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纵使岁月流淌,世事沧桑,永远不老的依旧是我那“直挂云帆济沧海”的壮志豪情。在变幻莫测的人生路上不畏艰难险阻,感受那种超越单纯追求成功导向的快乐真乃人生幸事!虽然未来的人生路上依旧会有成功也会有失败,有快乐也会有忧伤,有顺心也会有挫折,有笑颜也会有惆怅……但我坚信:认真的人改变自己,执着的人改变命运! (特别声明:本博客崇尚原创,真诚希望爱好文学的读者常来做客,但未经本人许可严禁转载、转贴本博客文章或将本博客设置成友情链接等!本人特立独行,概不接受任何圈子的加入申请,谢绝信息推广的博客来访,敬请谅解!)

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Communication Skill  

2010-08-15 10:41:55|  分类: English Articles |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Frank Miller, a successful person who had more than 20-year working experience in the field of data management. He also kept his technical skills sharp as he was knowledgeable about Microsoft products and frequently attend Microsoft conferences. It seemed a merit for him to make a brilliant achievement in Smith Financial Corporation.

We can conclude from the chapter that Miller was respectable and expected, just because of his professional and knowledgeable experience, however, he couldn’t expand his influence by integrating his professional technical skills with factual management.

We can notice something such as followings. Why had he been terminated only after 6-month? What main mistakes did he make at last affected his demission? Which important communication elements did he lose or make badly mistake? What wrong did he do at the aspects of styles and tones? What could he have done differently to avert this fiasco? What can we learn from this case?

First of all, we’d better know the culture and history of Smith Financial Corporate and the main objective of hiring a new director of data management. We can easily find the answer that the company identify the need of a person who could come in to “shake things up” and help break some of organization’s culture habits. As a professional manager, I know one of the most difficult managements is to change members’ habits or organization’s culture habits.

Prior to 1997 Smith had already invested heavily in Lotus Notes, using the software for both E-mail and internet application. Smith also had four full-time employees devoted to Lotus Notes application development. Miller directly voiced his opinion that he opposed to use of Lotus Notes as a development and communications tool. He even spoke of the “sun setting” on Lotus Notes at Smith and recommended that Smith migrate to Microsoft Exchange during his architectural statement. His bold presentation led to the result that the lead Lotus Notes developer left Smith to pursue opportunities elsewhere. During a following E-mail exchange discussing the use of Lotus Notes for application, as we know, once we’ve examined our position as the source of a communication, we want to ensure that each conversation, memo, phone call, internet message, presentation, proposal, or report carries the maximum impact possible. Which medium will convey your message most effectively to each significant audience? We all know that “the medium is the message.” Miller selected a wrong media to send his message. He also foolishly described himself as the “thorn in your side”, which push himself to the contra of majority of his colleagues. Particularly we can notice that his style and tone just like an expert to train his subordinates, however, his communication audiences are not simply his subordinates but involve his superiors and the same managerial layer managers of other departments. At the end of E-mail, he presented the discussion could continue if somebody else disagreed with his viewpoint. One important word we’d better remember, that is “Tell them what they have to do, if you want to make enemies with them.” What Miller achieved is nothing but make much more enemies around him. Verbal and written contacts are the manager’s work. Managers must be able to communicate easily and efficiently, and they must share a vision of direction in which they wish to take their organization. If they can’t agree with reasonable precision on their agreement, they will pull in different directions and the teamwork will break down.

During Miller’s weekly staff meetings, Miller discussed with the Data management Group what he saw as wrong with the existing system. When members of staff stepped in to explain why things were done in a particular way, Miller push these comments aside as “excuses” and spoke of how he was brought in to “fix the problems”. Miller made a badly mistake of communication, he didn’t reply his colleagues’ question of “why”, however, reply “how” instead. Perhaps the question was very simple for Miller, and also he felt there was no need to reply such a simple question. As we know, the more audience members feel they have contributed to a given decision, the more likely they will cooperate in carrying it out. However strongly you feel about your point of view, it will not prevail without support from the audiences whom you need to approve and implement it. Through polling your audience at a stage of communication and, more importantly, giving them an opportunity to respond, you know what think and can tailor your message accordingly. They are more likely to feel involved in the process and committed to your goal. He lost a best opportunity which could enhance mutual understanding and exchanging between him and his colleagues. On one occasion, Mary Han needed an urgent change to resolve a critical business problem. After much discussion, Miller agreed to Han’s proposal, but in his following explanation he come up with his opinion that he allowed the change but was opposed it. It wasn’t a wise decision for Miller to make further explanation after he and Han had already reached the consensus, he lost a chance to win the respect from his same level manager.

Miller had a different option against Tom Bradley, at last, senior management sided with Miller and granted authorization for him to purchase the third-party “push technology” from Interpush. We can easily judge from the attitude of senior management that senior managers supported Miller and also expected his success more or less. During negotiations with Interpush, Miller learned that the company was in the process of being acquired by another company and that the president of Interpush was leaving to start his own business. This important information should be report to his superiors, but Miller decided that this information didn’t need to share with his superiors. In general, we should make a prudent decision when we know the company which can offer the important product to us is in the unstable state such as just in the process of acquisition. User of the product at smith found the Interpush product to be too difficult to use, after a few weeks of working with Interpush to develop a customized version of the product for Smith, and after paying the full $45,000 contract. At last Campbell made a decision that Smith had to abandon the use of this product. Bradley’s group was instead of Miller to develop the Internet application internally with assistance from a consulting resource that was brought in to work with the team. After reading the announcement sent to Miller by Campbell, he responded to Campbell and the group. From what he had mentioned in his presentation, we can’t find any self-condemned tone, however, excuses and reasons instead.

During the last two months before Miller was terminated. Miller’s situation became much awful. He had effectively alienated majority of his colleagues. Many members complained about his unprofessional communication and management while meeting with them. A number of people within the Smith IS organization left the organization and many other stated that they were prepared to leave if Miller stayed on. On one occasion, Miller and Ralph Oxford nearly engaged in a physical altercation. As we know, when we approach an audience, we are implicitly seeking trust. If even one member of our audience recognizes a factual error, we are in trouble. It would make the situation out of control that a lot of members was opposed Miller.

Let us analyze Miller’s character, we can draw a conclude that he is so  over-confident that he always insists on his opinions and hope other members should obey his viewpoints and do anything according his way. It is really a deadly shortcoming for a manager.

The following four approaches we can acquire from the book of management communication. Use the tell approach when we are in complete command of necessary authority and information. Use the sell approach when we’re in command of information, but our audience retains the ultimate decision-making power. Use the consult approach when we’re trying to build consensus for a given course of action. Use the join approach when our point of view is one among many. What have mentioned above summarizes one words, that is “The more you control, the less you involve; the less you involve, the more you control.”

In my view of point, successful managers who are engaged in management in a new enterprise would better do the things as following. Firstly, we need to spend more time to observe the new working circumstance in order to know more details about the strengths and weaknesses of the staff, the particular corporate culture and so on; we’d better know our communication strategy and territory. We could use join approach in order to exchange opinions and feeling in the first step. And we’d better think about the following problems. How can you become a credible and effective source? Does it conflict with other goals of equal or greater importance? How are you or others going to gauge the risks and reap the benefits? How, in short, will you measure success? Secondly, it is most important for us to learn more about our staff’s problems by the efficient communication tool of listening, asking and opinion exchange etc. We could use join and consult approaches in the second step.  We’d better define your audience. What will move them to support you? Is their attitude toward you proposal positive, neutral, or negative? How are they likely to perceive you? Last of all, we can voice our opinions after we had made full preparations. We could use sell approach in the third step. The essential mistake we’d better avoid is we can’t regard ourselves as experts even if we really specialize in some aspects such as technologies, techniques, etc. Consider how much information they need, what doubts they’re likely to have, how your proposal will benefit them, how to make your message convincing and memorable, and how your points can be organized most persuasively. We’d better maintain a low gesture in the first three months. We’d better prudently use tell approach, especially avoid using tell approach over our superiors or the colleagues who stay the same layer in the corporate hierarchy or the subordinates of other departments.

 Written By Fish in Ocean Wave

 Aug. 15

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