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« Stephen Hawking- To live in the hearts he leaves behind is not to Die. | Main | The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind »

March 22, 2018



Yep, heard this kind of thing before. Boss always complain about my plan not so good and ask to rework. I ask if he show example of a good plan. He tell me "Try harder. I will tell you when I see the right one."


Good point to ponder for managers, and people with a mentoring responsibility.

In the world of selling product or services (including consulting), often the customer does not know exactly what they want ... you're getting paid to help them figure that out. :-)


One thing about feedback. It has to be specific, relevant and timely. Vague feedback do no good.


1) Set Clear Expectations
2) Monitor Performance
3) Provide Timely Feedback


Basic PDCA already defines?


Here is an interesting dilemma: I am currently working (pro bono) with students at an international school. I act as a liaison between the school faculty, the students, and the city's science museum, where the students are working on a few volunteer projects as part of their community service requirements for H.S. graduation.
The school reps are not allowed actively to lead or manage the students, since the projects of the students must be self-initiated by themselves. The school expects that the science museum will lay down clearly defined projects, so that the students can commit and understand the requirements that they must meet. The science museum, on the other hand, is expecting the school or the students to have their own project ideas and bring their project proposals to the Science museum to be approved and supported.

The students aren't allowed to use weekday classroom hours for the projects. Moreover, the students have to take a school bus to go home everyday, at an appointed time after school, leaving them just 40min after school to do anything extra. They must use their weekend hours or vacation time to do the project work. For coming to the science museum, they also need a parent/chaperone to drive them there and back. The students are also busy with plenty of other homework and projects, not to mention social activities.

I want the students to be successful in their projects, but I should not do any work for them. On the other hand, if I leave the system to play out, laissez-faire, the logistical difficulties of face-to-face communication, the lack of clear targets or commitment to those targets, and the basic question of when & where project work gets done will be left unanswered.

I think the solution to this dilemma is what I call the "invisible hand"* to guide them toward their own, self-actuated success. The students need help in organizing their project schedules, they need someone to check whether they are on-track or not, and they need an example or model of what a good job looks like. The science museum, as a professional organization, also needs assurance that promised tasks will be completed on time. The need a back-up plan or at least advance warning when something will not happen as promised. As the liaison, my role traditionally is to facilitate communication. But also, I feel the need to provide this "invisible hand", to enable the students to do good work, and to prepare for the scenarios in which they do not deliver good work.
I think this is the essence of good management.

* Note: This is an allusion to Adam Smith's concept regarding a driving force of capitalism, but modified here to a new meaning.)

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