Monday, October 23, 2006


Dunn and Bradstreet did a study of business failures and discovered that 95% of business failure comes from bad management. The same could be said of personal failure.

Before you can effectively manage others, you must learn to manage yourself. Your toughest management challenge is always yourself. There are four aspects of life that need your attention today:

1. Manage your thoughts.

Your thoughts are key. What are your thoughts about yourself, your team, your challenge? What are you reading? What are you learning? Your ability to learn is key. What are you thinking?

2. Manage your goals.

Aristotle said "People are goal-seeking animals." Have a written goals program. Most do not. 3% have written goals. 10% have goals, but not written ones. 60% have some ideas about their goals, but no clear thoughts. 27% don't have any thoughts about goals. You can probably predict which category produces the high-achievers. Yup. Time to get out a piece of paper.

3. Manage your actions.

If time is getting away from you, round it up. Perhaps inventory your time by keeping track of your work week in 15 minute increments. On what activities are you spending the most time? Is your time investment balanced between work, family, friends, play? How about alone time? Time with God? Prayer time? Does your calendar relate to your goals?

4. Manage your attitude.

Your attitude will determine your altitude. It will make or break you, your team, your home, your church. You set the tone. What tone are you setting? Are you relaxed? Are you joyful?

I have constructed a Life Plan that I review on Monday mornings. I have several "accounts" that I review (Spiritual Life, Career, Marriage, etc.). That weekly inventory informs my strategy for the week to manage my most significant and challenging responsibility: myself.

There are stages of management that you go through, as you develop in your leadership, starting with yourself and working out from there.

Stage One: Manager of self

Fundamental to leadership, is leadership of self. As Bill Hybels says, “The best gift you can give the people you lead is a healthy, energized, fully surrendered, focused self.”

Stage Two: Manager of others

Helping others do it is one of the most important passages you go through as a leader. This involves Planning, Setting Objectives, Assigning Work, Selection, Delegation, Performance Assessment, Feedback, Coaching, Rewards and Motivation, Communication and Climate-setting, Relationship Building. During this stage, a leader provides training and coaching to achieve results through others.

Stage Three: Manager of managers

This passage is frequently de-emphasized. It is assumed that there is very little difference between managing others, and managing managers. But here the alignment desired is not around task, but around values. The manager of managers is the connection between the values of the organization and the accomplishment of tasks.

Stage Four: Manager of the organization

This stage involves setting the enterprise’s direction and building its people capacity. Your behavior is now symbolic. In this stage, a leader focuses on developing new forms of communication and functional strategies to create competitive advantage.

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