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What’s in store for 2013?
January 08,2013 [ by Larry Chao ] 38887 Read and 1 Comment

What new management practices will make their mark in 2013? What should we focus on to change behavior to improve organization performance?

Well, the more bells and whistles a management tool has, the further away you should run. There is no magic formula to change behavior to improve, say leadership effectiveness or teamwork.

Most new management tools are old ideas re-packaged with new covers. The secret is no longer the idea per se, but how you train people in a more compelling way.

Let me tell you two popular management ideas that dominated 2012 and will likely continue into 2013 and beyond, until we get it right.

Effective Leadership, Again

First, improving the way leaders coach, empower and develop their subordinates. With all the hoopla around disruptive market change, speed of execution and innovation, the goal is to get everyone, not just leaders, to think more and be more accountable for decision-making. More effective thinking leads to higher quality, faster decision-making throughout the organization. It is a competitive advantage.

In the past, people seemed to prefer to let their boss do all the thinking and to take all the risk. The boss became to bottleneck. Moreover, he did not know all the answers. His subordinates knew much more about market dynamics because they were closer to customers. Now, to be competitive, coaching people to think and make better decisions is the name of the game.

Breaking Down Silos, Again

Second, breaking down functional barriers and improving cross-functional execution. So much energy, time and resources are wasted fighting internal battles or blaming others. So if you can get everyone from different functions aimed in the right direction and coordinating common company-wide objectives, you can generate significantly better results than any other management software solution or process improvement.

People who know how to think collaboratively and work together know how to generate company results. They will figure out and execute the best solutions, regardless of whether they have the right software of process improvement in place. Invest in collaboration.

No More Theory, Practice How It’s Done

Telling people how important leadership and teamwork is had fallen on deaf ears. Everyone know, but how do you get them to practice it?

A large part of this answer lies in training people in the context of their actual job situations. Without this context, the training is irrelevant. Experience shows that people need to practice what they actually do on the job, not in theoretical situations or where they have to take a leap of faith and apply principles learned in training workshops back on the job. If you don’t practice what you actually need to do back on the job in a training workshop, then you will not behave differently.

Changing behavior is not easy. If it was, you’d go to training once and then never have to repeat it. Fact is, you have to do it right. Executing training properly is vital. Specifically, you have to practice new behaviors in the context of real work, so that you are rehearsing in practice, what you must do differently back on the job. It is all about the quality and context of the training, not any new earth shattering behavior that we have never thought about.

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