The EMyth Perspective
Michael Gerber in his book "The Emyth Manager," believes that "the role of the manager is to engage with the present in a fully enlightened manner while inventing the future."
He believes this is done not through managing people but can only be done through developing a system of processes over which you can exercise control. You manage the process or system (your management strategy) to keep it, improve it and rally your troops around it.
His system has 3 parts: innovation, quantification and orchestration.
Innovation is the ability to create what could be - but this is only possible if you have a picture in mind of the result - your vision or strategic objective. He believes that every manager should treat the organisation as a small business and think of themselves as small business owners.
So, as a "small business owner," where are you aimed? What is it you intend to do? Is your "business" - the way you've set it up, the way you're managing the process - poised to take you there?
In order to implement the 2nd part of system i.e. quantification effectively, you also need to understand why you're doing what you're doing and for whom. This is because everything you do in your business produces some sort of result - not just an end result but a series of results along the way which need to be understood, interpreted and recreated i.e. quantified.
Quantification - truly knowing the numbers (quantities, time periods, measures, and sets of conditions) that you can record and recall in relationship to the results of the same process, the same event performed at a later date, is critical if innovation is to have any relevance to the results you produce. That relationship between one event and another and a string of events that follow the same action is what Gerber calls quantification.
The 3rd component of his management strategy is orchestration i.e. the organisation of work into replicable systems so that the results you intend to produce are the results you actually produce, as often as you wish to produce them, exactly as you wish to produce them. Although this may seem to fly in the face of the belief that people are our most important asset, he is not saying that people are unimportant, but that how people produce results must be identified and then repeated if any organisation is to leverage itself and its people over time.
He argues that leverage comes from understanding and developing the processes through which people produce extraordinary results, because this will produce much greater returns on investment than any one person can. Orchestration takes the heat off people because it places the attention instead on the way we work rather than who is doing the work.
If these are fairly new concepts to you, do you have the interest in looking at your work from the EMyth Manager perspective? If so then you need to pay attention to all the processes and systems at work - What opportunities are there to innovate what you do? How can you quantify the impact of that innovation? How can you orchestrate it into a system, a series of processes that you can teach to people significantly less skilled than you? Until you can do this, your job will always be dependent on you.
Maybe your starting point should be "what do I know?" and "what don't I know?" These might be the better questions to open the door to this 3 step process.