Every Friday, I"ll answer two or three management questions submitted through the "Ask Lisa"?? link found on my blog and on my website. This week I will address two questions offered this week. If you would like to submit a management question for future Friday posts, click here.
QUESTION: I found your Covey 8th Habit posts interesting. What’s the role of management in the era of the Knowledge Worker?
ANSWER: Great management will always be needed. While the specific actions and practices might change, the fundamental function will stay the same. What’s the funadental function of management, you ask?
1. To facilitate the forward movement of work.
2. To enable teams and departments to do their best work.
3. To make a positive difference to the business (beyond what would occur without management).
4. To provide a link to and from corporate strategy and task implementation. And to realign work when strategies change.
5. To generate new ideas, identify opportunities, and to solve business problems (or to facilitate others to do these things).
6. To shelter workers from unreasonable execs (only kidding, sorta).
7. To represent the business well.
In the knowledge worker organization, these things are all still needed. How these things are accomplished might change. As managers, we should be moving away from any remaining practices based on control and adopt practices that tap into choice and intrinsic motivation.
I think management jobs will be even more interesting and meaningful as we move in the direction of the knowledge worker organization.
QUESTION: Why do management training classes cost so much?
ANSWER: Short answer – Because they can.
Long answer: It is wise to assess value when determining which training classes you want to attend. In general, I think you get what you pay for. Be wary of the $99 all day seminars that pack in 500-1000 people. They are OK, and worth about what you pay.
The benefit of the better higher-end training sessions often goes beyond the course material. The people you will meet and learn from are generally of a higher caliber. In addition, the facilities and materials are more desireable – nice hotels or resorts aren’t cheap! I remember attending Covey Leadership Week about 10 years ago at Sundance. What a great experience! Not cheap.
I know it can be tough to get approval for a $4,000 course. If you work for a small to medium sized company, it does not hurt to approach the training provider and ask for a discount. To justify the costs, offer to share what you learn with peers when you return from the training. This approach will offer a double benefit – more people learn and your learning will be heightened by coaching others (Covey’s each-teach philosophy).
I choke at some of the prices being charged, too. I also stay FAR AWAY from most “training mill” courses for $99 or $199 unless I know and respect the provider.
Want to get a bigger bang for your training buck? Here is my advice. Contact authors or your favorite books and invite them to come speak at your company. Most authors love to do this and plan such activities as part of their book promotion. If you can be flexible, you might be able to save on travel costs by booking them when they are in your area. Have a meager budget? Try online sessions with the author using Webex, Net Meeting, or similar.
You may not be able to book the rock stars of business books like Covey or Peters, but you will find most other authors happy to chat with you about the possibilities (present company included).
Regardless of your approach to training, the important thing is to keep engaging and learning!