My Team just got bigger!

Hi everyone, especially those who’ve been asking themselves where are the new Anyworksmart posts :-)

Well, don’t worry, guys, because the reason I’ve been absent lately is most fortuitous: our family got bigger by one more person (a beautiful boy), so right now I literally have too much on my hands :-)

The moment that the situation will allow it, you’ll be once again able to enjoy new Anyaworksmart posts on a regular basis.

See you soon,

Anya :-)

Should we listen to “Gurus”?

gurus“Guess correctly three times and they’ll call you an expert” – said a wise man. In the age of Internet and other mass-media guessing has become especially easy, as every correct prediction could be inflated beyond any proportion while small uncomfortable facts (such as the bankruptcy of companies created by famous business consultants) are downplayed to oblivion.

We are surrounded by Gurus of every possible expertise, offering their enlightened opinion on everything we want to know about, but does it make our life easier? Can we trust the majority of Gurus’ opinions? Should we listen to them at all? Continue reading

The Science of Management: does it really help us?

science help businessLast week I’ve been talking to a friend who was just editing the final exam for his course “Decision-making in Disaster management”. Living aside the nice feeling of talking to people from the academic environment, there was actually something in our conversation that troubled me to the level of feeling a need to share it with the readers of my blog. Continue reading

Why it’s so hard to follow schedules?

ScheduleThere is nothing new in the fact that timelines established for the projects are rarely met. Actually, we got so used to this part of workplace reality that we consider it a problem only in the most outrageous cases – when the project’s cost exceeded every budgeting expectation or when it outlived its usefulness by becoming irrelevant.

Is there a way to improve this situation? Before we are able to answer this question, we need to understand what prevents us from following the schedule in the first place. Continue reading

Judging people: External vs. Internal

AngryHappy New Year, everybody! :-)

AnyaWorkSmart is back online and will continue with discussion of every aspect of Management that can be improved by fighting Biases. I decided that the first post of the year should deal with a situation where the negative influence of Biases is most critical – our attempts to judge others based on their appearances and actions. Continue reading

A Happy New Year present for my readers: my Top 5 Favorite Movies for Managers

office spaceAs Season Greetings are almost upon us and Anyworksmart will traditionally go into well-deserved recess for the next month, I decided to finish the year with something light yet meaningful in order to thank my readers for being with me during the last two years. The best thing that came to my mind was to provide you with a list of five of my favorite movies and TV shows that you can watch with your family during the holidays, while also benefiting from their very serious insights about being a Manager. Continue reading

“Biases: Where do they come from?” – From Ask Anya mails

Ask Anya MailFollowing post: Biases: Where do they come from?

“I’ve been interested with cognitive biases and misconceptions for some time already, reading all available material on the subject, including your blog.  However, I noticed that just knowing about biases doesn’t really help to get rid of them. Last week I was talking to a friend about politics and was suddenly faced with a sad reality of failing to see through “Halo effect” bias. What happened was that as we were discussing with my friends a politician who recently achieved infamy by openly demonstrating unwanted behaviors in his private life, I made a statement that someone who behaves this way in his social life has no chance of filling his office properly. It seemed logical to me when I said it, but when my friends pointed to a fact that there is no known correlation between someone’s personal and professional life, I immediately understood that my statement was caused by “halo effect”. This situation made me wondering:  is there any benefit in learning about biases, if it only helps you to understand what you already did wrong? Continue reading

“Can a Non-Expert manage Experts?” – From Ask Anya mails

Ask Anya MailFollowing post : An Eternal Argument: Can a non-Expert manage Experts?

“I read your post carefully and I have to say that I completely disagree. In my experience, any attempt to manage IT developers without also being a technical expert is doomed to failure for several reasons. For one, the developers have no one to talk to if they encounter serious technical problems and need further guidance – non-technical manager cannot provide this guidance by definition. Continue reading

More on Delegation: Micro-management and “Hands-On” Management Style

micro or hands-on managerAfter talking to people about my post on Delegation I decided to expand the discussion to other related issues in Management that everybody knows about, but the general understanding remains vague, preventing fruitful actions. Today I would like to talk about the most frequent complaint of employees about their Managers – them being MicromanagersContinue reading

When it is right to throw money at the problem

throwing money at the problemWe all are familiar with situations when decision-makers keep throwing money at the problem instead of trying a structural solution that could potentially be much more beneficial to the system. The examples are too many, especially in our austere times.

Naturally, we tend to be critical of such wasteful strategies, but a story told to me last week by an older friend about his time in the Military reminded me that sometimes solving the situation by spending more resources may be more beneficial than attempting a structural decision. Continue reading