Sunday, January 09, 2005

Flying Buffalos

I've just finished Flight of the Buffalo, Soaring to Excellence, Learning to Let Employees Lead, By Stayer & Belasco. It's a pretty fast read, broken up a bit by their writing style, but the basic book and ideas are excellent, in no small part because they agree with what I've been teaching for 25 years!

The basic idea is that organizations who value line employees, understand that they do the really important work, that they are closest to the customers, that they will give more if they are empowered, these organizations succeed. I call it Bottom-Up Management, the authors talk about a rake turned upside down...same thing. And still true.

As a manager, or a supervisor, your job is to get the resources that the people you supervise need in their hands and let them do their jobs. With accountability, and with support, of course, but let them do their job. And when the people you supervise come to you with an idea, don't blow it off because "I"m the boss", remember that wonderful line from John Chambers, the CEO at Cisco, who says, "No one of us is as smart as all of us."

Listen to your employees. Let them make decisions and hold them accountable. Use all of the resources of the people you have recruited as staff and volunteers, not just the part below their necks.

For more on this, here are some postings from my website on this idea.

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