An IT Perspective: The “New” Management Training for $.99
Some problems are hard. Some are very hard. But most real-world problems have solutions. You might need to be creative in how you attack the problem; either in the approach or in the way you leverage your team’s resources.
In our house, thanks to my 5-year old, Angry Birds is known as “the chicken game.” Like for all working parents, screen time is a curse and a blessing, and along with excerpts of the Lion King movies on YouTube, Angry Birds is in the regular rotation.
So…why do I often give in and let my son play “the chicken game” when he asks?
First, because it is fun and I like to play too. Second, and I tell myself “most importantly,” it teaches lessons that will serve him well in life. In fact, it is pretty good management training. The best managers I’ve had have recognized talents and strengths among their team and used team members in ways that allowed themselves to be most successful.
The right bird for the job
Like people, each angry bird has a specific talent set. Using a yellow bird to break glass is a waste of talent (yellow birds are good at breaking wood; use the blue birds for glass). People are like that, too. Some are strong public speakers or good team leads and some are best left alone to get their work done. Strong managers will recognize each person’s individual talents and assign those responsibilities and tasks that allow them to use their talent set to maximize their personal contribution and potential for success.
You go to war with the army you have—not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time.
The birds you get are the birds you have to use (unless you purchase the mighty eagle, but that’s analogous to hiring a hot-shot consultant). Donald Rumsfeld knew that your team of Angry Birds or people might not be the optimal team for the job, but that you need to make the best of what you have. This is accomplished by knowing and using your team members based on their individual talents (see above).
Among a strong manager’s talent set is the ability to achieve desired outcomes by figuring out how to use each team members individual skill sets.
All problems have a solution
Some problems are hard. Some are very hard. But most real-world problems have solutions. You might need to be creative in how you attack the problem; either in the approach or in the way you leverage your team’s resources. Hard problems are more satisfying and provide more reusable results than do easy problems.
Feedback is instructive
Some say success is a lousy teacher, but that may be only when success/failure is binary. Since success in Angry Birds is graded – earning one to three stars and high score notification – success can teach, and motivate. Good managers provide deeper, more instructive praise than a simple “good job.”
Is my son learning these lessons? Hopefully some are sinking in and will serve him well later in life. For now, I know he is at least having fun.