Synopses & Reviews
Too often, managers spend money to solve problems at work, whether that means hiring outside consultants, investing in new software to fix communication issues, or bribing employees with cash to motivate them. But many managers are surprised when the problem they tried to solve reappears a few months, weeks, or even days later. The money is gone, but the problem is still there.
These costs can add up, particularly when you consider the additional loss to your company in wasted time, energy, and resources when you dont solve problems effectively. Tanya Menon and Leigh Thompson, experts in how organizations work, have developed a framework to help you understand why you fall into this trap, and how to escape it.
Five psychologieseach of which substitutes spending for your own powers of managementlead to wasteful spending:
1. Mindless spending: throwing money at a problem to avoid thinking about it;
2. Ego spending: squandering resources to make yourself look good;
3. Please-like-me spending: wasting time and money to avoid conflict;
4. Talk-to-me spending: buying expensive technologies to help people communicate; and
5. Follow-me spending: using financial incentives to motivate people
To break these habits, Menon and Thompson show how you can use your smarts as a manager to find solutions. By consciously observing waste and identifying hidden value, widening your mind-set beyond ego, courageously negotiating with others, encouraging meaningful interaction, and transforming people with positive values and relationships rather than cash, you can overcome these psychological barriers and find the value that already exists in your organization and yourselffor free.
Drawing on research with about 1,000 management and executivestudents, the authors identify five spending traps--made with money, time, energy, or other resources--that lead to wasteful actions bymanagers in organizations who are dealing with people problems: recycling old solutions for current problems, investing additionalresources into failing projects, avoiding conflict to feel like a team player, communicating too frequently over too many channels, andassuming employees don't need direction. They also describe how to overcome them.Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
Stop Wasting Precious Time and Money
You have a complex problem at work, and you know the standard solutions: hire a consultant, enlist a superstar employee, have more meetings about it. In short, spend money and hours to dig your way out. But you ve been down this road beforethe so-called solution consumes your time, dollars, and resources, and yet the problem still reappears.
There is a way out of this cycle. Organizational researchers Tanya Menon and Leigh Thompson, experts in collaboration and creativity, identify five spending traps that lead to this wasteful action without traction:
The Expertise Trap: recycling old solutions on current problems
The Winner s Trap: investing additional resources into failing projects
The Agreement Trap: avoiding conflict to feel like a team player
The Communication Trap: communicating too frequently over too many channels
The Macromanagement Trap: assuming your employees don t need your direction
Menon and Thompson combine their own research with other findings in psychology to provide strategies to break these unproductive habits and refine your skills as a manager. From shaping problems in new ways and learning from failure through experimentation, to stimulating productive conflict and structuring coordinated conversations, you can escape these traps and discover the value hidden in your organizationwithout spending a dime.
About the Author
Tanya Menon is Associate Professor at Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University. She does research on how people in organizations collaborate and is presently Associate Editor at Management Science. She has won multiple teaching awards and has consulted to companies all over the world. Leigh L. Thompson is the J. Jay Gerber Distinguished Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations. Thompson has published over 115 research articles and chapters and authored ten books, including Creative Conspiracy, The Mind and Heart of the Negotiator (6th edition), Making the Team (5th edition), and The Truth about Negotiation (2nd edition).