My Manager’s Tool Box

My Manager’s Tool Box

One Father’s Day, I bought my dad a golf-themed picture frame that says, “To the man who taught me that follow-through is everything.” Getting a chance over the past few days to reflect on why I do what I do, what I hope to accomplish, and how I intend to get it done has been a wonderful opportunity, but all that thought doesn’t amount to much without a plan to put it into action.

We started the last full day with a motivational keynote from Rev. Jo Ann Browning, who got us talking aloud—to each other and to ourselves—about actively pursuing our purpose. In keeping with this year’s summit theme of “Power Forward,” she gave us more than inspiration; she gave us a seven-step plan to effectively move forward with that pursuit, starting with facing our fears.

Then came the session I found most useful: “A Win/Win: Building a Championship Team.” I’ve been the managing editor for only a few months now, and I’m still tinkering with my approach to the job. It’s been a mix of soft and firm, sticks and carrots (mostly carrots). But I haven’t found the right combination, not yet. I have pages of notes from this seminar with practical ways of managing a team well, such as telling them up front how to work with you, nipping bad behavior in the bud immediately, making their development a priority, extending your network to them, and—most memorably—using a “velvet hammer.”

I feel like I’m literally coming back to the office with a box full of tools. And that’s in addition to the insights gained, the feedback received, and the business cards collected. The work done at the summit was just the beginning; now it’s time to translate that into a game plan. The strategizing doesn’t stop here, and neither does the networking. In fact, I met two fellow attendees in the airport on the way home and we talked about this very thing, how to keep the momentum going. (Spending half a day traveling cross-country with someone can really cement the relationship; I’ve already heard from one of them, a potential new writer for the magazine.) So though I’ve traded my view of the mountains for my old view of the stores on Fifth Avenue, I’m laying the groundwork now to power forward with the new things I’ve learned and to use those tools to move my company forward as well.