Terry Thompson, Surrey, BC, CYBF Mentor, tesh@shaw.ca

Managing Corporate Culture article series

The best advice that I ever received when researching how to develop great corporate culture was, “It’s simple, just have great managers.”

When you think about it this advice makes a lot of sense. The managers, starting with the CEO and other senior managers are the people charged with the performance of the organization. Middle managers are usually the people most responsible for the execution of the day-to-day operations. Accordingly, great managers (as described below) are the key component to any aspect of the organization, particularly culture.

So what makes a great manager? Much has been written on this subject and will probably continue to be written forever. However, to keep it simple and based upon my over 25 years of senior management experience, here are what I believe are the top five items (by which every manager at any level should be evaluated):

  1. The ability to articulate and effectively communicate a clear vision and values for his/her team;
  2. The ability to develop and maintain a high performing team of people;
  3. The ability to develop clear business plans (and related budgets) that support his/her vision;
  4. The ability to execute the plan effectively (i.e. achieve the desired quantitative and qualitative objectives) and adapt the plan to new developments as required;
  5. S/he is emotionally intelligent.

So what are the most frequently encountered obstacles to becoming a great manager?

  1. The person does not have the necessary personality traits and skill set to be a great manager (i.e. they are just the wrong person);
  2. The person does not spend the appropriate time at key management functions;
  3. The person has the potential to be a great manager but needs development in one or more of the key management skills.

My next series of articles will discuss all of the above in more depth and, hopefully, provide you a roadmap (in “bite-size pieces”) as to how to assess and develop yourself and your managers.

Should you have any questions or feedback regarding the content of this article please email Terry Thompson at tesh@shaw.ca ©

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