23 September 2017
Mark Cheng

Mark Cheng

Mark Cheng - Boutique Advisory Firm

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Lessons in Micromanagement

10 June 2016  |  7088 views  |  0


One wonders ...

  • How much management-over-management is truly necessary for best-in-class execution?
  • What does "Train-the-Trainer" really entail? 
  • Which are ideal ways to streamline communications down to "say once retain forever"?
  • When can we differentiate Management with Micromanagement against Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)?

Each day we witness how organizations employ (or deploy rather) mid-management resources to observe line operations running in many different directions -- some being in parallel while others completely disjointed. As an example, the idea of Transformation vs. Business-As-Usual (concocted "BAU") in its various forms of Change Management is intended to be, at the end of the day, a control mechanism program over constant stages of unclear operational flux. While material degrees of change exist in direct correlation to dynamic phases in requirement transformation, the amount of quality monitoring upon execution on the other hand runs inversely proportional to stabilized BAU expectation run-rate. By managing all aspects of qualitative and quantitative change along the entire life cycle, teams progress with confidence by actively ensuring every level of macro / micro quality control metrics both from a bottom-up and top-down approach as aligned to properly identified hierarchical governance model, one which mobilizes high-performing teams to collaborate in tandem while facing-off to other high-performing business stakeholders and their subordinates alike. In this hyper-transformational age of execution-focused global commerce, this method of management actually forms the philosophical core at many institutions to which for some, for lack of a better word, translates to "Micromanagement."

Despite having value-added benefits from a historical organizational development perspective, dating back to the era of manufacturing excellence and later the dotcom era of innovation, micromanagement as an approach carries a "different strokes for different folks" flavor for many. While some folks simply follow their marching orders throughout each day, the term "micromanage" itself resonates varying degrees of negative undertones for the majority.

One may draw up visual images of a dictatorial boss who does nothing but tick and tie tasks over and over again. Or, a mental image of global teams who delegate task ownership to subgroups of peer members on the same team day-in and day-out. Or, even worse, resources delegate to unrelated teams only to re-socialize and reset session after session. Truth is, whatever these images may form for the average professional, it is for certain that micromanagement does not conjure up positive imagery, nor do people want to be micromanaged by others -- who are often at the mercy of being micromanaged themselves.

To ensure true high-performing teams at the project level, a close and streamlined community of decision makers must be formed up-front. Working groups who lead working sessions must move processes forward in true linear form, or as much as realistically possible so transparency and clarity is not lost along the way. Team communication and resource feedback must be relevant and with optimal quality, so that by the time the '360 view' comes back full circle nothing is lost in translation. Execution metrics must be meaningful action-based measurable items vs. a list of administrative level task updates. Lastly, management methods need to designed to incentivize high-performing teams by giving credit to creativity, ideation, collaborative work, and exposure to stakeholder recognition. While issues and risks are equally escalated, so must achievements and accomplishments on milestones. Management methods should aim to monitor actual output vs. the myopic processes over the broader timeline. 


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job title Managing Consultant
location New York City
member since 2015
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Mark is an Managing Consultant at a boutique Advisory firm concentrating in Risk, Compliance, Regulatory Change, and Finance Transformation. Mark serves within Capital Markets, Bank Holding Companies,...

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