Newsletter – February 3, 2011

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Being a permanent talent scout, managing in tough times, and more

Hello friends,

With Valentine’s Day approaching, you’re no doubt preparing to celebrate your love of management! And to help stoke the fires, here’s a new batch of management resources for you —

1. Be a Permanent Talent Scout

When you have a job opening to fill, do you have several names that come to mind immediately for perfect candidates you’d love to hire? Or do you cross your fingers and hope your ads will bring you the right person?

To ensure that strong candidates readily come to mind when you need to hire, we recommend keeping a running list of prospects, and encouraging everyone on your staff to contribute to it. A simple Word document listing names, contact information, and a sentence of context to trigger your memory is all you need — and here’s a simple template to get you started.

This great article fleshes out this point even further, discussing the advantages of the “top talent” model of hiring over the “filling jobs” model.

2. Managing in Tough Economic Times

We know many organizations are still dealing with the effects of the recession, and this piece from the Bridgespan Group is the best we’ve seen on how to manage in difficult economic times. In particular, we love its points about the importance of “protecting the core” rather than cutting across the board (referring to both your highest-impact work and your strongest people); developing contingency plans with clear “triggers”; communicating openly and often; and the idea of identifying opportunities within the crisis … such as making long-overdue difficult decisions, better investing your top staff, board, and funders in the health of your organization, or even hiring great people who you might not normally be able to attract.

And if you’re facing tough financial decisions, here’s a simple worksheet that can help you capture sound contingency plans for moving forward.

3. Get Control of Your Email

If you’ve ever felt like answering your email could be a full-job in itself, you might love 43Folders.com’s In-Box Zero series — an action plan for getting your in-box message count to zero and keeping it there. The series is chock-full of tips for taming your email, from scheduling “email dashes,” to using template responses, to knowing when to just delete … and drums home the need to be honest about true priorities.

4. Hold the Right Meetings

If your staff grumbles about meetings — either that they waste people’s time or that people feel out of the loop despite meetings — it might be time to take a look at what kind of meeting bodies you have and why you have them. For instance, you might hold a monthly all-staff meeting whose purpose is to coordinate and communicate, which is separate from a monthly leadership team stepback to strategize about timely issues. And you might consider establishing teams to meet about operations, development, and other cross-organizational issues. Here’s a template to help you think about how to best structure your regular meetings and decision-making bodies.

5. Angry Memos From a Truly Tyrannical Boss

Feeling bad about yourself as a manager? At least you’re not as bad as this guy! Check out this series of memos from a breathtakingly tyrannical CEO in the 1970s … and prepare to gasp (and laugh!) out loud.

6. Send Us Your Best Interview Exercise

Last month, we talked about asking job candidates to simulate activities similar to what they’d be doing on the job before you hire them. We’d love to see what you’re using, so please send us whatever you’ve got!

I hope you find these resources useful (and, in the case of #5, entertaining)!

Best,

Jerry Hauser
CEO
The Management Center

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