Book – HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across

HBR.pngThe guide is a collection of helpful tips on how to include remote colleagues into projects more effectively, navigate complicated matrix organization, and build helpful networks.  A fantastic resource with very relevant questions to ponder and ideas to explore, which might remind about an issues from a last week meeting or a phone call planned for tomorrow afternoon.

One of the most interesting perspectives of the book is a network analysis.

…high performers have strong ties to

1. network.PNGpeople who offer them new information or expertise, including internal or external clients, who increase their market awareness; peers in other functions, divisions, or geographies, who share best practices; and contacts in other industries, who inspire innovation;

2. formally powerful people, who provide mentoring, sense-making, political support, and resources; and informally powerful people, who offer influence, help coordinating projects, and support among the rank and file; and

3. people who give them developmental feedback, challenge their decisions, and push them to be better. At an early career stage, an employee might get this from a boss or customers; later, it tends to come from coaches, trusted colleagues, or a spouse.

A network can be imbalanced and have unexpected redundancies; active approach to building a network is the most beneficial:

Write down three business results you hope to achieve in the next year, and then list people who could help you with them.

A thought provoking article Make Your Enemies Your Allies, recommends three steps to handle unfortunate situations in the office: redirection, reciprocity, and rationality.  The article provides a couple of successful examples of the approach, including an example of initially unpopular idea, which was eventually supported by an organization.

The book also suggested an interesting approach to relationship with management: your boss can be considered as a brand, and your boss’s boss the ultimate customer.

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