Saturday, 10 November 2007


As a manager, I always stress on result-orientation (as opposed to task-orientation) and seeing the big picture for all our teams.

When I see someone discouraging that, I always feel like my mind will explode.

These are what I heard before:

1. (for a product that failed to capture market share) What you need to focus on is to complete the product development as planned. You do not need to worry about how we market and whether our product can make it to the market. We can do marketing only if we have a complete product.

2. (in a project running a big risk of delay because of resource and time constraints) You do not need to worry about the lack of resources or the risk of delay, you just need to do your part and help as much as possible. I will be totally responsible for the whole thing.

3. (for raised concerns over other departments that are not performing well or not cooperative enough) You do not need to worry about other departments or other people. You just need to make sure you and your team are doing your jobs well. I know some people are not doing their jobs quite well. But we will always have these kind of people in any organization. If they are not doing their jobs, they will not be rewarded. So, you do not need to have any concerns about them. You only need to concern about yourself. Do your job well and you will get rewarded. Do not worry about other things.

If the product cannot capture the market share, if the project get delayed and if the other departments in the same company fail, all these will have implication on the profit of the company. And if company has less profit (or maybe worse), no matter how much your contribution is, you will definitely going to be rewarded lesser than what you deserve. So, why do people tell you not to worry about something that have almost direct impact on you?

Everyone is hired to handle some parts of the work in the company to make the whole company running. Although certain people are only responsible for only certain functions, why not let them think of a company as a whole and help each others to make the company successful as one single team?

Encourage people to be result-oriented. Let them know the bigger picture so that they know what they are fighting for.

Encourage boundaryless behavior (made popular by Jack Welch). Let people perform outside their scope if they are able to .


Weekhang Teoh said...

Been there and "done that" :)
I totally agree with you, though I've said similar things to my staff (when I was in a development manager role).
In my own defense.. I thought sometimes people look at the big picture on the "wrong side". They tend to look for an escape clause from the other side - to provide a reason why things didn't go well.
When people say "the Marketing people didn't market the products properly", my response will be "Did you really think we have built something that is easy to market in the first place?".
When people say "Come on.. how come those Customer Service guys always ask stupid questions", my response will be "Did we make our product usable and easy to support? Did we even bother communicating our releases to the CS guys?".

Quite often than not, I have to admit that we didn't look at the mirror enough. We did not question the quality of our work/product enough when we let it go out the door.

Hence I have preached the principle to always "question ourselves for whether we've done our best, before we question others". Of course, the angst about other groups not carrying their weight still bothers me.

And that was one the reason I took up a full time product management role. I thought being in that (a neutral) position I can influence every group to do what I think is needed for the success of the product and organization. It is tough - but nevertheless a battle I have chosen...

Susan said...

Hi Wee Khang,

You are absolutely right. That is what I faced before also - ppl looking at the "wrong side" of the picture.

I guess, it eventually boils down to our evaluation of the intention of the person - whether they are trying to blame or question others or they raise their concerns because they want to get all the things done well. I would say, most of the cases will be mixtures of both.

I believe this. First, we need to encourage ppl to share as in "thank you for your concern" and then have open discussions on what are the concerns. I mean the real appreciation , not like "thank you for your concern, but you should not have that kind of concern."

After understanding, then only come to the part where we ask - "is there any way we can do differently ourselves to help the situation?" , which is prompt for look-at-ourselves-first . But , ultimately , we want ppl to think and improve - whether they are improving themselves (which is very important) or trying to improve others people or things (processes, products, etc.)

And we want to deliver something great together.

NeonFinkiejack said...

You are absolutely right..
I believe this. First, we need to encourage ppl to share as in "thank you for your concern" and then have open discussions on what are the concerns. I mean the real appreciation , not like "thank you for your concern, but you should not have that kind of concern.
STC Technologies | STC Technologies

My review and reflection for The Garden of Words

I just watched this short animation work from Makoto Shinkai. I had previously watched his grand hit 'Your Name' and absolutely fel...