These are copy/paste notes on “Managerial Leverage” from the book High Output Management that I found particularly useful.
What is a manager?
Managers are micro CEOs in charge of supervising others directly, and/or individual contributors who gather and disseminate know-how and information.
If the manager is a knowledge specialist, a know-how manager, her potential for influencing “neighboring” organizations is enormous.
What is a manager's output?
What are managerial activities?
- Information Gathering
- Information Sharing
- Decision Making
- Providing direction (Nudges)
- Role Modeling
- Allocating resources (Time)
- Is a constant, daily activity
- Should come from multiple sources
- Should come from redundant sources (this gives you a way to verify what you’ve learned)
- We provide factual inputs or just offer opinions
- We debate the pros and cons of alternatives and thereby force a better decision to emerge
- We review decisions made or about to be made by others, encourage or discourage them, ratify or veto them
Leverage of Managerial Activity
- In order words, she should move to the point where her leverage will be greatest
- Leverage is the measure of the output generated by any given managerial activity.
- Increasing the rate with which a manager performs her activities, speeding up her work
- Increasing the leverage associated with the various managerial activities
- Shifting the mix of a manager’s activities from those with lower to those with higher leverage
- Affect many people at once - When many people are affected by one manager
- Affect over long period of time - When a person’s activity or behavior over a long period of time is affected by a manager’s brief, well-focused set of words or actions
- Providing unique knowledge - When a large group’s work is affected by an individual supplying a unique, key piece of knowledge or information [the person who comprehends the critical facts or has the critical insights -- the “knowledge specialist” or the “know-how manager” - has tremendous authority and influence on the work of others, and therefore very high leverage]
- Unless both parties share the relevant common base, the delegatee can become an effective proxy only with specific instructions
- Even after you delegate it, you are still responsible for its accomplishment, and monitoring the delegated task is the only practical way for you to ensure a result
- Monitoring is not meddling, but means checking to make sure an activity is proceeding in line with expectations
- Identify the limiting step
- Batching similar tasks
- Calendar as a production-planning tool
- Active use of your calendar, taking the initiative to fill the holes between time-critical events with non-time critical though necessary activities
- You should say “no” at the outset to work beyond your capacity to handle