Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Intentional management 6: looking beyond simply managing personnel 2

Posted in HR and personnel, strategy and planning by Timothy Platt on May 7, 2014

This is my sixth installment in a series in which I discuss how management activity and responsibilities can be parsed and distributed through a business organization, so as to better meet operational and strategic goals and as a planned intentional process (see Business Strategy and Operations – 3, postings 472 and loosely following for Parts 1-5.)

I moved in Part 5 of this series from a discussion of management as it directly addresses human resources and managing teams and personnel, to include management of the work context that they perform their jobs in. I concluded that discussion with its more inward-facing focus on the working environment, to state that I would turn outward in this and consider the customer experience, and how the business works with its customers and with other external stakeholders as well. I am going to at least begin a discussion of those issues here but before I do I am going to step back to consider the intentional management paradigm as a whole, and on the basis of my discussion of it up to here, now through five more selectively focused postings.

• Intentional management is all about developing and pursuing best management practices to meet the requirements and opportunities of the specific business model and its implementation, the people who enact that, and their customer base and market base.
• That means not simply following through on the momentum of “tried and true” and expected, or of simply continuing on with whatever management systems and processes that the business’ senior management have always worked under.
• This does mean systematic design and execution and with an acute awareness of how everything is working out and with a willingness to test and prototype, and to change and evolve.
• This does of necessity allow for and even encourage flexibility where that is needed to meet specific human needs, where we all have our own personalities and our own communications and work preferences. I have been writing concurrently in a series: Exceptions and Exception Handling from the HR Perspective about the importance of moving away from ad hoc and ill-considered personnel policy and with a focus there on terms of employment that specific employees and their managers agree to (see HR and Personnel, postings 197 and following). I do not write there or here in this series about pursuing a sclerotic, rigid approach, but rather of understanding what is done and how and why, and bringing the best of new approaches that are tried into general practice as new standard approach options.

And with that in mind and in place, I turn back to the flow of discussion that I began more actively pursuing from Part 5. And I begin that by noting that my goal here is not to take the usual approach to discussing sales, customer support and customer relationship management best practices.

• The more usual approach to that complex of issues takes an approach that is very point of customer contact-centric, and in book form that usually means a work with a title like “Find the Salesmanship Hero Within You.”
• There is value in pursuing and developing best practices in this arena that focus on the actions and decisions of the people at direct point of contact with customers and potential customers – and sometimes even with a title like that. But in my experience, both the best and the worst customer- facing practices depend upon and ultimately come from management. A great sale staff member can overcome a great deal of adversity in their workplace context and can often in effect rise above its more limiting aspects – and certainly when they succeed in what they do and bring in increased new revenue as a result. But the basic decisions and the underlying culture of the sales and customer support team ultimately all come from the top and depend upon its consenting support.
• Sales and Customer Support management determine what is and is not acceptable in their staff and they serve as role models for the people who report to and follow them, and for both the good and the bad in their team members’ professional approaches and behavior.

I admit that I am thinking of some very explicit workplace examples as I write this, that I have had to deal with, and both from non-sales manager and C level perspectives. I have seen the approach I outline above, verified for its need in real world day to day detail.

From a management systems and processes perspective, this leads me to a crucially important set of general principles:

• Managers need to take a 360 degree approach to understanding what they do and its consequences as their actions and decisions and their follow-through or lack thereof impact upon the people they lead and everyone their team members interact with too. Their actions and their failures to act have consequences that radiate out.
• Managers serve as active role models as the people who report to them, and I add other stakeholders as well shape their actions to accommodate and mesh with their own, and certainly as others have to deal with them.
• And an effective intentionally developed and architected intentional management system is set up to make good, effective decision making and follow through easier, while spotlighting and limiting ineffective or cost and unjustifiable risk creating actions and behavior.

I am going to continue this discussion in a next series installment where I will add in the complications of working with “other stakeholders” and particularly when working with supply chain and other business to business collaborative partners. As a foretaste to that I note that this means developing and managing effective interfaces with differing business systems and cultures, and to mutual benefit for all businesses involved, and certainly if these business to business relationships are to remain positive and sustainable. Meanwhile, you can find this and related postings at Business Strategy and Operations – 3 and also at Page 1 and Page 2 of that directory. Also see HR and Personnel and HR and Personnel – 2.

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