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

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

“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

When to delegate and when to do it yourself

DelegationDelegation is such an integrative part of Management that it seems everything has already been said about it. We all understand its benefits for grooming potential Leads and know how to redistribute the load of responsibility according to people’s natural tendencies.  However, in real world we sometimes find it hard to apply our knowledge for the simple reason that delegation basically means trusting people with important things, and having some actual experience in dealing with employees sometimes makes trust a very rare resource. Continue reading

An Eternal Argument: Can a Non-Expert manage Experts?

you are not an expertCan you put a non-engineer to lead an IT development team? How effective would be a financial product development team when managed by someone who has no previous experience with financial systems? When looking for someone to fill an executive position in an aviation sales department, should you be looking for someone who has more experience with aviation, a better salesman or A BETTER MANAGER?

I think it’s easy to understand what I’m getting at: there is an eternal argument going on in every possible industry – when looking for Managers, should you prefer people from the same industry or people with good managerial skills but without any previous knowledge of the industry. Continue reading

Lessons Learned: How to Deal with Failure

lessons learnedA few weeks ago a friend sent me an amazing piece of memorabilia – a journal article from the year 1905. It made such an impression on me that I immediately decided to share its wisdom on the ever discussed question of what is success and what is failure and how can we influence their relationship by learning the lessons our life experience provides us with. Continue reading