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Hands-on. Hands-off. Staying a creator.

Hands-on. Hands-off. Staying a creator.

04/01/24

It's surprising that many (a lot many) managers find themselves JUST managing projects & people. I wrote a bit about this topic here a few days ago.

I mean, seriously, if you've hired people who actually know what they’re doing, why are you still hovering? Let 'em work! Let 'em breathe! Unless your real job title is 'Professional Babysitter,' then you might want to sit down for this one. Trust me, if you just focus on keeping the big picture in focus, set expectations, build processes and stop sweating the small stuff, you might actually have time to do more real work. You can read the book Gung-ho or the notes here.

If you did this part right, it'll be like having a robot floor cleaner; it's supposed to do its thing while you watch from the couch munching chips. Set up a system, fluff up the pillows of expectation, and let the machine run.

Now, what in the world do you do with all your newfound free time if you're not in back-to-back meetings that could have been emails? Well, you get to be a creator again! Because if you just sit there, you'll fossilise into part of the office furniture.

Here are 8 tips for managers who want to avoid becoming as relevant as Orkut:

  1. Create wireframes, and create really good ones. You need pen/pencil & paper. Use this method to pass on problem-solutions to your team.

  2. Customer safari. Start visiting customers. Begin with friends, move up to friends of friends, and graduate up to strangers who use your product.

  3. Listen to customer helpline calls for 30 minutes every work day. You need access to the portal and blocked time on your calendar. It’s like reality TV, but you might actually learn something useful.

  4. Read a book for what you might immediately need. E.g. working on onboarding? Read up this or this. Outline key takeaways and share as insights. Working on a chatbot? Read this book and create frameworks to share with team.

  5. Contextualise inspiration. Go through products that have something your new product feature might need. Document specific portions and share with the respective groups.

  6. Give back time by recording your feedback on Loom. Moving most feedback reviews to async will help your team go through them at ease and progress faster than spending hours in back-and-forth. It’s like ghosting but for work, and everyone will thank you for not wasting their time.

  7. Create presentations. That's usually the best way to capture your thoughts, feedback, or even evangelising the work of your team in broader groups. It's surprising, most don't know how to create good (or good looking) presentations.

  8. Build relations for the team. Sit down with your peers and enable working relationships between them and your reports.

So, stop being a professional meeting attendee and start actually doing stuff. Trust me, it’s more fun and you’ll annoy way fewer people.

© Copyright 2023, I guess.

© Copyright 2024, I guess.