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Three habits managers should always maintain to be successful

In 2003, when I was hired to be the manager of a very large chain of retail stores, the owner of the company gave me one of the most practical and helpful pieces of advice I had ever been given.

He didn’t give me all the answers and steps. I still had to figure out a lot of things, but his advice gave me the three planks on which to build my management success. Everything I have done since, published and trained regarding management is built on these three key habits:

1. Always be assessing your departments and the company

He said, “go listen to your people. They know the problems and they know how to fix them.” I had to be really good at observing, watching and listening to the staff and the managers underneath me, to learn the problems and issues in the company and the solutions that they thought needed to be implemented. For the first month, he told me not to implement anything. He asked me to assess the entirety of all my departments and the company and be ready for #2.

2. Build a game plan on the things found in my assessment

He told me to take a stab at it. He told me to analyze all the different things I found in the assessment, and to put a game plan together based on the urgency of what I found. He asked me to put as much detail as possible, and to come up with solutions as best as I could in a prioritized list. I did that, presented it to him, and he helped me realize I had created the single most powerful tool of management: a 90-day game plan. I was now ready for #3.

3. Rally your teams to execute your game plan

This is, like steps one and two, easier said than done. And as I said earlier, he did not provide me the details of how to do this (ever since then, I’ve had to learn those details myself), but this was a very good place to start. I went to my managers below me and then to the team members and we came up with ways to execute these things and oversee them. We created deadlines for the first batch of items, we identified budgets and once I got those approved, we all started fixing things.

I found one thing incredibly powerful: Since I had spent time listening to the staff in the first step, they were more willing and ready to help me implement things. Their buy-in was high. That’s when the magic of management hit me: listen to your people, build a game plan around the ideas and solutions they have, get them approved in a single page game plan, and then rally them to help fix what they asked to be fixed in the first place.

There are of course many steps on how to do all this, but for now, start by implementing these three habits into your management game plan and the results will be incredible.

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