Terri Griffith in her book The Plugged-In Manager describes an easy-to-understand framework for plugging in, explained through three core practices:
- Stop-Look-Listen: What does your data say? What do you already know that will help you with this project?
- Mixing: How do you balance your available resources?
- Sharing: How can you achieve better results by integrating your choices with other team members?
Joe: Can you summarize for me what a Plugged-In Manager is and why are they different?
Terri Griffith: A Plugged-In Manager is someone with the discipline to sit back before they make a move and look across three dimensions they’re always going to think about the people, whom I have access to, what do they know, what are their motivations. Think about the technology tools they have or access to but they’re also going to be thinking. OK, given the people I have, how much training might I need to use that particular tool? Are they ready for that one or we going to have to do something else? How is this going to fit into the organizational practice piece? Is it going to be something that people are concerned about? Is it going to be something that has political issues? Is it going to flow easily in the practices we already have or is this going to require a shift in some of our organizational practices and how much trouble is that going to be and so, how am I going to set the dials? Plugged-in managers are always thinking about how might I adjust those dials across those three dimensions in a way that’s going to make them just work together a little bit better.
They’re looking for that support across the three dimensions, and they’re thinking about how I am going to mix them together in some really nice way and then the most plugged-in managers are then also thinking aloud so other people can see them go through this process. They’re engaging other folks; maybe again they’re an expert in the technology side or the leadership side. So they’re going in and getting their counterpart to help them out a little bit, and they’re sharing this so that the whole organization can benefit in the long run. When I find a plugged-in manager, it’s someone who in describing something they did, is going to hit on those three dimensions, and it’s going to tell me about the decision process they went through to get into the solution that they found.
That’s how I scan blogs; I scan books; I talk to people at conferences about, who do you know, who has shown this ability and can you give me an example of where it worked out either well for them or not so well or show me a failure and was that failure because they only were trying to manage with one of the three dimensions.
Joe: It sounds very close to that role in Lean of servant leadership that we were looking at how to manage your resources for my team to make it all work.
Terri: Completely agree. I think we’re kind of doing a shared mind thing here.