Hi Mark & Mike,

As a spring chicken, I sometimes become disheartned by my lack of experience as a manager (FYI 3 years total) :oops: .
It seems (at times) that everyone has 5 years exp in this and 10 years exp in that...

So my question is, how did you become such great managers and go on to be IMHO the best podcasters around?

I'll assume you weren't born this way (although I cant be sure), I'm sure your stories would be well received amongst this community.

Sydney, Australia

ctomasi's picture


Don't be disheartened. You're not alone. Nobody is the expert at everything.

I have less experience at this than you (1yr) and can completely sympathize with your situation.

Learn, learn, learn... Learn from experience. Learn from M&M. Learn from feedback. Any opportunity to improve yourself, do it.

Don't be down on yourself... Horstman's Seventh Law "How you feel is your fault". Choose a positive spin whenever possible.


mpolino's picture
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I'm jealous Aimee! With everything we've learned in here, many of would like to go back 10 years and start applying all this stuff. You get to do it early in your career. Pretty soon, people will start wondering how you learned all this stuff with only a few years under your belt. You'll look like a genius!

Mark Polino

Mark's picture
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Thanks for the kind words. We're thrilled with how much value you're able to get from our work. YOU are the reason we're doing this.

Mike and I have some similarities in our backgrounds, and some similarities. We actually did a cast on this a year and a half ago... The Cast About Us, I think it was called.

Brief history: we're both West Pointers, and all bragging aside, NOBODY graduates from college with as much leadership and management experience as "grads" do (Academy graduates refer to each others as "grads.") And, just to be clear, whatever you've heard about the military style of leadership is likely wrong.... we're taught to love our teams, and care for them, and know them well, and know our jobs well enough to teach our replacements long before it's needed... because it may be needed all of a sudden. I'm still in touch with many of my soldiers, 20 years later.

I spent 5 years in the Army, Mike spent 8. He became a manager in the IT space, and rose to senior positions with MCI and Verizon. He recently turned down a CIO position to form Manager Tools with me. He is a gifted manager, much more so than most listeners realize, because I'm the mouthpiece right now. He's decidedly better at than me ( he and I will both admit it), but I just happen to have been talking about it longer.

I was in sales at Procter & Gamble (one of my great choices), and was a recruiter before starting my management consulting practice. I have been coaching managers and leaders (and that in itself makes one a much better manager) for years, and that luckily makes me good at [b]talking about [/b] management.

We're both approaching 50 years old, and that brings to mind the great quote by Bolivar, I think: "Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment." That implies accurately that Mike and I have made lots of management mistakes. Tom Watson Jr. (Legendary IBM CEO) said, "if you want to double your success rate, double your failure rate."

So, we're lucky to have managed a long time, and to have made lots of mistakes, and had lots of successes. We care deeply about it because we believe it is the most underutilized lever in the business equation today (and we like to win), and we care about people.

(And we don't like to talk about ourselves, so that will have to do for now.)

It's not just a line: [b]it is a privilege to serve you all[/b]. This is the highest calling I could ask for in my professional life.


aimee's picture

mpolino, good point, I must admit that without manager tools I probably wouldnt have the position and respect I do now. MT has made me so egar to learn and develop my career, to the point that I have applied for a uni course.

Mark, very interesting... I must find that cast (just when I thought I had listened to them all)

Just to clarify, when I said 3 years total - I mean from school to now 3 years. My track record is not as sparkling as M&M... I basically started as a temp on a 6 month contract for my current employer (filing/data entry/inbound calls). Applied for a permanant position, was rejected, applied again 3 months later and got it. In March this year the company opened up a position in the project team to lead the administration and testing side of things with a team of that makes 9-10months exp in management & about half of that with the guidance of MT.

Military isn't really my cup of tea but its obviously the back bone for you guys. Thanks for sharing Mark, I understand your modesty.

Sydney, Australia