role covered by another person. Manage leave and absenteeism, to ensure minimum effect on the business, targets and quality.

People placement

Getting the right people in the right jobs is more important than developing a strategy for each person. Move people around to help them find their best fit, and to cross-skill the team. Understand where real value is added, and put your best people there, making sure people who work closely together are compatible and productive. Demonstrate self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it. Professional managers lead by beginning to plan their own succession as soon as they take their new post.

Intellectual

Some staff are inherently better at some things than others (be it “street smarts”, writing, technical, creative, teaching, etc). Managers organise the intellectual resources of the staff in their department, to ensure the best resources are brought to bear on a given problem, and never allow the “it’s not my job” attitude.

Suppliers

Where external contractors are used, managers ensure we do not have the skills in house, that the need is truly necessary, and within the budget. They negotiate a deal that is favourable to the company, fair to the contractor, on terms the company agrees to (for example, payment terms, insurance, quality of work), and where necessary using the company-approved contractor Agreement.

Materials

Ensuring material resources (consumables) are used sensibly, correctly, safely, and frugally (for example, stationery, bulbs, fuel, memory media, cleaning tools, electricity, props).

Equipment

Managers ensure that the equipment in, and purchased for the department is used correctly, effectively, with respect, with safety foremost in mind, and to the best of its ability, to increase the quality of our customers experience, and staff’s happiness. Equipment includes computers, software, cameras, lighting, grips, furniture, fixtures and fittings, vehicles, books – anything that someone can touch and interact with.

Office space

Managers use the space allocated for their department in the best possible way, that engenders a sensible workflow for staff, encourages teamwork, safety, and is not wasteful or disturbing to others. They actively look for ways for the whole company to utilise space more effectively, understanding the cost of wasted space.

Support staff

Managers must utilise support staff where necessary to meet or exceed targets, increase efficiency, promote teamwork, and keep the department moving. These resources are only worth their expense if being utilised by the departments actively.

Other departments

Other departments in the company may be a resource a manager can call on, via the manager of that department. This is always done with a spirit of collaboration, increasing quality and quantity of results delivered.

Knowledge

Managers actively seek out knowledge that has been acquired by the company, and mine it to inform future decisions. Managers use the Principles of Training to capture all new knowledge that is brought into the company, so it can be distributed in the future, and is never lost when people leave. Managers actively seek out existing policy and procedure documents, before embarking on new ones.

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