September 21, 2011

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7 Tips for New Managers The hardest but most rewarding career transition is from individual contributor to first time manager. The first step on the ladder is the steepest because it is the most ego challenging and because it forces each individual to think and act differently. In most organizations the path to fame and fortune requires you to manage and succeed through the efforts of other people. In many cases the people you will manage aren’t as fast, smart, well intentioned or skilled as you are. So, from the get-go, you have to get over yourself and focus on them. Here are 7 tips to get started: Think Like a Coach. You are no longer just a star player. You are a coach. Your success is directly dependent on how other people act. So your task changes from doing the job well to helping others do the job well. This requires a quantum leap in your ability to be patient. Coaches devise the plays and assign the players. You have to figure out what needs to get done and who’s going to do it. This means you have to get a clear read on who does what best and who can be relied on most in each situation. Focus on Individuals. Each person is motivated differently. You have to get to know the people you manage. You have t learn to read their moods, their minds and their body language. You have to suspend judgment. You have to figure out how to speak with each person and how to get across what you want, why you want it and when it’s due. Factor in Negative Examples. Bad managers have managed us all. Think about the things they did to piss you off. Don’t do them. Think about how you can structure your relationships to insure you don’t repeat their crimes. Aim for Clear Navigation. Most managers fail at setting down clear expectations, timetables and goals. Staff members crave clear, simple directions. Work as hard as you can to simplify, clarify, give advance notice, create milestones and schedules and help everyone understand what, why, how and when. Share Your Tools. Be sure your people you know all the right accounts, portals, passwords and tools you’ve come to rely on, where to find things and who to go to. You are their sherpa through your organization. Somebody showed you the ropes, now it’s your turn. You can’t expect anyone to perform at peak performance if they aren’t cued into the formal and informal tools. Give Them Space. Nobody likes to be micro-managed. Most people get the job done their own way. Respect this. Avoid extra meetings, reports, check-ins or paperwork. Manage by walking around and talking to people. Don’t worry if your people don’t do it the way you do. Worry about the end product. Your job is to give clear feedback and to help people succeed. Rarely do people strive for success if they feel their manager is looking for opportunities to criticize or bust them. You don’t have to be a cheerleader, but you have to set a positive tone and a well-defined direction. Be Real. Many first time managers take on a boss persona. Don’t! Be yourself. If you are a jerk; be somebody else. Be straight, funny, compassionate, relaxed, and focused. Position yourself as a player-coach and as a resource rather than as a judge. People want to like their bosses. Give them a personality to relate to and like. Becoming a manager isn’t easy. But it can be fun and ultimately rewarding if you are conscious about your own actions and attitudes and conscientious about the mission – developing a great team.
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Dissecting Facebook's Latest Moves You may notice drastic and significant changes in the design, functionality and capabilities of individual and branded Facebook pages. These moves, made unilaterally without any advance notice, constitute the next stage in Facebook realizing its vision to eat the Internet and outsmart the competition. Facebook aims to be the most important online tool. The 5-year old 800-pound gorilla intends to do it their way by forcing everyone, all 700 million of us, to follow along. As they’ve learned before, there is an initial flurry of outrage followed by conformity, which later leads to increased use. With 50 percent of registered users visiting daily for an average of 14 minutes, they have sufficient engagement and scale to make this bet. The latest series of changes clearly signals that Facebook is about people sharing with their friends; not about brands. We can expect these changes to keep evolving without much input from consumers or brands. These new developments are different but not necessarily worse. Facebook is challenging brands to better align with Facebook’s outlook, underlying technology and gestalt. Specific developments are schizophrenic. They de-emphasize “likes” and fans and make it tougher for brands to gain inexpensive mass exposure or reach to fans’ newsfeeds. At the same time, these changes better segment consumers to offer brands more targeted paid access. From a macro perspective, the latest changes expand and refine the ways people can interact with each other on Facebook. 1. There is an increased emphasis on real-time interactions with the introduction of the Ticker, which also co-opts Twitter. 2. Larger space for pictures and video combined with changes in the underlying filters enhance the user experience and better prioritize the things users see in their newsfeed. Users have the option to rank and filter content, but for the most part Facebook will do it for you. 3. In the same vein, the new List feature, “borrowed” from Google+, enables users to segment, tag, share and sort what they see on their wall and who gets to see what; when they post, watch, read view or listen to content. These new functionalities pre-sort audiences by actions and keywords to accelerate targeted advertising sales. For some these new functions create a scary new Facebook where privacy is mostly in the less-than-reliable hands of Zuckerberg & Company who already tracks, stores and keeps your data even when you’ve logged off. The new functions will create massive amounts of personal and behavioral data, which eventually will be available to brands for dicing, slicing and selling. Here’s a quick rundown of the prominent new features and functions: NewsFeed/ “Recent Stories” The main part of the page, the wide center column, has been re-engineered, eliminating “Top Stories” and “Most Recent Posts” and re-titled. The idea seems to be to emphasize the content each person cares about. Facebook uses algorithms (EdgeRank and GraphRank) to monitor what and whom you like and then filter content so you see the stuff you like most first. These items are marked with a blue triangle in the upper left corner and are the first things presented when you log on. Users can adjust these, which helps the underlying algorithms get smarter about your preferences. Pictures and videos will appear bigger and “Share” buttons will be attached to each content element but posts will decay faster which means more recent content gets prominence. Ticker To separate out important items from mundane activities, Facebook created a real-time news ticker that appears in the upper right column of the page. The Ticker records things that your friends are doing in real time so mentions will whiz bye rather than persist on the page. Integrated media services like Spotify or the Guardian will be automatically shared on the Ticker, unless you opt-out. The idea seems to be get you you to read, listen or watch content on Facebook, rather than on other sites, so that your friends can see what you like and what you do. Brands will need to generate a constant stream of content that gets interaction in order to have a realistic impact on the Ticker. The competition will be intense. This means either more involving posts or more posts per day in order to get into and leverage the ticker function to your benefit. Timeline/Profile The profile page has been re-named and focused on getting people to create and curate their own stories in chronological order. The technology emphasizes crafting your story over time, calling out key events and people and posting pictures...

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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