The tricky part is to figure out which 10% is important.
I remember a
I interviewed his direct reports, who admitted that they freely ignored his first few requests for any action, knowing that he would either forget the request, or resort to making the request of several people at once.
When I asked him about repeating his requests to different people, he freely admitted that he used this practice because “that was the only way to get stuff done around here.”
Did I mention that he was a Senior Vice President, and that his direct reports were all Vice Presidents?
Into this morass of confusion comes a product that a colleague of mine, Scott Hilton-Clarke, has been refining for the better part of the last 6 years.
Executive Slice has been through several iterations, and its latest test release is the most innovative and provocative, which tells me that Scottie is on the right track.
The new promise of the software (which is shared between executives, managers or professionals on the same team) is that it “Prevents Promises from Falling Through the Cracks” (or something quite similar.) It does an amazing job.
What Scottie has done is to imagine the conversational “space” between the members of a team, and the promises that keep things together, or allow them to drift apart.
His thesis (in my words) is that managers have no business trying to remember all the promises that they have made, and others have made of them. They world is moving too quickly, and situations are changing too frequently to even try.
It is no mistake that Scott is a
Whereas a manager in
The chaos will never go away, but we can become highly effective in managing or thriving in spite of it. (From my point of view, this could become a company’s competitive advantage.)
His software offers a powerful way to shape the promisphere, that space of promises and commitments that exists between managers and their reports.
In Executive Slice, promises that are made are immediately captured in the programme, and then “remembered” by the system’s players all the way through completion. As useful as this feature set is, the real power of the system comes after the promise has been made.
The manager to whom the promise has been made has a variety of interesting ways to follow-up on progress, and ask for updates, information and clarification. The system automatically reminds him when promises are overdue, or in limbo.
At some point in the future, it will offer coaching on how to have difficult reporting conversation, and even coaching conversations so that a manager who has two minutes to prepare can do so effectively.
Over time, the effectiveness of both a manager and their reports can be tracked by simply measuring how well they are managing the promises they are making, and the ones they are receiving.
To go back to the example of the Senior Vice President and his hapless Vice Presidents, a reasonable performance review system would show who are the effective and ineffective players in the promisphere.
But let us not be fooled – this is an employee’s worst nightmare, regardless of level. The time is coming, through tools such as Executive Slice, where chaos and change will no longer be good excuses to not get work done.
The 10% game will be over, as will its cousin – the game of working ridiculous hours to fulfill unrealistic deadlines. In its place will come a level of rationality and communication that will help teams to deal with chaos more effectively, and this will be no small blessing for the