The “Perception vs. Reality question” has been a thorn in my side for a few months now, and I’d like to get people’s (or Mike and Mark’s) thoughts on this.

"Perception" = the usual inefficient way of working & communicating that is commonplace and accepted in many businesses.

"Reality" = the better, Manager Tools way of working & communicating.

And what I mean by the “Perception vs. Reality question” applys to many of the podcasts to a varying degree, but can be illustrated by using the “Your Resume Stinks!” podcast as an example.

In “Your Resume Stinks!” Mike and Mark give many examples of how to change your resume to be better and more efficient (one page resume, etc).

The “Perception vs. Reality question” in this example would be :

If many people (including HR folks and Managers) find the MT techniques odd or unusual, why should people take their advice and change from the perceived norms (as terrible and inefficient as they may be)?

Or to put it in Manager Tools terms, while you would be right to do as suggested by Manager Tools (the “correct” way), it wouldn’t in many cases be the most effective way.

Now, please don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly agree with the methods Mike and Mark are suggesting. But in a broken and inefficient business world, aren’t we forced to a “when in Rome…” mentality?

But perhaps we can apply Manager Tools methods in some case, but how do you do that in parts of the business (where you don’t have control) that may not agree with those methods?

For example, if I were to apply Manager Tools methods when dealing with certain issues (gossip, for example), it would be in conflict with the way my manager has instructed me to do it, and/or as my peers continue to do now.

Unless you have control over your business, I don't see how we can apply the methods of many of the MT podcasts in a workplace where those methods are contrary to the (inefficient) norms.

I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

jhack's picture

 It's not either/or.  As a manager, you can do one on one's whether they're standard or not.  You can give feedback.  You can coach your team, and delegate responsibility.   Do these things, and your team will be more effective and productive.  

"Doing in Rome as the Romans do" won't get your team to outperform your peers.  If you want to promulgate mediocrity, then by all means, "go along to get along."   If you want to be better, if you want to break out of the "broken and inefficient business world" then you need to do things differently.

You don't implement Manager-Tools in parts of the organization you don't control.  That's not how it works.  You implement where you do control, get promoted, and the practices spread. 

FWIW, MT is not really focused on efficiency.  They're not against it, but their focus is effectiveness. 

As to the specifics you raise:  I can't imagine that handling gossip the way M&M recommend would be problematic in any environment.  Can you be specific about a situation where you got into trouble with your boss because of how you handled gossip?  

And the resume, yeah, that one comes up a lot.  If a recruiter tells you a company has the perfect job for you, but they want a resume in a different format, then by all means format it how they want it.  But if you want a good resume, well organized, highlighting your accomplishments, then start with the MT format.  I've never heard of or seen a rejection of a good candidate because they used that format.  I have seen candidates rejected for long rambling resumes, for resumes without accomplishments, or for spelling and grammar errors. 

If you want to be better than those around you, you have be different. 

John Hack

DPWade's picture

cflow reveals subtley that his or her work environment is on the old school side of a management environment, that should not receive a glancing blow that MT practices are universally applicable or universally accepted in all corporate environments.  Effective?, yes, acceptable? not even by a majority.

Perception vs. reality is a huge and critical topic not discussed often enough. I and plenty of competant managers I know have been victim of misperception.  It remains a "900 lb. Gorilla" out of control.

I agree jhack that aspects of the trinity can be applied in most corporate settings, but some must be done with discretion and possibly confidentiality.  I have had VP's deny and forbid O3's.  Delegation in some companies is micromanaged for content and restricted, monitored and measured unreasonably compared to others.  Coaching can be perceived as preference of one performer over another just by observing the time spent with them over the others.  We are talking about people, not machines and we have naturally defensive emotional tendencies more or less. Misperception is a default position for most.

In my experience, the culture and managerial behavior established at any company must be observed first, then, we are able to approach our jobs knowing the limits of a specific practices impact and acceptance.  We cant just blow into a new company or a different dept. and expect the entire body of work called the Trinity to be "perceived" as a good thing.


jhack's picture

It's one reality vs. another. 

Of course you need to "fit in" and understand the lay of the land before you begin any new programs / processes / whatever. 

And directly disobeying a VP who says outright that you may not meet with your people 1:1 could lead you out the door.  Frankly, under those circumstances, you should head for the door.  Find someplace that appreciates managers who work hard, try new things, and produce results.  There are a lot of such firms in the world. 

If you want make a difference, you have to be different.  Not a wild-eyed pain in everyone's posterior...but if you simply do the same thing as everyone else, you can expect the same results as everyone else. 

If the firm is making money hand over fist, and everyone loves their job and their manager, but they won't let you do 1:1's....well that's awesome.  More likely, the firm is average, or struggling, or muddling through somehow. 

Strive to be better, even if you have take a little heat for it. 

My 2 cents.

John Hack