Friday, July 21, 2006

The One Minute Manager Meets The Monkey

If you feel you're doing the work of two people, tell your boss who they are and see to it he fires one of them.

Your job as a manager is to prepare your people under you so that you can delegate to them.

The only way to develop responsibility in people is to give them responsibility.

Indispensible managers can be harmful, not valuable, especially when they impede the work of others.

Individuals who think they are irreplaceable because they are indispensable tend to get replaced because of the harm they cause. Moreover, higher management cannot risk promoting people who are indispensable in their current jobs because they have not trained a successor.

Learning time-management, taking seminars only solve the symptoms of a problem not the root cause.

The problem is: monkeys.

A monkey is the next move.

A lot of times, a busy manager is busy because he is doing the staff's work! "Let me think about." "I'll get back to you on this." These statements remove responsibility for a task from a subordinate and places it on your shoulders!

One reason could be because of a "white knight" syndrome or a "do-gooder" syndrome where you think you are "helping your staff" or that you are the only one capable of "making important decisions".

Look at your job descriptions and decide whether it is yours or your staff's responsibility.

The more you take responsibility from others, the more they become dependent on you.

Learn to delegate monkeys properly.

For every monkey there are two parties involved: one to work it and one to supervise it.

When you assign people their monkeys, they are empowered to solve it.

Things not worth doing are not worth doing well. Some monkeys deserve to die. Ask yourself, why are you doing this?

Never let the company go down the drain simply for the sake of practicing good management.


Rule 1:Describe the Monkey: The dialogue between the boss and subordinate must not end until appropriate "next moves" have been identified and specified.


When people realize that any dialogue will not end till next moves are specified, they will plan carefully when approaching you.

Next, it biases any situation toward action!

Finally, it gives you motivation by clarifying the situation, identifying the first step, and breaking it into bite-size pieces.

One person can won the project and another person can make the "next move".

Rule 2: Assign the Monkey: All monkeys shall be owned and handled at the lowest organizational level consistent with their welfare.

All monkeys must be handled at the lowest organizational level consistent with their welfare!

Staff have more time, energy and knowledge to handle monkeys.

Staff are closer to the work and are in better position to handle the monkey.

Keeping monkeys off your back is the only way to gain discretionary time.

Retain monkeys only you can handle.

Rule 3:

Insure the Monkey: Every monkey leaving your presence on the back of one of your people must be covered by one of two insurance policies:

  1. Recommend, Then Act

  2. Act, Then Advise

This balances your staffs need for freedom and your ability to control.

Level 1 is when there is a risk of an unaffordable mistake.

Level 2 is when you're sure that your staff can handle it on their own and inform you afterwards.

Aim to: Practice hands-off management as much as possible and hands-on management as much as necessary.

Rule 4:Check on the monkey: Proper follow-up means healthier monkeys. Every monkey should have a checkup appointment.

Checkups are to find opportunities to praise your staff.

As well as to make sure you monkeys are healthy and to take corrective action if necessary.

Minimize the number of scheduled checkups by scheduling as far as possible without interim checkups but either of you are free to check on each other if the need arises.

Staff should inform you when monkeys are sick. Don't wait till they are critically ill before being brought to you.

During checkups, even if nothing was done, still go ahead with the checkup to discuss why nothing was done.

The purpose of Oncken's rules are to make sure the right things get done the right way at the right time by the right people.

Delegation is not assigning. Assigning involves a single monkey; delegation involves a family of monkeys.

The purpose of coaching is to get into the position to delegate.

To get into the position of delegation:

I cannot delegate until my anxieties allow it. Be convinced that your subordinate can do it. If not use insurance policy 1: recommend, then act; or work with him not for him.

I can delegate if I am reasonably sure my people know what is to be done.

It would be foolish to delegate to someone without reasonable assurance that he or she can get sufficient resources--time, information, money, people, assistance, and authority--to do the work.

I cannot turn control of any project over to anyone until I am confident that the cost and timing and quantity and quality of the project will be acceptable.

The more commitment the greater the chance of success.

Working in an organization means time devoted for the boss, time for the system (administrative), and time for your subordinates. What is left over is discretionary time.

Discretionary time is the most important to an organization, because from it flows ideas and creativity that make a company better and improve itself. It is the Quadrant II time for yourself important but not urgent. Create more discretionary time for yourself, to help yourself and the company. Use it wisely.

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