The "toolkit" for Business Managers

by John Radclyffe, WorldGAMES

Bill Rutherford was an imposing man, an ex-paratrooper with distinguished war record. Yet he was also a family man with a heart of gold who could be regularly found helping his two sons in their latest construction project.

When I first met Bill, through his eldest son, Mike, the project was a 650 BSA motor bike which resided in kit form all over the front room of the house. Mike was building his first set of wheels from the ground up.

Mike and an assortment of his friends did most of the construction. However, when things didnít quite work, Bill would lend a helping hand - solicited or otherwise. There was just one problem. Bill had a favourite tool, a hammer he called "the gentle persuader," which he used to the exclusion of all the other tools available to him. I was constantly amazed at the flexibility of this particular tool ... and also the damage it caused when the job really required a spanner, screwdriver or torque wrench!

In my varied and largely successful business career, I have seen many directors, managers and team leaders following Billís example - using their favourite, and often only, management tool in both appropriate and wildly inappropriate circumstances. As business continues to develop and change to meet the challenges of globalisation, the need for managers to have the exact tool at their fingertips to meet the precise needs of the job increases. After all, in todayís competitive world, we all need to be the most effective we can be to survive and prosper.

What do I mean by a Management Tool? Well, just as tools in a mechanics tool kit are often widely different and highly specific, so are management tools. They are a range of techniques, processes, models, skills, behaviours, rules and guidelines which assist effectiveness in a single area of business management. Simple examples are techniques for Time Management and models for Goal Setting.

I run a training company that encourages active business learning through games, exercises, simulations and use of effective tools. So far we have identified 120 different tools that we use in our Management Training Programs and we are constantly adding new ones. By using just some of the tools provided during training, our participants often leave our programs with greater flexibility than their bosses. Indeed one client, having run three back-to-back programs for aspiring managers, then approached us to improve the skills of their senior managers who were in danger of being left behind.

So why doesnít every manager start with a tool kit? Well, letís assume that you are a little like me. A quick view of the 120 Management Tools shows that I learned about 1/3 rd of just one tool (Effective Letter Writing) at school. When I started in business I had learned most of the 11 finance tools (well I am an Accountant by profession!) and had made a start on four more. By the time I first became a director of a multinational company, I had added another four tools to my armoury. By my reckoning this was about 15% of the tools I now use ... and, at the time, I was regarded as being super efficient!

As I now know, I was like the one-eyed man in the kingdom of the blind. However, the modern world is full of competitive people with their eyes wide open. To stay ahead, I had to change.

I read loads of management books, I attended training courses, I listened to tapes, I tried hundreds of things that didnít work, I spent thousands of hours on self-education.

Gradually, I built up a store of "tools" that really worked and found they all have a number of things in common. They are simple. They are short. They are proven to work with a range of people. They are understandable. They make logical sense and, above all, they are practical.

Some tools distil the contents of several books down to three pages of action steps. Others contain the essence of a weekís training in a one hour process. The tools support each other and provide alternatives so that if one is not working, there is always another to try. (Rather like having an open-ended spanner, ring spanner, mole grips and wrench available to shift a stubborn nut).

Big business is able to send people on training programs to gain the knowledge base they need. Yet even so, busy executives are often too busy to spare the time. In smaller businesses and at the home office, with all the demands of modern business life, training is rarely on the agenda. Statistics show that Small Business use of all but mandatory "trades" training is just about non-existent.

So how do the people who need to be increasingly more efficient and effective in an ever broadening range of skills acquire the knowledge they need?

Well you can do it the way I did and invest thousands of hours of your time, or you can use the leverage principle. What do I mean by leverage? ... it is simply the art of doing more with less - in this case using the documented knowledge of someone else who has invested the time, energy and resources in producing the tools in an easy-to-follow set of Management Tools - The WorldGAMES Management Tool Kit.

There are tools for managing yourself, there are tools for managing your time, there are tools for improving your results, there are tools for managing other people, there are tools for change, there are tools for finance, there are selling tools and there are planning, negotiation and conflict tools. The full tool kit will help you become the most effective and efficient manager you could hope to be.

Each management tool is designed to be like a segment of a Do-it-yourself Manual. If you want to build a wall, you do not need to read through plumbing, electrical and carpentry, digesting all of these techniques, before you get to working with bricks and mortar. The Management Tool Kit will take you straight to the skills you need for the task.

Each MTK module will describe what the tool is, how, when and why you use it, what steps you need to follow and what to do if the tool does not appear to be working. There are real-life stories about using each tool in practice and guides to follow-up reading if you want to know more. And most modules are less than ten pages long, quick and easy to read.

Small Business managers, and those working from home, may only need our 10 module SOHO Management Kit comprising tools for goal achieving, improving result, managing time wasters, prioritising and profit drivers - priced at $1,000 plus GST, which I make to be well less than $1 for every hour of development time.

By placing your order with Kaizen Coaching, WorldGAMES will add two modules to this kit absolutely free: The 5 Steps to Successful Selling and 10 Tips for Effective Telephone Communication.

To order your SOHO Management Tool Kit just send your cheque for $1,100 and details to:

Kaizen Coaching, PO Box 741, Sydney, NSW 1043

For further information you may e-mail or call John at the WorldGAMES office on (02) 9880 7277.

For more information on WorldGAMES training games, exercises and facilitators visit the WorldGAMES web site


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