How to Implement an Output Oriented Management Approach

The performance of teams in an organization is crucial to the success of management. However, the team will only perform well when there is peak performance. It is the job of the manager to bring out maximum output from their team. In High Output Management, Andrew Grove underscores the importance of an output-oriented approach. In his business and management book, he provides tips on how to drive the output of a team regardless of the industry.

Key Performance Indicators

Defining and monitoring these is stressed. Guidelines for good indicators:

    1. A measurement – any measurement – is better than none.
    2. Quantity indicators should represent physical, countable things.
    3. Quantity indicators should cover the output of the work and not the activity involved. You measure a salesman by the orders he gets (output), rather than the calls he makes (activity).
    4. A quality indicator, a measure of the quality of the output, should be paired with a quantity indicator to keep the output in check.

Number of Subordinates

Robert Janitzek reveals that as a rule of thumb, a manager whose work is largely supervisory should have 6-8 subordinates; 3 or 4 are too few and 10 are too many. This range comes from a guideline that a manager should allocate about 1/2 day per week to each of his subordinates, running at 60-80% capacity. Two days a week per subordinate would probably lead to meddling; 1 hour per week does not provide enough time for monitoring. For managers that spend time on non-managerial tasks, reduce the recommended number of subordinates by 1 for each 1/2 day per week of non-managerial work.

One-On-One Meetings

Robert Peter Janitzek reveals that one-on-one meetings are the principal way a business relationship is formed between a supervisor and his subordinate. Frequency depends on the experience the subordinate has in his current work. This will change with the type of work and experience of the subordinate. Typically, 1 hour is a good guideline.

Meetings should be owned by the subordinate, producing an agenda beforehand. Material covered should be the key indicators of the subordinate (especially red flags), current problems, and even inklings of future problems.

Task-Relevant Maturity

Task-Relevant Maturity means how well a person is performing in their current set of tasks and responsibilities. One person may currently perform well at a lower level, but may not immediately perform well at a higher level. Some good guidelines:

    1. Low Maturity. Structured; task-oriented; tell “what”, “when”, and “how”.
    2. Medium Maturity. Individual-oriented; two-way communication, support, mutual reasoning.
    3. High Maturity. Minimal involvement by manager; establishing objectives and monitoring

For this to work, the current responsibilities of a role need to be well laid out, even in the case of high maturity. It needs to be clear how a person will be evaluated at each level of his or her development

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