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Top 7 GOLDEN RULES of management

Last updated on: June 29, 2012 16:28 IST

Top 7 GOLDEN RULES of management

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L K Gupta

How you coach the new recruits, how you teach them and how you get the work done by them will help shape their careers and lives

This is the season when new management graduates start with new employers, carrying aspirations in their hearts and a spring in their step. Among them will be the leaders of tomorrow's corporate India, possibly the front pagers of tomorrow. The corollary to this is that, this is also the time when managers in our corporate world get the additional responsibility to set new recruits on the growth path they aspire too.

It is huge responsibility when you think about it -- how we coach them, how we teach them and how we get work done by them will shape careers and lives.

So, I thought about my last 21 years in the industry and tried to recall what worked for people around me, and often times for me. If your job involves managing younger employees, are you promoting these values and practices? And if you, dear reader, are a new recruit, I'd urge you to consider a few of these thoughts.

1. Think consumer first

From Mahatma Gandhi to P&G to LG, they've all laid emphasis on consumer-oriented thought process. In fact, the going slogan at P&G is 'Consumer is Boss!' I've found that the murkiest of situations become clear and solutions emerge if we look at things from our consumer's point of view.

Whether it is product development, advertising, promotions and even finance policies, thinking for consumer will give you winning ideas.

It is, though, easier said than done because you need an insight into how consumers think and behave before you can claim to be consumer oriented. So, build a habit of devoting time and resources to understanding your consumers. It never fails!


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Tags: P&G , LG , India

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2. Have an opinion

However new you are, or inexperienced your junior is, there must be a culture of diverse thinking. Differences of opinions are the fountainhead of ideas and innovation. So, at the risk of sounding stupid, do cultivate and give your opinion.

It means being fact-oriented, interpreting the facts to arrive at a judgment and then having a view of how things must go. Not only is it right for the company, but it also gets you noticed as a sharp guy who puts his neck out.


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3. Collaboration is the name of the game

Most old hands will tell us that management is the art of getting others to do what you want to be achieved. Well, it's true, but it takes two to play the game!

Almost all major projects in an organisation require people from different streams and functions to come together and produce the required results. Many times it is by design, but quite often it's implicit though not spelled out.

Your objective from the beginning should be like this: to be the person who collaborates, communicates, coordinates and cooperates across functions. The more you help others achieve their objectives, the more you'll find them collaborating with you.

You'll find information coming to you faster, you'll see obstacles and red tape being cut down better, and in general you'll discover stress-free working relationships. Warning: don't think writing a lot of emails will help you do this.


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4. Take on more than your role and responsibility

When I'd just joined Gillette in the 90s, my boss made me sit in on almost all the meetings that he went to for the next three months. Whether or not my expertise in research or media was needed, he just exposed me to the work of departments like logistics, purchase, manufacturing, even legal.

That opened the doors of learning for me, and when the time came I was able to go beyond the call of my stated R&R and get my hands on new things to do and help other departments with my skills. Thus, for instance, I conducted a vendor satisfaction study for our manufacturing and materials department using some complex research tools with no help from any research agency.

To date, the department head remembers me for that. Voluntary participation in cross-functional teams is a great way to start. Not only does it put your learning curve on a steep incline, it also signals to the management that you're the man to be considered when new or higher assignments open up in future.

If you stay in your own little well, be prepared to be a frog that doesn't get noticed till it croaks.


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5. Network and navigate

It is not enough to know your work and have great skills. Every organisation has its own unique ways of 'getting the job done'. An observant person will figure out the key processes, the cultural buttons and the key personnel pretty fast.

These will show the way, the 'network' one must make to get work done. Mind you, I'm not speaking of office politics; I'm talking about creating strategic working relationships across all functions and departments.

Collaboration and astute understanding of how the wheels move in your organisation is crucial to your success.


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6. Learning mode never off

No matter how successful you might become, remember, there are more things that you don't know, that you can't do. The changing world, newer and better skilled people will force you to acknowledge this if you shut off your learning mode. So, stay humble even as you celebrate your successes.

I've found that reading a lot helps.

Also, regularly chatting with co-workers with different roles than yours goes a long way. And of course, listening more and talking less is always a wonderful idea.


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7. Give respect

There should be absolutely no reason under the sun for us to not give the due respect to everyone we are in touch with. Many times, I have seen people treat their agencies and vendors shoddily because of the 'me client' syndrome.

Believe me, no one will want to give his best effort and creativity for a client who doesn't show respect for him. Similarly, whether it is a senior or a junior even internally, it is respect that will put wheels on your work and will open doors. What's more, if you ever leave the company, you will be missed fondly, and welcomed back with open arms if the need arises.

Maybe you're thinking, 'Hmm... are these then the comprehensive successful corporate behaviours?' No, they aren't. But they, for sure, helped me! So, you can try these for yourself too.


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