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We are a web design firm. Our in-house skill-sets includes design, marketing strategy and project/client management - which means we use a variety of contract web developers to produce the work for our clients.

We work with dedicated and talented technical folks all who all seem to have no regard for deadlines, communication, clients or budgets ... They seem to have no ability or desire to switch perspective and look at the big picture on a project. To them, it just needs to be done correctly at all costs.

To a manager it looks like there is a lack of regard for everything except for the work itself. I can't tell you how many times a developer has completed a task for me without ever communicating that it was done. To a manager it sometimes feels like arrogance. I've tried expressing my frustration, giving feedback, holding back , sending them chocolate cakes ... nothing seems to impact the situation.

So, any pointers for the High-D / High-I in managing the High-C developer?

US101's picture

vervec - have you reviewed the "Be More Effective with DiSC" document that Mark created? It's in the registered members casts. In it Mark explains how to tailor your management style to a High-C.

bflynn's picture

[quote="vervec"]We are a web design firm. Our in-house skill-sets includes design, marketing strategy and project/client management - which means we use a variety of contract web developers to produce the work for our clients.

We work with dedicated and talented technical folks all who all seem to have no regard for deadlines, communication, clients or budgets ... They seem to have no ability or desire to switch perspective and look at the big picture on a project. To them, it just needs to be done correctly at all costs.

To a manager it looks like there is a lack of regard for everything except for the work itself. I can't tell you how many times a developer has completed a task for me without ever communicating that it was done. To a manager it sometimes feels like arrogance. I've tried expressing my frustration, giving feedback, holding back , sending them chocolate cakes ... nothing seems to impact the situation.

So, any pointers for the High-D / High-I in managing the High-C developer?[/quote]

Bait the hook to please the fish. Do your developers care about your frustration, feedback or chocolate cake? When you talk to them about what YOU care about, you're being ineffective. What I'd suggest is to focus on what the developers care about; doing the job right.

One point that I've used in the past is to teach the developers that being late is incorrectablly wrong. Being on time and wrong is correctable. But its still best to be on time and right.

The same logic extends to communciations. Make sure that your developers understand all the requirements to have it right. If they're going to be late and don't tell you - its wrong. Code finished and not delivered is exactly the same as not even worked on or "worked on and all wrong".

Check out the 5 podcasts on the DISC model and see if they make sense.

Brian

Mark's picture

Mike-

First, make sure they really are high C's. Give yourself a fresh start and a fresh set of eyes, and pay attention to behaviors, and emails, and voicemails, and the like.

Then, I do think it's almost as simple as the other posts have suggested. We've got a document posted that specifically tells you how to manage High C's, what they want, and what to look for when working with them.

It worries me a little that you have "done everything"... that probably is seen as craziness and lack of preparation and lack of systemic thinking on their part. A steady diet of feedback, escalating as necessary, never wavering, with consequences that will get their attention... that's what I think the solution is. Systemic feedback is probably in the offing... but you won't know that until you get there.

Keep us posted.

pneuhardt's picture

Mike,

I am a high-I/high-D person managing technical teams including high-C developers. I would say that Mark's advice about constant feedback and the imposition of consequences should requirements not be met are the keys.

Even the worst high-C's I've known have always responded to the following:

1. Make expectations clear.

2. Make deadlines clear and enforce them. "It wasn't right yet" cannot be an excuse. If you allow that, then you are enabling their bad behaviour.

3. The theme needs to be that "perfection is unatainable, but there is 'good enough' and that is our goal." Make sure that you emphasize that 'good enough' is still a very high bar in your organization.

4. Keep them as informed as reasonable on the impact of their work. It helps anyone to know that their work is having an positive impact, but the high-Cs I've known in the past are often soothed to find that their imperfect work still produces good results when released in to the real world.

5. They may be pains at times, but would you rather have someone with the goal of perfection of the goal of just getting by? When giving them feedback, express how you understand and even admire their quest for excellence, but then direct the conversation to the definition of excellence your organization needs, not what they imagine it to be.

6. You aren't going to change them, so learn to live with their perpetual grousing that things aren't being done right. If it is that big a deal to them that they achieve perfection, they will pack up and move on, hopefully to your competition. If they fail to meet the 'good enough' standard you set, then you help them pack (i.e. fire them). Otherwise, shut your door or put your iPod earbuds in and let them grumble.

Paul

TimBryce's picture

Mike -

I wrote a paper entitled "Managing Crunch Time" that may be
use to you. You can find it at:

http://www.phmainstreet.com/mba/ss050919.pdf

Hope this helps.

All the Best,