About Us

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About Us

Manager Tools produces two free weekly podcasts designed to give managers and individual contributors actionable recommendations to further their careers: Manager Tools and Career Tools.

Manager Tools is focused on helping you become a more effective manager and leader. Each week we'll be talking about new tools and easy techniques you can use to help achieve your management objectives. If you're tired of a lot of management "theory" and would rather learn specific actions you can take TODAY, we think you'll enjoy the Manager Tools podcast.

Manager Tools won the People's Choice Podcast Awards in the business category in 2006, 2007 and 2009. In 2008 it also won the overall People's Choice category. The Manager Tools podcast is downloaded over 80,000 times weekly. You can find all the Manager Tools podcasts here: http://www.manager-tools.com/podcasts/manager-tools and our 'basics' casts here: http://www.manager-tools.com/manager-tools-basics.

Career Tools gives you the tools you need to accelerate your career, whether a manager or not. Career Tools follows Manager Tools' lead in giving practical, actionable guidance which you can implement today. Career Tools won the best Business Podcast at the 2010 Podcast Awards. You can find all the Career Tools podcasts here: http://www.manager-tools.com/podcasts/career-tools.

Mark Horstman and Mike Auzenne are co-founders of Manager Tools LLC, a management consulting firm. We regularly provide consultancy and training to managers in Fortune 1000 companies around the world. Both co-founders are United States Military Academy graduates (West Point) and former US Army officers. Michael Auzenne was previously a technology manager and executive, culminating in managing MCI's capital technology spending programs. Mark Horstman was a manager and executive in sales and marketing at Procter & Gamble. Mark has been coaching and training managers and executives since 1988.

With Over 400 Podcasts Available, Where Do I Start?

Manager Tools has over 400 podcasts. But if you're new, where do you start?

It's easy ... Start with the Manager Tools "Basics" — a special collection of podcasts on the essentials of effective managerial behavior. With these essentials under your belt, you'll be ready to enjoy all the Manager Tools advanced material.

Unfortunately, due the demand for our services we are not able to accept invitations for public and private speaking engagements, keynote speeches, or panel discussions

What People Say About Us

"Manager Tools helps you understand the "what", "why", "how", "when", and "who" to be a successful manager and successful in your career." Chuck Tomasi

"The advice in "Building a Network” helped me in my last job search. When I reached out to my contacts I had dozens of referrals in just two days. I felt like a whole army was out there looking with me! Following the Manager Tools guidelines helped me land a great job." Thomas Hausmann

"I have listened to each and every one of the Manager Tools podcasts. To many of them more than once. These have been hours that are very well spent, much more effective than a year filled with evenings of traditional management theory and training." Rob Hooft

"The genius of Manager Tools comes down to this: actionable behavior. Entering management feels like being blindfolded, spun in a circle a hundred times, and then released into unknown terrain as you desperately grope the halls hoping to touch something that seems like the right path. Manager Tools is a step by step instruction in how to navigate that path." Kate Genser

Hello Gents I have been listening to

Hello Gents

I have been listening to Manager Tools for about a month now and just want to thank you for taking the time to put the shows together. I really do appreciate the very high quality of your advice and the great simplicity of so much of it. In my experience, I think that it is very easy to overcomplicate things. The spoken nature of the coaching is perfectly suited to whatyou are trying to achieve.

You have spoken very briefly about the regular meetings that you think a manager should have from one-on-ones to weeekly team meetings to monthly progress meetings. I have found the advice about one-on-ones very useful and will be introducing them just after Christmas. What I am thinking about now is how I integrate them into a coherent meeting system to improve the quality of the work of my team as a whole. This would include monitoring progress towards targets, sharing information between the team and building a corporate approach to delivering our work. I think that I have picked up some of this between the lines of your podcasts but have difficulty envisioning how a whole system would hang together.

I head an organisation of around 400 people and have six direct reports. Your tools have helped me to build more effective working methods with them, but will you be saying anything about how to ensure that a manager's vision and priorities are communicated to that wider organisation. I always experience a tension between leading my team and leading the organisation.

Thanks for the shows and long may they continue!

Jim

Jim- I am not sure I understand your

Jim-

I am not sure I understand your question completely. Are you asking about how to run meetings, or which and how many meetings you should have? If you're asking about which meetings to have, it's a tough call without knowing a great deal more about your org. I CAN say that if you're at the top of a 400 person org, and you put a couple of more meetings in place after weekly O3s and staff meetings and quarterly reviews, and then your managers start doing the same, they are going to start hating meetings. My general rule is to start with just O3s, staff meetings, and monthly reviews. When you cascade that down, it ends up being plenty (on top of all the project meetings that are inevitable.)

On the other hand, we WILL be addressing "communications planning" - that's a pretty standard part of management work. Remember this to start: you don't need a whole lot of emails going out, because no one will read them. Sorry. What you need is to use staff meetings and O3s to get your messages out. And it often means saying 1 or 2 or 3 things (at most) over and over and over and over again. My rule of thumb is that when you have said something 7 times, half of your people will tell you they have heard it once.

Glad you like our efforts - it's a privilege to serve you.

Mark

Hello Mark Thanks for the reply. I

Hello Mark

Thanks for the reply. I think that my fear is exactly what you describe - I don't want to spend all of my life in meetings because I really need to be out and about in the organisation. You are absolutely right about staff hating meetings, unless they have a clear purpose and actuallly get things done. I run a prison which in addition to the staff contains 650 prisoners. Visible leadership is very important.

I really want to use the one-on-ones (O3s?) but they will add to a schedule that is already too full. I need to cut back to the essentials, which probaly means O3s, weekly team meetings and monthly performance monitoring sessions. The daily standup with my asistant is essential too. I think that I was looking for your view on what is a good meeting structure and how it can ensure that all the essentials are covered.

I meant to say last time, that in addition to the actual content of the podcasts, I really like the manner in which you both deliver it.

Thanks,

Jim

Jim- Thank you for what you do. I

Jim-

Thank you for what you do. I can only imagine how hard your job is.

Have you listened to our shows on how to run a meeting? Unless I know more about what type of meeting you're wanting to run, I don't think I can give more guidance than those shows (there are three of them, I think, and the shows are VERY detailed - everything you need to run a meeting except what should be on the agenda.

Take a listen, and then if I still haven't got it, tell me what kind of meeting and who's going to be there, purpose, etc, and I will make some recommendations.

It's a privilege to serve you,

Mark

Mark I caught up with all of the

Mark

I caught up with all of the podcasts over the past few days. I think you actually answered my question when you spoke about all the essential meetings you thought that managers should have. (Though a weekly 1.5 hour staf meeting sounds heavy).

Best wishes for the Holidays and New Year to you and Mike!

Very impressive Mark - Hope all is well

Very impressive Mark - Hope all is well and you have a great holiday.

Thanks Stacy. Merry

Thanks Stacy. Merry Christmas.

Hey Guys, I have been listening to

Hey Guys,
I have been listening to your previous podcasts now for the last couple of weeks and just wanted to say Thanks!
These tools are great and are making my life so much better.

Do you guys do on site training? We are a new company that may benefit from your expertise.
Thanks

Good morning from Australia I have

Good morning from Australia

I have been listening to your podcasts over the past few weeks. It has taken me a little while to get into them but now I really look forward to your insightful and practical comments and suggestions. I am a HR Manager and I have noted that you have conveyed your views that perhaps personnel/hr are not necessarily helpful in providing assistance to line managers on the practical aspects of managing staff. I would really appreciate a podcast at some time in the future that provides insight into your views about how HR can provide a better/more useful consultancy service to line managers and perhap for the benefit of the wider audience how line managers can manage their personnel/hr area for the purpose of ensuring they get the kinds of service they require.
Thanks for the podcasts they are really helpful.

Ros- Well, I guess I've been found

Ros-

Well, I guess I've been found out. I am sorry if my comments stung a bit. Generalizations are often clumsy. My apologies.

I have found HR, in virtually every company I have been, to be lacking in outreach, lacking in partnering/consulting skills, and acting more like a priesthood that knows what the special rules that others violate at their peril. As well, HR's sense of what it is really like is usually WAY off. I come to that conclusion knowing nothing more than it always seems HR wants something from managers, rather than bringing something to the table to make the manager's job easier.

I would LOVE to do an HR consultancy 'cast, and because I've shot my mouth off, I will commit to you that we will, this year.

I would love to hear from YOU how you see your role, how you see managers, what works and what doesn't, and lastly (trying not to be selfish), why it took you a little while to get into the shows.

Thanks for your question, and don't hesitate to keep me straight if I go too far. (I don't sense that you think that yet.)

It's a privilege to serve you,

Mark

Dear, where are the slides that

Dear, where are the slides that highlight the key points of the podcasts? I remember that in 'Effective Meeting' series you mentioned that there would be some slides on web... where can I find them? Thanks a lot!

Saileryang- Sorry we didn't make it

Saileryang-

Sorry we didn't make it intuitive! If you'll go to the link below, it will take you to a a page where the first link in the blog is to a pdf of the PowerPoint presentation.

http://www.manager-tools.com/effective-meetings-outline/

Hope this helps.

It's a privilege to serve you.

Mark

HI Mike, I am in hi-tech and I think

HI Mike,

I am in hi-tech and I think you were too. If you don't mind, may (we) know, how did you get into restaurant business, after being hi level manager in hi-tech for a while?
Just curious.

M2B, Sorry for the delay in

M2B,

Sorry for the delay in responding ...

Well, the reasons I got out of tech (at least for now) and into the restaurant business were mixed ... first, I had just gone through a terribly tough time at my place of employment (Worldcom). A company I had loved (MCI) turned into something very different, the results of which have become corporate legend. Although the group I worked with was exceptional, and my boss (president of the division) was an equally exceptional leader, I wanted to stretch myself and try something different.

Although most of my career was on the tech side, I spent the last couple on the business side. In a manner very similar when I went from tech manager to executive (I went cold turkey on ALL technical reading), I wanted to really jump into understanding "business" ... I could think of no better way than to jump into business for myself (and I've ALWAYS had an entrepreneurial side). At about that time, a good friend of mine, who had previous restaurant experience, asked me if I was interested in getting involved. The timing was right, the partnership team he was assembling was impressive, and I decided to jump in.

And so here I am!

Do I miss tech? Yep! Needless to say, for a small four-restaurant chain, we have more "technology" than most our size, but it's obviously not on the scale I used to manage. Do I have an understanding of business that I never would have otherwise? ABSOLUTELY. Wanna understand Accounts Payable? Start a small business! :-) Want to know about all those thankless things HR does? Yep, start a small business. Wanna understand all the ridiculous laws, regulations, and taxes that exist (seemingly to *prevent* folks from starting a business), go start a new business.

That's it ... pretty simple really -- timing and opportunity.

Thanks for asking!

regards,
Mike

Mark, I am a BIG fan of

Mark,
I am a BIG fan of manager-tools podcast and your tips on the practicle approach to management.

I am kind of a manager, kind of a technical lead, kind of an architect for last couple of years in a software organization (managing team of 9), but I am still not out of the dilemma of whether management is the right path to take.

Listening to your podcasts, and actually implementing some of the practices (one on ones, effective meetings etc.) I am convinced that with the objective approach and the practicle help provided at manager tools, it is possible to do the job effectively.

However, in couple of your podcasts you have said that management is a boring, non sexy, routine kind of job. Now my question is then what are the motiviations for becoming a manager Or, How can one (I) decide whether this is right thing for him (me) or not ?

I am really interested to get your views on this.

Thank you very much for the best podcast show on earth for the aspiring managers
Regards,
H

could someone email me a really good

could someone email me a really good performance review template? Thanks! jimwwin@aol.com

Dear Sirs, Your podcast is superb!

Dear Sirs,

Your podcast is superb! Thanks a lot for sharing all this invaluable information for free.

I'd like to ask Mark a weird question. Why do you use a dash (and not a comma) after the name of the one you refer to in a reply? I've seen my manager do that as well, and I was wondering if there is some background to this style.

So you will start your reply using: "Nick-" instead of: "Nick,"

Regards,
Nick

Nick- A comma to me suggests the

Nick-

A comma to me suggests the continuation of a sentence (which is negated by the capitalization/paragraph usage). I've never agreed with its usage without a Dear in front of the name.

I find that commas are wildly misused lately (though I feel that way generally about virtually all punctuation, and spelling as well. I like the pause that commas suggest. Since I attempt to write the way I speak, I want them to be visual reminders of a verbal pacing.

I see posts such as this one as a note between you and I. It is less formal than a letter, and approaches, for me, a jotted note left on one's desk. Others may read it.

There is no background other than when one feels one has a firm grounding in the usage and style, one feels that one can deviate safely.

I'm sure someone could find fault with it in a purely narrow reading of Strunk and White. If that's all I'm guilty of, stylistically, I'll call it a lovely human error.

Until then, I remain yours,

Sincerely,

Mark ;-)

And, it would appear, I cannot rid

And, it would appear, I cannot rid myself of the damnable habit of not closing my parenthetical insertions.

This role is a bit like having one's dressing room walled in glass. The light is lovely, but the view is often ungainly, and stones seem to abound in one's yard.

Mark

Mark and Mike- Just tuned into your

Mark and Mike-

Just tuned into your podcast series and working my way through the archive whilst on the train ride to work. Thanks for the continuing commitment from you both to provide these invaluable insights to us.

I am very much like hnene a hybrid management (actually leading), technical role with the added dimension of handling that in a multi-cultural, multi-language environment. I am not far through the archive and you have already touched on some cultural issues. I guess there's not enough time and too many variables to have a 'cast on managing in virtual team where English is the second lanaguage where you have to try and communicate effectively???

Happy New Year, keep up the good work.

David

David- Yes, that's in our plans for

David-

Yes, that's in our plans for a future cast.

A big part of the solution is for you to learn their language.

Mark

Mark, In one of the podcasts you

Mark,

In one of the podcasts you said "I don't understand why do people watch TV". How would you see a manager-tools manager spend evening. Couple of things I can guess are are (a) spend some time with family (b)read HBR or something of that sort.

I would like to know your list.

Mark and Mike- This is one of the

Mark and Mike-

This is one of the best podcasts I've ever heard. Even the mistakes are instructive! (And I don't know if you really plan this kind of thing, but it's interesting to listen to the episodes where Mike's daughter interrupts, and he takes time away from the podcast. It's a nice object lesson on the value of family over work.) Great theme music, incredible content, repetition, repetition, repetition, ... and always a concern for value to the listeners, even when you're ill.

I'm not a manager, and I don't want to be one when I grow up (tried it; it's not me), but I'm finding this to be invaluable business training in general, and fantastic advice for how to have a better working relationship with my manager (and the layers above him). I'll be recommending you to colleagues.

Thanks for all you do.

Lee

intial

intial registration.

Mike and Mark, I am an IT Director

Mike and Mark,

I am an IT Director and I continue to try to learn. I start a new podcast at the beginning, if I can. I just finished listening to your 6th episode. I went out and purchased 10 MP3 players and have loaded your entire podcast history on them. I will be giving these MP3 players out to my managers and the up & coming leaders who work for me. A very inexpensive investment in improving our organization.

Thank you for the excellent educational opportunity.

John

Just got an iPOD and because I'm nearly

Just got an iPOD and because I'm nearly 50 I decided I needed a grown up reason to use it. I am glad I did so because although I have a bit of a nightmare in deciding on which of your fantastic backlog to listen to next -it's always worthwhile.

Today I listened to "thank you" letters. So simple and obvious but so very useful.
I love the hands-on style -very real and useful.

John- Thanks for the kind words.

John-

Thanks for the kind words. We'd appreciate it if you'd ask those folks to come register when you give them the Ipods...our license is for your personal use only. We try not to prohibit sharing, but our lawyers are always reminding us of the slippery slope.

Mark

I learned about Manager Tools thru

I learned about Manager Tools thru iTunes Podcasts. I listed to a few and have been hooked ever since. I checked out the website and it has a lot of great information on it. However, I didn't see anything on "Monthly Status Reports". Can you guys do something on Monthly Status Reports? Templates, What's the type of info that should be going into them, etc...

Thanks
-Jim

Dear Mike and Mark, I just returned

Dear Mike and Mark,

I just returned from a three day management training seminar at my company. The seminar was great, since I got to meet a lot of other managers at my company. My network has expanded as a result.

The content of the seminar was a bore. I already knew how to give great feedback, the importance of having one-on-ones, how to set goals, how to coach my direct reports and every other thing there was on the agenda. Not only did I know how to do it – I have done it. Both my insights and my experience are in large part due to your actionable weekly (and monthly) podcasts.

I truly am a better manager due to your efforts.

Thanks!

/Dann (from Denmark)

Dann- Thanks for the kind words.

Dann-

Thanks for the kind words. Glad we're helping!

And, SMART move in expanding your network. If you have to go, might as well maximize value.

Mark

Mark and Mike, I am your die-hard

Mark and Mike,

I am your die-hard listener. I really enjoy your podcasts. Now I am considering to upgrade my membership.

I am originally from China. I am wondering how to introduce these great materials to Chinese managers. However, English, for them, is a barrier to listen to your podcasts. So is it possible to release your podcasts in Chinese under a certain license. For example, as the first step, a Chinese transcript of your podcast is very helpful to Chinese managers and leaders. Then, we can play it in Chinese.

I would like to volunteer to translate your podcasts into Chinese.

Thanks!

Mark and Mike I just discovered your

Mark and Mike
I just discovered your podcast. Thank YOU! I have been a Manager for 2 years (government) and there has been lots of vague training on leadership and visions and values, but no one told me how to DO management. Your organized, step by step podcasts are exactly what I need.

Colleen