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A blog by Ryan Quinn, Robert Quinn, Shawn Quinn, and Amy Lemley

A Positive Action Tool: How Any Manager Can Get Better

By Robert E. Quinn

In our blog entries, we traditionally take some applied question and show how positive research provides an answer.  In today’s entry I would like to do something different.  Instead of examining a research finding, I would like to provide a tool.  It is a tool that any manager can use to generate an agenda for positive improvement.  A teacher or consultant can use it to help managers generate a positive improvement agenda.

I would like to provide the tool for some beta testing.  Between now and July 1, 2010, feel free to use it.  I encourage you to be as creative as possible.  I am anxious to hear about your experiences and learn from your feedback.  Please leave us comments with your feedback.

THE COMPETING VALUES

MANAGEMENT ACTION CHECKLIST

Professor Robert E. Quinn

University of Michigan

Ross School of Business

Competing Values Logo

This entry is based on the competing values model (above).  It is a tool designed to help you analyze yourself and generate ideas you can use to improve yourself and your unit.  It is divided into four segments, the compete quadrant, the control quadrant, the collaborate quadrant and the create quadrant.  Each of the four segments appears on each of four pages.  On each page are five management competencies.  Under each competency is a check list of five action statements.  You may use these statements to assess your current situation and to record actions that you think will make a difference.  You should write at least one action step in each cell.  At the end of the page you should prioritize your potential actions and then create a plan.  This checklist is keyed to Becoming a Master Manager: A Competing Values Approach, 5th edition (Quinn, Faerman, Thompson, St Clair, McGrath, 2011).

Compete Quadrant Checklist

1. Envisioning Results

  • I need to create a shared sense of destiny
  • I need to specify our unique future
  • I need to show passion about our vision
  • I need to communicate in word pictures
  • I need a metaphor that conveys who we are

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

2. Setting Goals and Objectives

  • I need to specify the goals
  • I need to make the goals challenging
  • I need to prioritize the objectives
  • I need to provide clear feedback
  • I need to reward good performance

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

3. Designing and Organizing for Results

  • I need to restate the strategy
  • I need to align the strategy structure
  • I need to align the strategy and the processes
  • I need to align the strategy and job descriptions
  • I need to align the strategy and reward system

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

4. Motivating Self and Others

  • I need to empower myself and others
  • I need to increase meaningfulness of the work
  • I need to increase confidence in ability
  • I need to increase freedom of choice
  • I need to increase the sense of impact

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

5. Executing and Driving for Results

  • I need a culture of disciplined  execution
  • I need increase our sense of urgency
  • I need to move us closer to the customer
  • I need to help everyone embrace reality
  • I need to create a hunger for results

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

NOW, PRIORITIZE YOUR ACTION IDEAS FOR THE COMPETE QUADRANT:

  1. _______________________
  2. _______________________
  3. _______________________
  4. _______________________
  5. _______________________

Control Quadrant Checklist

1. Planning and Coordinating Projects

  • I need to better evaluate proposed projects
  • I need to better track progress
  • I need to better regulate current projects
  • I need to eliminate failing projects
  • I need to get more resources to key projects

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

2. Measuring and Monitoring Quality

  • I need to put more emphasis on quality
  • I need to clarify the drivers of quality
  • I need to improve the quality measures
  • I need to reduce the variance in our processes
  • I need to reduce errors and defects

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

3. Organizing Information Flows

  • I need to reduce information overload
  • I need to have information flows mapped
  • I need to take out the bottlenecks
  • I need networks of positive communication
  • I need to increase the “human moments”

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

4. Encouraging and Enabling Compliance

  • I need a positive approach to compliance
  • I need an ethics driven culture
  • I need to clarify what is out of bounds
  • I need to hold a discussion of values
  • I need to build commitment to compliance

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

5. Working Across Functions

  • I need to representation from every group
  • I need to co-locate cross functional teams
  • I need to keep the teams small as possible
  • I need both accountability and creativity
  • I need to be both tougher and more supportive

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

NOW, PRIORITIZE YOUR ACTION IDEAS FOR THE COMPETE QUADRANT:

  1. _______________________
  2. _______________________
  3. _______________________
  4. _______________________
  5. _______________________

Collaborate Quadrant Checklist

1. Understanding Self and Others

  • I need to better live my core values
  • I need to work from my strengths
  • I need to be make higher quality connections
  • I need to better listen
  • I need to better understand needs

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

2. Communicating Effectively

  • I need to be clear on who my audience is
  • I need to speak in their language
  • I need to feel what I say
  • I need to make more authentic connections
  • I need to avoid reacting defensively

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

3. Mentoring and Developing Others

  • I need to make their development a priority
  • I need to help them clarify their objectives
  • I need to do more coaching
  • I need to communicate more appreciation
  • I need to use “I” statements instead of “You”

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

4. Leading Groups and Teams

  • I need to increase engagement
  • I need to increase trust
  • I need to create more positive emotion
  • I need to create more cooperation
  • I need to create mutual accountability

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

5. Encouraging Constructive Conflict

  • I need to create more constructive conflict
  • I need to help people surface the conflicts
  • I need to transform conflict into commitment
  • I need to build trust in the “group process”
  • I need to help integrate conflicting positions

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

NOW, PRIORITIZE YOUR ACTION IDEAS FOR THE COMPETE QUADRANT:

  1. _______________________
  2. _______________________
  3. _______________________
  4. _______________________
  5. _______________________

Create Quadrant Checklist

1. Using Power Effectively and Ethically

  • I need to see myself as a change agent
  • I need to be more persuasive
  • I need to be more politically astute
  • I need to be more participative
  • I need to model what I want others to do

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

2. Initiating and Sustaining Change

  • I need to get clear about what has to change
  • I need to increase adaptive confidence
  • I need to convert others one at a time
  • I need to see opposition as progress
  • I need to help people learn while they act

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

3. Championing and Selling New Ideas

  • I need to set the right mood and context
  • I need to establish credibility
  • I need to be as visual as possible
  • I need to speak with authentic feeling
  • I need to open the feedback loops

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

4. Fueling and Fostering Innovation

  • I need to change problems into challenges
  • I need to create a climate of exploration
  • I need to support idea generation
  • I need to reward experimentation
  • I need to model change leadership

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

5.  Negotiating Agreement and Commitment

  • I need to hold some tough discussions
  • I need to cut to core of key issues
  • I need to generate multiple possibilities
  • I need to negotiate objective agreements
  • I need to test the commitment to agreements

Write at least one action idea that you can take to meet these needs: __________________________

NOW, PRIORITIZE YOUR ACTION IDEAS FOR THE COMPETE QUADRANT:

  1. _______________________
  2. _______________________
  3. _______________________
  4. _______________________
  5. _______________________

2 Responses to “A Positive Action Tool: How Any Manager Can Get Better”

  1. I intend to use it with several clients currently undergoing leadership changes in strategic planning and team building; I will also apply it selectively in executive coaching scenarios.

  2. Josie Banaglorioso says:

    Very helpful in the self mastery module i am currently conducting. Thanks

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