Have you ever wondered how you can record the work of a manager and his team? Of course, it probably comes to your mind to simply set up a camera, turn on the microphones and record the work of a team in some company. However, such a recording would have at least two serious drawbacks that would eliminate the results of that recording as material for building an artificial manager.
First, the recording, even made with several cameras, would not isolate individual managerial activities. It would be like recording a video of what you do in the morning before leaving for work, but it would be difficult to discern whether you are eating breakfast, brushing your teeth or putting on a freshly worked out shirt. Everything on the screen would blend together, the image would blur, and the viewer would only know that the action of the film takes place at home in the morning.
Secondly, if the team members were in different places – offices, countries, on an airplane – and working at the same time (it’s improved to call such a team a virtual team or a distributed team), how would you record what the team members were doing? By setting up a camera and microphone for everyone? No, that would not be feasible.
Therefore, in order to record the work of a manager and a team, with any accuracy, even a small one, we need other measurement tools. A dozen years ago, when I started working on an artificial manager, I came up with a simple, if not very simple, idea – let’s make online manager tools that are also measurement tools, and therefore record what users do.
Like any simple idea, this one also required a lot of theoretical preparation and practical IT implementations to achieve the desired effect. I will write about the details of how online managerial tools work, what is the difference between a tool and a technique, and why we need these two objects (a tool is a thing and a technique is an event – remember what the world consists of according to my System of organizational terms?) in a few weeks. For now, let’s just focus on what can be measured with online management tools.
With the help of online managerial tools, you can check:
- What managerial actions are taken by team managers?
- When are particular managerial activities undertaken by team managers?
- How long do managerial activities last?
- What are the typical sequences of managerial activities undertaken by team managers?
It can be further added that the above questions do not apply only to team managers, but also to their employees. So we can have an accurate map of what, when, for how long, in what order all team members perform.
Answering the above questions and knowing about the whole team is quite a lot for the beginning of building an artificial manager. I started my idea of managerial tools by building two tools for (1) setting goals and (2) defining tasks to achieve those goals. So this was the simplest set in any manager’s suitcase. Then I expanded these tools and added eight more, which are still being developed and are used by my students for project work and managers in the training courses I conduct. You can find all these tools on the TransistorsHead.com platform http://transistorshead.com/.
There are managerial tools for 10 managerial techniques:
- goal setting,
- defining tasks,
- generating ideas,
- detailing ideas,
- designing decision-making options,
- making decisions,
- examining work motivation,
- conflict resolution,
- planning the agenda for a team meeting,
- defining the problem to be solved.
Figure 1 shows the dashboard of the TransistorsHead.com platform. If you want to try how the tools work, email me and I will send you test login credentials.
Figure 1. TransistorsHead.com online management tools dashboard.
In a few weeks, I’ll describe how the various managerial tools work, and in the next post, see what research you can do with the tools