Success in Management: 5 golden rules that top managers must break


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Managing is like driving a car. First, you do everything the way the instructor says. It takes a while to develop your own style in the jungle of traffic lights, signs and traffic rules. But that's exactly what a top manager needs. Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®

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Matthias Kolbusa Best of HR – Berufebilder.de®Matthias Kolbusa is a strategy and change expert, entrepreneur, speaker and best-seller author.

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Peak instead of average is the goal

Because getting from A to B quickly and safely at any time is a mixture of driving technique, social skills, strength of character and personal preferences. In management it also takes a while before you can let go of the “driving instructor”. Usually there are even several: an MBA lecturer who you hang on to, a standard work on management that you devour or a mentor in the Companythat impresses one. The good thing about it: what you learn in this way usually leaves you accident-free, but not always fast.

However, if you always drive the way the driving school teaches, you will be an average driver throughout your life. Whoever manages as textbooks, ProfessorTo propagandize older and older role models becomes an average manager, has a career that is okay, and is valued as a dependable workhorse. The good thing about golden rules is that they allow a level on which you can work well.

Giving the gas instead of braking

However, as a manager, if you want to be a leader, a real leader, you have to be prepared to break the rules and know how to do it in order to maximize your success. This is also like on the road: In the driving school, you learn to brake in time, but not when it is better to go on the gas and turn the obstacle elegantly and quickly.

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If excellent management means implementing projects efficiently (fuel-efficient) at maximum speed (fast) and in excellent quality (safe and prudent), many golden rules become well-intentioned advice from which top executives must emancipate themselves. It takes courage above all else. Because golden rules are never completely wrong, they serve a security need that needs to be overcome in order to unlock all of their leadership potential.

5 golden rules that top managers must break:

Rule 1: Make sufferers involved! :

  • This is how the average does it: Whatever you want to change or develop in management: Include as many affected colleagues and employees as possible in order to have a broad base.
  • This is how the top does it: You can never please everyone anyway. Therefore, take only a few, but competent conviction duds on board, who think clearly and focused on success, who prefer to implement than to discuss and convince the other, if possible excite, but can also force to go along the path decided.

Rule 2: Specify fixed goals!

  • This is how the average does it: When you're looking at a goal, such as cutting costs by 10%, you're making it clear and asking for solutions on how to do that.
  • This is how the top does it: Fixed goals are brakes, not an accelerator pedal. Let's think about which maximum savings are possible under which conditions. Almost always more than 10 percent come out of it. The problem with targets is that, ideally, they will be achieved, but not exceeded, even though more would have been possible.

Rule 3: Give each meeting an agenda!

  • This is how the average does it: Start three hours and structure them exactly who is allowed to record which topic in which time window. So you have a clear process, which you orientate yourself and to which you can cling if necessary. And nobody can dance out of line.
  • This is how the top does it: Traditional meetings and workshops always take longer than necessary. If you want to be faster, you have to think about what is essential for clarification and decision. This is exactly what is involved in the opening of the meeting. In the episode focus exclusively on it and press on the tube. Agendas always only clarify what is being talked about. Result lists are better: they determine what needs to be decided.

Rule 4: make decisions by consensus!

  • This is how the average does it: Only decisions that are made by consensus are really viable, because only these are implemented by all involved.
  • This is how the top does it: "Who owns the decision? - Who is responsible for the result? ” You clarify that first. If you have decided on a two-thirds majority for the question of whether you want to part with less lucrative customers, all doubters have to go along. Unanimity only produces stale compromises. If someone shoots sideways afterwards, you must clarify this.

Rule 5: Plan all projects!

  • This is how the average does it: When a CRM launch, conquest of a new market or another strategic heavyweight is decided, you develop a plan that omits any eventuality. Do everything possible to hit your fixed milestones by precision landing.
  • This is how the top does it: Plans do not produce productivity but unnecessary complexity. Whoever backs up activities, plans and milestones loses sight of the goal and the necessary progress. Instead of milestones, parameters are better at measuring your progress. These are the values ​​you pursue rather than permanently managing activities that may be helpful but not really necessary. Do not be busy, but productive!

5 rules of many

Of course, these five rules are just examples of many others. A well-known chess quote is: "A good player knows the rules, a master knows the exceptions!" It takes some experience and a lot of confidence to disenchant golden rules in management and replace them with better ones. For managers who want to grow above average, this development step is without alternative.

Always remember: As a leader, you control your business, and you learn to drive properly after the driving school.


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  1. Michael

    I would just advise anyone: Make yourself independent, do your own thing. Rule break belongs to it!

  2. Marlene

    It is a pity that managers have to be stopped for breaking the rules!

  3. Berta VS

    Well, that's a bit of a negative worldview. But after all, the exciting juxtaposition of what average employees and top executives do, compliment, can still be learned a lot.

  4. Uwe G.

    Good contribution, which shows what is really important in our leadership: about breaking the rules and not being caught. This can be rated positively or negatively now.

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