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Manager’s guide for a new manager: How to quickly learn the workings of your new team?


classic-booksOne of my friend headed the quality function at a medium-sized durable goods company. And once he got a job offer as a general manager in one of its largest plant, he jumped on the opportunity. After briefly examining the new plant, he declared it outdated and went on to rebuild it from ground up. But while doing this, he neglected the importance of understanding the current processes, and interpreted employee’s silence as agreement. No wonder, his idea was not accepted positively. And soon after the new plan was put in place, productivity plummeted and quality suffered.

In order for you to not repeat this mistake, you need to first try to learn the existing operations of the team, strengthen your relationships with the team members, and then try to make changes to the process. In this blog, I will provide you with few tips through which you can accelerate your learning process about the current processes/procedure of your team.

Ask your people: The simplest method to learn the workings of your new team is to ask your people. You would be surprised by knowing how much of the knowledge your new team has to share. Don’t be afraid of looking foolish, while asking very basic questions to your team. I would recommend you to ask these questions during your one-on-one session with your employees. In this way, you will still get the information that you need, without getting embarrassed in front of many people (if you ask any foolish questions).

Train yourself: Another method to quickly familiarize yourself with the existing processes of your new team is to treat yourself like a new employee. I would recommend you to have few days allocated solely to train yourself. During these days, you should work with your team as if you were a new employee joining the team, and tell them to run the show. By doing this, you will not only learn the existing processes of your team but you will also earn the trust of your team by showing them you care about them. Worst come worst, you will be in the position to define the training guide for the new employee joining your team.

Learn from documents: If I were you, I would invest some good amount of time going through all the documentation of the team before I ask someone. In this way, you can learn about the workings of your team without looking foolish in front of someone. This will also give you an opportunity to familiarize yourself with the document standards of your new team, so that you can follow these standards while changing the documentation, if you choose to change the existing process.

I hope, this blog helps you to accelerate your learning process while understanding the workings of your newly acquired team. If you were in the similar situation like my friend, what would you have done?

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

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Posted by on March 22, 2013 in 21st Century, Leadership, Management

 

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Make your part-time MBA work for you


Have you currently graduated from a part-time MBA program? Do you find it difficult to capitalize on your MBA? Well……you are not alone. Recently, one of my colleague, who has finished her part-time MBA, asked me similar questions. Though she has finished her part-time MBA, she was not recognizing any benefits from it. While I don’t have magical solution to make your MBA work, I have few suggestions which can help you.

Communicate with your manager:

GenerationXIf you are like me, and if you are also working on your MBA while working full-time, then you should communicate your intentions to your manager before you even think of starting the program.

Some of you might be hesitant to share this knowledge with your manager, since you might be afraid to see the reaction from your manager. While some managers will see this communication as an effort from your side to change your existing job, 90% of the manager see this as a potential growth opportunity for their employees.

What can happen here? Either your manager will be impressed by your initiative of pursuing further education to help towards your job, or he will just neglect your entire conversation. Well……you don’t have anything to loose here. But if you don’t have this conversation with your Boss, then you have everything to lose.

I remembered, when I had this conversation with my boss…..he was not only impressed by my decision to improve my knowledge, but he also took the initiative to find out more information regarding the tuition reimbursement program in my company. As a result, I ended up paying only 30% of my total tuition cost for the entire program.

Implement your learning at work: 

Most of the people who pursue their part-time MBA want to get a head in their existing job, so that they can get promoted to the next level. Though the idea behind this thought process is very nice, they lose their focus in middle of the program.

I have seen numerous MBA students, who get busy in their day-to-day coursework that they forget to implement their learning at their workplace. Thus, at the end of their MBA program, they have this knowledge which they can’t apply to their existing job, and hence think of changing their job instead of growing within the same company.

By implementing your learning at your current workplace, you will not only practice your knowledge and get better at it, you will also increase your visibility within your peers. Imagine, if you are working in software company as a software developer and going for your MBA in finance. Though these two subjects are completely different, you can still use your finance knowledge to assess the business impact of your new project. Wouldn’t you look more prepared when you are presenting your next development idea to your VP, and providing him with all the stats on how this project will help the organization to succeed?

Thus, you should always try to find opportunities where you can practice your MBA learning at your work place.

I hope these examples were helpful to uncover the full potential of your part-time MBA program. In the meanwhile, if you have any other ideas through which you can make your part-time MBA work for you, then please feel free to share those here.

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
 

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Why part-time MBA is more worth than a full-time MBA?


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This is a long lasting debate. Some people prefer to do a full-time MBA as compared to a part-time MBA. Though you can’t say which one is better over another with utmost certainty, I would recommend part-time MBA for working professionals as compared to a full-time MBA. Obviously, there are various reasons why you want to do a part-time MBA, but some of the primary reasons are as follows:

Cost savings: Unless you got accepted to an Ivey League University for your full-time MBA, I would recommend you to do your part-time MBA from some local University. It will save you some tremendous amount of money. Let’s say, if you were to do your full-time MBA from some University. In that case, you had to quit your job for couple of years. Let’s say, you are earning $50,000/year right now. That means, you are losing $100,000 in two years of your education period, because you won’t be working full-time during that time. In addition to your loss of income, you have to pay for the tuition from your own pocket, which might be anywhere between $50,000 to $200,000. In short, you would be losing on an average around $150,000 ($100,000 + $50,000) during these 2 years of your full-time MBA. Let’s say, you somehow magically find a job in this economy with your full-time MBA, which pays you $15,000 more than your previous salary, then also you will take at least 10-15 years to cover that cost. Isn’t that right?

Minimal risk: Other than the huge cost savings, part-time MBA comes with other additional advantages. And one of the most important advantage is – minimal risk. If you are a working professional, then chances are …… your current employer might be covering partial or full cost for the entire program. Thus, you don’t have to come up with the tuition amount from your pocket. Let’s say, you started your program and in the middle of it, you somehow didn’t end up liking it. In that case, you can just quit, since you haven’t invested much of your personal money in this initiative. In addition to this, you don’t have to spend much time studying for GMAT or GRE, since most of the part-time programs (like Harvard Extension School) offer few classes as Grad Special, and if you perform well in those classes then you get to enter in to the program without giving your standardize tests. This will ensure that you like the program before you actually get admitted in to one, unlike the full-time MBA program.

Understand the other side: When I first thought of doing my MBA, I wanted to do it to understand what my Boss does. Being from a technical background, I always had a problem understanding the strategic decisions taken by my company. I was much more involved in the technology as compared to the business behind it. My part-time MBA provided me with the opportunity to understand the business perspective better. I am not saying that I couldn’t have learned the same thing through full-time MBA, but if I were in the full-time MBA program, then I wouldn’t have the opportunity to connect this learning to the current work environment. Most of the times, I would learn something from my MBA classes, and I was able to directly apply that learning at my work place. And that has helped me retain approximately 60% of my concepts, which I wouldn’t have otherwise remembered due to lack of practice. And maybe, this is the key reason why one should prefer part-time MBA over full-time program.

I hope these tips will help to choose between full-time and part-time MBA program. Do you have any other reasons due to which you would prefer a part-time MBA program over a full-time option?

Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.

 
 

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