Realizing your infinite managerial potential

March 4, 2013
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In my last article – Managers have infinite bandwidth, I put forward a thesis that managers have infinite capability. President Obama, Tim Cook, Jack Welch also have 24 hours in a day and they get a lot done. I have seen in my past C-level experiences that some managers get a lot more done than others in similar situations.
 
So time is not the real constraint. There are 2 main constraints to managerial capability that I would like to talk about:
 

Discipline

One of my favourite management books is Good to Great. Jim Collins studies companies over several decades and tried to understand why some succeeded more than the others. He defines Level 5 leadership as the highest form of leadership which helped the really great companies surpass other by a good distance. Think Amex vs. Others, for example. The deep analysis returned a very simple answer. Discipline. He divided it further – Disciplined People, Disciplined Thought and Disciplined Action. 

 
Any number of words I write about the importance of Discipline will not be enough. Managers need to be able to keep track of their emails, their tasks, their calendars and their priorities. Unfortunately, it's easier said than done. My guess is that a fairly large number of managers are not able to keep a good track of these. They don't give it enough priority. Business schools focus much more on strategy than brass tacks. There are number of techniques from using available tools to formulating a process or a system that you can stick to, to sometimes using secretarial help if you really need (though in my opinion, with the progress of tools, its more work than help). Discipline is the key to unlocking vast hidden bandwidth from your calendar and more importantly, from mindshare.
 

Resource Mindset

I say mindset since most managers whine about resources a lot. Either they have too many to manage, or too few, or too unskilled, or ambitious… In a perfect managerial world, they have the perfect set of resources for the jobs at hand and then they can guarantee success! Isn't this though the crux of managerial capability to use available resources to deliver best possible results? Isn't that how you would determine the best managers? The best managers constantly re-assemble, re-assign, train, develop, remove, create, push and shove till they get the best combination to deliver on their most important goals. Hence, its a mindset issue. Managers get into mindset that they forget that this is the most important part of their job, They worry about delegating (and still controlling quality), about individual egos, the pain of letting go people from their teams and so on and so forth. They do not take the tough decisions. Or a lot of times, any decision at all.

 

The reality is that managers work at a fraction of their potential. The answer to infinite bandwidth lies within and is completely within their own control. I would love to hear what managers think.

 

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Rajul Garg

Rajul Garg

Rajul is a Co-founder and Director of Sunstone Business School.
Previously, Rajul co-founded GlobalLogic, sold for $420M in 2013 to Apax partners in the largest deal of the year in India. Rajul built the operation ground up in India and then expanded through global acquisitions, until 2008. Rajul then consulted with top tier venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital and Aavishkaar, where he got exposed to the education sector. Earlier, right out of college, Rajul founded Pine Labs, a leader in the Indian market in credit card transactions. Rajul serves on several Boards, including publicly traded S Mobility, a leader in digital mobility. He is an active mentor to several startups, a sought after angel investor and a participant in several industry bodies such as TiE, NASSCOM, IIT Mentors and others.
Rajul is a 1998 Computer Science graduate from IIT, Delhi.

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  1. raveesh rai says:

    Going through past few articles what I can learn that for managers the situation is also equally competitive to manage manageability. The scope can have infinite options with the adherence to discipline and having a proper mindset it sometimes becomes easy and connected for them to deliver better. I feel that no employer ever likes to deal with any kind of turnover, especially when loosing good people. But equally employers need good reason to stick around. In some of your previous posts what I learned as role for managers is creating opportunities for the team in terms of giving them responsibilities to show trust, encouragement and give a chance to learn. This would help to enhance credibility, reliability and self-orientation. Also, it is necessary for the managers to identify scope of appreciation and make it a priority to display admiration of his employees. Expecting and even demanding high-quality performance is natural, but one shouldn’t assume that all employees can constantly work at maximum productivity nor pressurize them to do so. Allowing them the chance to breathe between projects would create move scope of involvement and open discussions for the team. This would help managers to transform into a projected leader rather than just a management lead.