One of the new things we’ve started doing at Xero is having a biz lunch where our staff can catch up every couple of week and just talk about general business and tech stuff so we can all learn for each other. It’s a lot of fun.
A great question I got was something like: how do you get people to do what you want them too. I thought that was great question on management techniques. The normal text book stuff would use language such as empowerment, trust, goal alignment etc etc.
The reality is that an entrepreneur uses a much broader set of techniques.
To illustrate I’ll use the example of my daily interactions with our CTO Craig. I have worked with Craig for many years and he has played a key role in evolving my management techniques.
A common scenario I’ll use to illustrate is how I try to get features into the latest release of software that is almost through testing.
Here are some examples of real management techniques.
- Cajoling: This latest release is looking really good. You’ve done a great job. Why don’t we add this little extra feature since your going so well.
- Wearing down: Can you pleeeeeeeeease get this in. Pleeeeeeeease. (5 mins later) Can you pleeeeeeeeease get this in. Pleeeeeeeease. (Repeat as necessary)
- Shame: I can’t believe you’d let this version go without this vital feature I’ve just thought about
- Humiliation: Any other CTO would have easily been able to get this feature in a few short minutes - blind folded.
- Divide and conquer: Michelle (Product Manager) said that if you can get it in it’s cool from her point of view.
- Passive aggression: Fine, if you don’t think you can get it, that’s OK with me. I’ll call the customer now and tell them we can’t do it.
- False pride: I’ve got a great new idea but I think it might be a bit hard to program.
- Reverse psychology: A customer came up with a great new feature idea but I’ve told them they have to wait until it’s prioritized.
- Misdirection: That feature your working on, feedback from Customers is that is now less important than this new thing they really want.
- Bait and switch: Can you just change this HTML. Oh, now you’ve changed that it’s obvious we just need to add this new feature.
- Unwilling accomplice: Thanks for making that HTML change. You know that we bypassed change control. I’ll tell them unless you add this feature.
- Guilt: It’s my fault but I had to promise a customer this new feature. Completely understand if we can’t do it but any chance to just getting it in. That would really help my out.
- Bribery: Want to use the car for the long weekend?
- Gluttony: If you can get this feature in quickly I can order the pizza for lunch. (Note: this can be spectacularly effective).
Unfortunately Craig has become immune to most of these techniques so any ideas you can suggest please let me know.