Wednesday, June 14, 2023

The 5 Key Skills That Successful Managers Possess

The 5 Key Skills That Successful Managers Possess written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Dave Dodson

Dave Dodson, a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Dave Dodson. He is on the faculty of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he guides students in tactical execution. He was a McKinsey & Company consultant and left to become a serial entrepreneur, where he operated six companies as CEO or Executive Chairman. 

Dave is also the co-founder of Sanku, a company that developed the only successful technology to fortify grains with lifesaving micronutrients in rural African mills. Sanku was listed by Fast Company as one of the “Most Innovative Companies.” and named by Time Magazine’s 100 Best Inventions.

His newest book The Manager’s Handbook: Five Simple Steps to Build a Team, Stay Focused, Make Better Decisions, and Crush Your Competition; will help managers, executives, and other business leaders interested in dramatically improving their ability to lead people and inspire loyalty.

Key Takeaway:

Have you ever wondered why some people are better at getting things done than others? Dave identifies 5 skills that these individuals have mastered in order to become successful managers: team building, setting and adhering to priorities, seeking and taking advice, being a good custodian of your time, and being fanatical about quality. These skills combined with one another can be learned and practiced by anyone, regardless of their inherent attributes or personality traits. Dave emphasizes that this is a how-to manual rather than just theoretical concepts. Each chapter focuses on actionable steps where the goal is to make readers acquire and apply these skills effectively in their professional lives to become better leaders.

Questions I ask Dave Dodson:

  • [02:08] How do you define the term manager?
  • [03:27] How’d you come up with five steps that you lean on as being the critical elements?
  • [05:11] Can you mention the five skills in the compact organization?
  • [06:28] What do you feel like you’re adding new to the genre of leadership books?
  • [08:19] Can you explain this idea of hiring for outcomes and how that’s different than hiring for resume experience?
  • [09:47] Please develop the idea of curing the digital disaster.
  • [12:36] Where does a board or a mentor fit into a company’s structure or an individual’s structure?
  • [14:05] You introduce the operating plan, can you please explain that?
  • [17:51] So the fifth step is quality, how do you make quality a part of culture in organizations?
  • [19:10] How would you recommend that people make the ideas in this book stick?

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(01:03): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Dave Dodson. Dave's on the faculty of Stanford University's Graduate School of Business where he guides students in tactical execution. He was a McKinsey and Company consultant and he left to become a serial entrepreneur where he operated six companies as CEO or Executive Chairman. He's a co-founder of Sanku, a company that developed the only successful technology to fortify grains with lifesaving micronutrients in rural African mills. Sanku was listed by Fast Company as one of the most innovative companies, and named by Time magazine's 100 best inventions. We're gonna talk about his book called The Manager's Handbook: Five Simple Steps to Build a Team, Stay Focused, Make Better Decisions, and Crush Your Competition. Boy, a lot of promise in that

Dave Dodson (02:01): Good to be here.

John Jantsch (02:02): So this may seem like a really dumb question, but I think it's actually going to be helpful to hear how you actually define the term manager.

Dave Dodson (02:12): Yeah. You know, John, I struggled quite a bit with whether I should be saying entrepreneur or manager or leader and manager seems sort of vanilla, right? Yeah. But that's what most of us do every day. We're managing and one of the things I wanted to do with the manager's handbook is to take it from sort of some lofty concept down to what do you do every day Monday morning so you can get stuff done?

John Jantsch (02:33): Yeah. Cuz you're right. I mean, entrepreneurs, business owners, you know, they, they may not have manager in their title, but they wear the manager hat every day. Right.

Dave Dodson (02:42): 100%. And the biggest leap that somebody makes is not becoming a manager per se, where you've got two or three people reporting to you, but it's when you become a manager of managers because then you can't cheat anymore. You can't sort of stay up late or redo someone's work. You have to manage through the organization. And one of the magical things about it, if you learn the skills on how to manage managers, is that's completely scalable. All the way up to running the biggest companies in the world. Yeah.

John Jantsch (03:10): So, so with your McKinsey and Company credentials, you know, you had to have a framework here, right? Five simple steps, uh, to build a team. So kind of in obviously a great deal is drawn from your own experience managing companies and teams. How'd you come up with five steps that, that you lean on as being really the critical elements?

Dave Dodson (03:33): Well, first of all, I am the least likely entrepreneur. I grew up in rural Colorado. The closest town was about 300 population of 300, and we were kind of divided between farmers and ranchers. And I was on the farmer's side cuz my dad made farm equipment. My, my stepdad built houses and my two grandfathers, one ran an auto dealer and the other ran a coal mine of all things. And what links all four of these people together is all of their businesses failed. Huh. And so I should have just gone out and been a McKinsey consultant, but I didn't want to do that for whatever reason. In spite of that background, I decided to wa wanted to be an entrepreneur, and things were going well. And then the first time I really stubbed my toe hard and I was like, holy smokes, everything I do doesn't work out.

(04:22): That's when I started to look around and say, how come some people are just better at getting stuff done than other people? And that led to this three, three year search really to try to understand what is the difference. And what I quickly realized is the difference is not that people have certain attributes, they're born a certain way, they're charismatic, introvert, extrovert, but that they've mastered five skills. And I wasn't looking John for a framework when I wrote that the manager's handbook. I was just out of curiosity, and it just ended up being five skill areas that was universal. I don't care who you were, you, Oprah Winfrey, you know, Rupert Murdoch, everybody mastered these five skills. It's very interesting.

John Jantsch (04:59): And when we're gonna call them skills, I mean, there is a o obviously there's an implication that that can be learned, that can be practiced

Dave Dodson (05:25): Yeah. So for example, the first one was the ability to build a team, right? The second one was an ability to set and then adhere to priorities. One was to be able to take advice from others, be able to seek and take advice. Another was to be a good custodian of your time. And then the last one was to be fanatical about quality. So those were the five. And I, again, I didn't start out looking for five, but I ended up with those five. But then I had this predicament, John, because I didn't wanna create a PowerPoint presentation or have a academic paper now that I teach at Stanford. I wanted something that people use. And so the trick was then how do you convert this insight that I had into a practical way that people could easily acquire these skills? Yeah. And that, that was my biggest challenge, honestly. Yeah.

John Jantsch (06:09): All right. So let's dive into the first one. Team building, you know, frankly, every leadership book, every book on running a company, and it has at least a chapter

Dave Dodson (06:35): Oh my gosh. You know, I teach at the Sanford Business School, right? And every class says, you gotta build a team. You gotta, but nobody says how to do it. Right? The inside here is that act. Actually, interestingly enough, John, it was, I was watching somebody play the piano, and I was thinking about how do you learn to play the piano? And I realized, well, first you learn how to get, position your fingers over the keyboard, 88 keys. Then you learn the difference between a sharp and a flat. Then you learn what the pedals do. And I realized that you learn to play the piano because you learn a set of sub skills, you combine 'em together and you can play the piano. And I realized the same thing was true with these five skills. So in, in, to use your example about building a team, then I looked at, okay, of the people who were great at building a team, this is not about how I did things.

(07:20): I studied the best, the very best leaders for the manager's handbook. What were the characteristics or what were the, the sub-skills that they had mm-hmm.

John Jantsch (07:59): So hiring for outcomes has become a, a pretty hot topic, I think mainly because, you know, the whole quiet quitting or whatever the silly terms of, of the day are about those, that, that, I think it's changing how people think about who they hire and who they, you know, what, who needs to be doing what roles and how to keep them happy

Dave Dodson (08:26): Yeah. So I completely turned the whole notion of hiring on its head. And you start with building a scorecard, which is what is, what do you want this person to do? Not what they did, not what their credentials are, but what you want them to do. And then you hire against it. So I remember when I first started hiring, I looked at clever interview questions. So this question that I used to ask everybody is, when you close the refrigerator door, how do you know the light goes out?

(09:08): I don't care what school they went to. I don't care how old they are, I don't care what they do before. Can they drive sales by 15%, sales by 15%? And then you ask the question, well, how will I know? What are the things that I can do to determine that? And that's what you interview against. And it's a completely different way to interview. And by the way, though, in terms of insights of the book, I do this all in about 15, 20 pages. You don't need to read seven books on hiring to learn how to be good at hiring.

John Jantsch (09:32): But you could

Dave Dodson (09:50): Oh my gosh,

John Jantsch (10:00): A

Dave Dodson (10:00): Year. Wow. Today it's 30,000. 30,000 and growing John. Yeah. And all these productivity tools are just making us less productive. So we all know it's a mess out there. We all know that we read unproductive email. In fact, 50%, it's reported 50% of the email that we read, we don't think we needed to read. So we all know we have a problem. But the problem, but the issue is we wake up every morning, we do the same thing over and over again. So I didn't wanna just sort of present a problem that everybody knows, and I didn't wanna ask people to radically change how they think and how they behave and where their habits are and where their weaknesses are. So I said, you know what? I'm gonna give you seven tips. You do these seven tips and you'll save 40 minutes a day. That's it. And so that's kind of throughout the book. That's what I do, is I say, look, I'm not gonna try to change your life. I'm gonna give you seven things to do tomorrow morning that will solve this problem.

John Jantsch (10:53): Yeah, I actually just hired somebody to delete email for me. That was the solution to that one.

Dave Dodson (10:58): Well, John, I'm glad you answered my emails, at least.

John Jantsch (11:01):

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(12:27): So, so the next category is advisors. So, you know, especially since we're addressing the manager's handbook, you know, where does a board or a mentor, you know, fit into a company's structure or an individual's structure?

Dave Dodson (12:43): Yeah, you don't have to be the CEO and you don't have to have a board of directors to be really good at seeking and taking advice. And, you know, as a, as an effective manager, you wanna do two things. You wanna be able to make decisions on a timely basis, and you also wanna make right decisions. And most of the problems that day-to-day managers face are not new. Someone has already faced those problems. So the idea is to go out and create a group of advisors that you can use, either formal or informally, and then know how to use them. So what I do is, first of all, I say, here's the criteria that you look for finding an advisor. You don't let it be, don't let 'em ha happen randomly or organically. Go find those people. And then how do you use 'em?

(13:23): So, so John, I get called all the time from my former students, and I'm an investor in about a hundred companies, CEOs who call me, and usually most of the time is utterly wasted. I'll have a, I'll have a 30 minute call with someone and they'll take 27 minutes to describe the problem. So what I do is I say, here is a simple four-step process on how to have a really effective 15 minute call with an advisor where they hang up the phone and they feel like, wow, I really added value. I hope this person calls me back again. And instead of you telling stories about your problem, you hung up the phone and you thought, okay, I got my problem solved. Now I can go work on something else. Yeah,

John Jantsch (14:01): Yeah. All right. Priorities. Y you know, the thing that jumped out to me in that section is I think everybody's accepted whether they use it or not, that they need a business plan or a marketing plan. Those are kind of accepted things you introduced to something that I personally haven't heard said this way makes total sense. But I'd wonder if you could unpack the operating plan.

Dave Dodson (14:21): Yeah, so the kind of, one of the many things that I turn on its head in the Man manager's handbook is don't this whole thing about an annual budget, forget about it. That's just a crystal ball guess on what your sales are gonna be or whatever it is. What you need is an operating plan and an operating plan. You go through a process and I walk people through the process that you go through to figure out what are the two or three things that you need to work on over the following year in order to move the company forward. And one of the things that was screamed out, whether I was looking at Warren Buffett or Steve Jobs or any of the other managers, that we all look back and we say, wow, I wanna be like them. They were brutal about setting and adhering to priorities.

(15:04): And in fact, Steve Jobs has his famous quote, he was at the Apple Worldwide Conference, and he says, he said, you have to say, you have to learn to say no. And when you say that, it pisses people off, but it's the only way you can get things done. And I'm quite close to one of his former board members, Andrea Jung, and I've talked to her about Steve Job and is the myth about him being so relentless about setting priorities and having an operating plan? True. And she said, I've never met anybody who was more brutal with priorities than Steve Jobs in, in fact, Joni Ives, who I I who was his design developer, sorry, he was the chief designer for Apple. And he said that Steve Jobs would come to him almost on a daily basis and said, what have you said no to today?

John Jantsch (15:49): Yeah. And that's, you know, obviously we're talking about Apple, but I mean, down to the three person, you know, entrepreneurial, you know, venture, you're gonna get 27 emails today,

Dave Dodson (16:16): Oh, it is. And the, yeah, two insights for me is one, setting an adhering to priorities is not about not doing the things you shouldn't do. That's easy. It's supposed to, that's table stakes,

John Jantsch (17:12): Well, not to mention that it takes your eye off the ball of what they're actually got some momentum on

Dave Dodson (17:55): So nothing about the manager's handbook is about slogans or attributes or anything. It is a how to manual. So, so for example, there's a chapter on how do you find out from a practical way, how do you find out what your, how your customers view quality, literally down to what are the types of questions you should ask your customers and what types of question, what types of customers you should ask. So, so there's a chapter on how do you define quality. So it's not just a slogan, you know, let's go out there and be good to our customers. You gotta find out what matters to them. Then there's a chapter on how do you, how do you measure quality? And there's a lot of ways you measure quality that are all historical. They're, they're trailing indicators like NPS would that, well, that by the time you get a bad NPS score, John, you're already, your customers are already disappointed. So the book says, how do you find out what the leading indicators are and how your customers are feeling so they, so you create happy customers, not how you identify whether what you did worked or not. So every chapter is a how-to,

John Jantsch (18:58): So we've all read books, even books that, as you said are, you know, very, very practical, how would you know? But then we have our job, right? We read the book,

Dave Dodson (19:17): Well, I tried to write it as much as a Paint by numbers book as possible. And I had this kind of post-it note that said, write the book you wish someone handed you, you know, and then I didn't have to write it out, but when I first became a manager, so that was my watchword throughout the whole thing. Then I said, okay, how do you structure the book in a way that makes it a how to manual? So one of the big insights of the book, or one of the structures of the book is at the end of every chapter, there's a single page that just says, here are seven things, or here are 10 things. There's no gimmick. E if there's only seven, I only put seven down there

(20:02): And then the, so, so, so it's written in a way that you read it once and then you've got basically, you know, 22 little quick references. And then the last part is that, and this is the hard part, I'd written the whole book and I was sitting down with a mentor of mine, a guy who's given me a lot of guidance of Michael Porter, who's sort of the Michael Jordan of MBA professors written 19 books. And he was helping me with the book. He had read the book and he said, you know, the problem with your book is you created a checklist and people are gonna just pick the pieces that they want off of here, and they're only gonna pick the easy ones. And he said, what you actually created here was a unifying theory of execution. And he showed me that, you know, you can't, to go into things that John, you and I talked about today, you can't put together a good operating plan unless you have a good team and you can't have a good team or, and you can't execute that if you're not providing good quality, etcetera, etcetera.

(20:58): Mm-hmm.

John Jantsch (21:26): Well, Dave, we, I appreciate you taking a moment to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. You want to invite people to, to where they might find your book, uh, obviously also where they might connect with you.

Dave Dodson (21:37): Yeah, so the two really easy places go on and pre-order or Amazon pre-order. Those are, you know, the two kind of classic places to order the manager's handbook by myself, David Dodson. And easy way to reach me is through my, uh, just go on the Stanford University website.

John Jantsch (21:55): Awesome. And the book will be out, depending upon when you're listening to this show. The book will be out in mid July of 2023. So you can either pre-order or order when it's available at all your fine book sellers. So Dave, again, thanks so much for stopping by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast and hopefully we'll run into you one of these days out there on the road. Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it Co. check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That's just marketing I'd love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

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