Change management

A speedometer with needle racing to Improvement, past the words problem, planning and process, symbolizing the need to implement change to improve a situation._Depositphotos

Managers, make ‘we can be better’ more than empty words

So today I’m thinking about Casey Stengel and Jesus.

Why? Well, in my life, it’s the time of year for two really important six-week seasons: spring training and Lent.

Both are times devoted to preparation. Both are opportunities for fresh starts. And both give those who take part a chance to make an important change — whether it be their batting stance or their approach to life.

Spring training is the time when major league baseball players gather in the warm climes of Florida and Arizona to prepare for another summer on the diamond. Lent, which Christians observe in preparation for Easter, recalls the 40 days Jesus prayed and fasted in the desert prior to beginning his public life of teaching and good works.

Yes, the two seasons have very different goals: One aims to produce a winning baseball team and the other to transform lives. Read more

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Journal Register Company’s open newsroom a sign of transition to ‘digital first’

The Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn., made headlines a few months ago when it moved into a new building and invited readers in for coffee and free Wi-Fi. Beyond community outreach, the building and “open newsroom” represent a transformative effort by the Journal Register Company to put digital first.

For Matt DeRienzo, the paper’s publisher, “digital first” means “de-emphasizing the time and expense of the print edition, which is increasingly becoming irrelevant.”

The goal is not to eliminate print, he said, but to develop a business model that enables journalists to re-engage with their communities and produce local journalism that is “not dependent on print to survive.”

So while the Wi-Fi may have gotten the attention, the move to a new building has enabled The Register-Citizen to rent its new office space and put the old building on the market. Read more


USA Today’s “Radical Restructuring” Means End of Newsroom Integration, Universal Desk

Eight weeks ago, USA Today announced some impending layoffs and promised what Publisher Dave Hunke called a “pretty radical” restructuring. Now some of the changes are rolling out, and they are indeed big ones.
In essence, USA Today is disassembling its universal desk and a five-year effort at newsroom integration. That worked well as an interim step, Hunke told me over lunch Wednesday, but needs to be replaced with “editing hubs by platform.”
Hunke said the company won’t be able to take advantage of mobile and tablet opportunities unless offerings are designed and edited to match the unique characteristics and markets in both booming new-media device categories.
In addition, USA Today has eliminated several managing editor jobs and will be organizing around “15 distinct content areas,” Hunke said, like travel, personal finance and personal technology. Read more

What Great Bosses Know about Face Time & Feedback

Great bosses know that most important thing they do is help others succeed.

That’s why feedback from the boss and face time with the boss are so important. Your feedback lets employees know where they stand, how they’re valued and where they can grow. Face time provides them your focused attention, a chance to be heard, and an opportunity to pick your brain.

Here’s the best part: Properly done, feedback and face time are priceless — yet they cost you nothing. That remarkable investment equation is well-known to top managers. But even the best know they have to be vigilant about maintaining a high-quality connection with staff or they’ll allow other daily duties to crowd it out.

To keep you focused on feedback, here are six things every manager needs to know:


What Great Bosses Know about Bedtime Reading

I’m sometimes asked to suggest worthwhile books for bosses. I’m pretty picky about my favorites. They need to be practical, helpful, grounded in solid research and well-written. After all, managers have so little spare time these days, that when they curl up with a book, it’s probably bedtime — or sick bedtime — reading.

Here’s hoping you are healthy and have a little time to spare. I’m suggesting four books I’ve enjoyed reading recently — and think you might, too.

For bosses managing change (and who isn’t?)

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

The Heath brothers, Chip and Dan, build on the solid foundation of change management expert John Kotter, whose book, “The Heart of Change,” emphasizes the key role of emotion in change. Read more


What Great Bosses Know about Managing Amid Cutbacks

It’s a challenging time to be a boss. You’re managing change and most likely doing so with a smaller budget and fewer people on your team. The workloads are heavier and the paychecks lighter. The demand for quality, innovation and productivity remains as high as ever — and it falls to you to lead the way.

You can do it. I don’t minimize the degree of difficulty for a moment. But I know from working with hundreds of managers that this tough economy is producing some great bosses. They are people who draw on the best skills of management and leadership as they deal with products and people. They’ve developed strategies that ensure their teams aren’t just surviving, but thriving.

What are some best practices for managing after cutbacks? Read more


What Great Bosses Know about Personalities: From Hard Liners to Soft Touches

Imagine that two bosses are discussing their respective views on managing teams. Eavesdrop with me, and think about which boss sounds more like you:

Boss 1: “I don’t expect that people on staff have to like each other, but I want them to respect each other.”
Boss 2: “I’d be disappointed if we couldn’t achieve both.”

The conversation continues:

Boss 1: I’m tough but I’m fair with people.
Boss 2: I’m a people person but I can be tough when it matters.

Then they say:

Boss 1: People deserve recognition for exceptional performance, not for doing what’s expected of them.
Boss 2: I’m big on praising people, including for everyday work.

Which boss are you? If you picked 1, your personality preference probably leans toward what the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator calls “Thinking.” If 2, your preference favors “Feeling.”

Here’s a good summary of both types from the book, “The Art of SpeedReading People“:

“For Thinkers, logic rules. Read more

What Great Bosses Know about Decision-Making

The best reason to involve others in decisions is a simple one: buy in. A line in a classic management book, “Getting to Yes,” says it well:

“Give them a stake in the outcome by making sure they participate in the process.”

Makes sense. I believe in it. More often than not it’s the best way to go. But it’s not the only way. Every decision is different. Even bosses who pride themselves on inclusiveness and employee empowerment need to know when it’s time to go it alone.

Let’s look at the boss’s decision-making options:

  • Command: I decide.
  • Delegated: I decide who decides.
  • Consultative: I ask for input, then I decide.
  • Democratic: I put it to a team vote. Majority rules.
  • Consensus: The team and I choose an option that everyone can live with, even if some aren’t crazy about it.
Read more


What Great Bosses Know about Leaving a Legacy

I usually find ideas for this column in the everyday lives of leaders and organizations — their joys and challenges. Today, the inspiration comes from sorrow, from the passing of a newswoman with a remarkable understanding of leadership.

Cancer took Kira Lisa Warren on July 23rd. Not without a real fight from her, mind you. She was only 54, with a wonderful family and an abundance of friends. Many of those friends were people whose careers she helped shape during the years she led a number of newsrooms in Ohio.

Reading their tributes to her in several obituaries inspired this leadership column and its simple question: Whatever your role, whatever your field, what will your legacy be as a leader?

I got to know Lisa a few years ago. Read more


What Great Bosses Know about Making Change Stick

I don’t even have to ask if you are managing change these days. If you’re a supervisor of any sort, it comes with the territory. It might involve technology, systems, job roles and responsibilities, collaboration, consolidation, regulation or even social networking. You may be part of a brainstorming team that plans for change and you’re most likely responsible for its execution.

And that’s the challenge: making certain good ideas don’t fail because of poor execution. This is a focus of a lot of my recent teaching — helping leaders in changing organizations keep the change momentum going toward positive results.

Here are some tips for managers who are trying to make change stick. I’ve listed six steps, each with a little alliteration and a lot of impact if you do it right. Read more

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