2 Tips to Improve Your Management Effectiveness


We’re approaching that time of year again. Before long, you’ll be submitting 2020 goals for your department. You might also be measuring this year's performance against the goals you set last fall. If you’re consistently falling short of where you want to be, check out Carter Cast’s advice before you go a step further.

Cast, a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at Northwestern’s Kellogg School, has long studied how managers and organizational leaders fail. Michael Meier summarized Cast’s research in a KelloggInsight that’s worth a look.

Often, managers have trouble making an important shift when they step into their new role. They continue to worry about day-​to-​day details. And they fail to step back and take a look at the big picture. They also fail to build an internal network of peers. Here's how to fix those problems.

Setting the Proper Goals

We all struggle with the flood of information coming at us on a daily basis. As managers, we can’t and shouldn’t track every detail. We simply don’t have time.

Allow yourself an hour or two every week to think about the direction you’re moving in. Decide on the specific goals you want to achieve and review these with your manager or the leadership team. These goals must make sense in the larger context of what the organization as a whole is trying to achieve or you won't get far. 

Finally, don’t get enmeshed in the details until you understand where you are going. After you set your large goals, address the smaller issues that will either help or hinder your progress.

Relying on Your Peers

As you’re setting goals and planning strategy, check in with your peers. Your organization may have formal processes in place for tracking progress on initiatives. That’s good. But your personal and departmental productivity can be much better when your strengthen informal communications networks. 

If you’re planning to promote a major new product for your company in the next quarter, for example, you’ll be more successful if you track launch date changes. Touch base regularly with the project manager and offer help and support. During informal conversations, you’ll learn about the problems they’ve run into. You might also learn about last-​minute product enhancements. This knowledge will give you the opportunity update your marketing materials and achieve your goals.