Monday, March 27, 2017

A Manager’s Mirror, Episode I

Your success pillars: hardware, software, content, awareness.
by Georgina Popescu

If you are an experienced headline-news-reader, you may believe this is about IT.

It is not.

It is about focus for efficient management.

IT-like terminology just makes it short and simple.

Any computer-operated system needs both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ to operate properly, and the quality of those makes a big difference in the user’s decision to purchase. While being mandatory for any state-of-the-art machinery, it is however no longer sufficient. In order to differentiate, the producer needs to deliver also quality content – added-value applications with friendly interface, which create ‘best user experience’. Finally, it does not matter if you have the best hardware, software and content if you keep this to yourself… you need to make sure that everyone is aware of that in order to purchase, enjoy and then further disperse the positive feed-back.

Apply now the same rationale to a human being – we are all born with unique hardware and software, develop content and build awareness all around us until the last day of our life. Most of us perpetuate the content and awareness for a while, even past the moment when our hardware and software has stopped functioning…

Can we apply the same to a profession? I believe so. The basis for this lies in the education and continuous learning.

First, there is a set of so-called ‘hard skills’ to be acquired as a pre-requisite by any individual who wishes to adhere to the profession. Then each of those individuals has a blend of unique so-called ‘soft skills’ that differentiate him/her from the other members in the way he/she does things in the area of human interaction. The set of skills needed vary significantly with the profession - for example the hard skills of an actor may represent soft skills for a doctor or mathematician. The backbone (or basic social survival kit) which transcends most of the professions is instilled to most of us from childhood to adolescence, while the adult life is all about further developing our own unique set of skills, according to the content we wish to contribute and the awareness we intend to raise in our environment.

Enlarging now from individual to collective self, I finally get to the point which is that wonderful complex system that a manager has to lead towards greatness nowadays, both in terms of content and awareness (no matter how you may specifically call them - profit, deliverables, bottom line, quantitative and qualitative results, regulatory constraints, team spirit, customer centric, social responsibility etc.).

Any manager, no matter how big a ship he/she needs to steer, has a two-fold focus – human resources and everything else. You cannot cross the street without the first one. The rest is just mandatory hard skills set, which should be a pre-requisite for his/her appointment.

In terms of mastering your team’s performance, it is all about integrating the limited resources at your disposal (hard and soft skills), by generating together credible proper content and facilitating awareness – both inside the team and towards external parties, so that you can add value to all the stakeholders involved. And the best way to do this is in a continuous flow motion, just like going around the world in a car. Set your itinerary, get your resources and passengers on board, check that all your mirrors are adjusted to maximise vision from all possible angles and… start moving! Drive courageously but keep your passengers safe (and make sure they feel that way!), adapt to your surrounding and maintain schedule. And… don’t forget to refuel and enjoy!

The longer the trip, the more you will need to make adjustments – to the car, itinerary or passengers. And when this happens, my advice is to concentrate on the future usefulness of needed changes. If you want to stay one step ahead of (real!) competitors you should get comfortable with an anticyclical approach. Romanians have a saying for this – responsible people build sleigh in the summer and carriage during winter.

In times of profits flowing and markets growing you may want to invest in expensive ‘hard’ components and content design while maintaining all the rest. In times of difficult survival and shrinking demand you should direct your scarce resources to ‘soft’ skills and awareness (including loyalty of best people!) while maintaining all the rest. Never forget that driving under difficult conditions requires the best set of skills and the most feasible (not fast!) car for survival. You should use hardship periods to unload unnecessary burden, but make sure you don’t lose top performance drivers in the process.

If you distribute your management priorities around those four pillars in an anticyclical and forward-looking manner, you will notice that your team members will start self-investing in their own upgrade to generate better content, to the benefit of the entire system.

Finally, even if you are not yet a team manager, you may find that the same logic can be applied to everything important in life, both in terms of personal and professional accomplishment. It helps turning dreams into plans and executing them without losing focus.

I know this is no easy challenge, because anticyclical approach actually requires abilities to understand the past and see the present as it is, with the purpose of anticipating the future. Which is actually the topic of the next episode…


  1. Frank Acland

    From everything I have learned, including from recent information, it seems the e-cat works very well indeed. I think Andrea Rossi has made some exceptional progress with his impossible invention. I expect that the experimental data presented in the recent Gullstrom/Rossi paper will be confirmed if Rossi does his long-promised presentation.

    1. Yes, I am also sure that if Rossi does his demonstration, then his 'experimental data will be confirmed'. If it didn't then you can be sure the demonstration will be put off until such time as a demonstration can be concocted which does look like it confirms the experimental data.
      I base this on all previous demonstrations. They all appeared to confirm the claims, but history shows, appearances can be deceiving.
      On that basis the demonstration will be meaningless unless an independent third party test can be done to confirm the claims, but that always seems to be a problem doesn't it? Will this time be different? I very much doubt it.

      I'm still wondering what happened to the partnership with the previously announced marvelous Swedish team which saw the demonstration in about Feb 2016, supposedly to herald in a great new partnership to begin production in Sweden. You know,.. robot factories and all the usual stuff? So far, more than another year later, not a whisper. And no robotic factories in Sweden pumping out Quackecat x's.
      Oh well, next year maybe?

      Mr Rossi must be accumulating a veritable treasure chest of fabulous new technologies, all perfected and waiting for production while he chases the perfection of the next variant of the same technology.

      Another year,. another year,. and always the wait for the next shiny new thing. And at the end of each wait it is always, well so far,. nothing! Not one working product on the market. Not even one truly third party, convincingly reliable test on any of the various versions.

      Apparently, this time it really is shiny, so I guess that will be worth seeing just for the spectacle of it.
      "Shine on you Crazy Diamond", as the song goes.

  2. JPR
    March 27, 2017 at 5:49 AM

    Andrea Rossi
    March 27, 2017 at 7:17 AM
    We continue to be in good standing.
    Warm Regards,