• Share on Google+

Now I’ve been a manager for a full month. Boy that’s a change bigger than I’ve expected. But I love the new direction, problems and challenges.
So let’s talk about some of them.

A new calendar

The first and biggest change for me was the complete lost of control over my calendar. As an engineer I was complaining about many of the meetings I had. But at that time my job was different. Then I needed the focus time to takle the hard coding problems, the nasty bug or something similar.
But now my calendar looks completely packed. A friend of mine called it the 3-day wall you have to push through your calendar. Because everybody tries to fit a list minute meeting into a managers schedule.
But I never thought I could love it that much. Gathering all the inputs, fears and information from everyone in the team, all the other units, the customer and our new leads is awesome.

But after two weeks I realized the flip-side of all these activities. My job is to communicate all the information to the entire team. This means I have to keep better records then just my notebook. But that needs time and it’s hard to do if the calendar is packed except two half-hour slots a day.
I’ve started putting focus time into my calendar, but it’s still hard to say no to meetings. Especially if the CEO is involved, because I know his time is even more limited then mine.
But throughout the last week I managed to say no to more and more meetings. It’s the hard balance between showing face as the new guy on the one hand and deciding where I’m really needed. I even finally started to leave meetings, where I can’t produce value.

Urgent vs. important

On that same note I realized how hard it is to decide what’s urgent and what’s important. I made promises to the team and to my direct report, which I could not keep. Because I was doing urgent stuff, that was not important.
I’m also still struggling with completely delegating stuff. I sometimes still think I got time to do stuff on my own even with the new schedule … silly me.

Communicating change

Additionally I’ve learned how hard it is to communicate change. But on the same note how important it is and how rewarding, when is finally effective.
As mentioned before, we’re introducing OKR within the unit.
A quote that came to mind again during this endeavour is:

When you are tired of saying it, people are starting to hear it

— Jeff Weiner - CEO of Linkedin

Oh man, that’s so true. We have been showing our draft to the team all day. We have been mentioning it at least twice per week in meetings with the entire unit. We were approaching and talking with almost everybody who was showing only a slight interest.
I was about to think, that OKR and especially the participation from the team would not happen. Until one more meeting where we explained the method once again and where we actively requested feedback again.
Everything changed, we got a tone of feedback and I think that was the point when the team realized, that we would stick with it. From that moment, when everyone realized OKR are here to stay, everyone was thinking about their own OKR, many teams brought their OKR to us for discussion. One awesome moment.
I realized I still have been “under”-communicating the whole time. Now I know, that it takes way more than I’ve ever imagined to communicate change.

But through this effort and other activities as the unit head I think we are on the right track. I’ve gotten feedback from within the team as well as from outside of our unit, that we show that we want to bring positive change and are serious about it.

The next months will show if we can deliver and I personally hope we get more feedback that we can handle. Because only with feedback, good or bad, we know we are on track.

I’m eagerly awaiting the next months.