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Can you advise what main trends manager should focus on for their own development and effectiveness over the next couple of years?

There are so many books, reports, articles and theories available on the future of management that it can be quite challenging for manager to identify what they should be doing to develop themselves. Very broadly there are four emerging themes that are likely to significantly impact on management effectiveness over the next few years.
The first is for manager to have the ability to create an environment where people are willing to become fully engaged. This will develop employees who give more of themselves and their ideas, thereby creating competitive advantage for the organisation and more satisfaction for the employee.
The second emerging theme is for manager to be able to identify the core behaviours that make their organisation more capable of achieving its strategic objectives. Examples include innovation, flexibility, speed and good decision making. Managers can deliberately set out to identify the core behaviours for their organisation and role model them themselves. They can also coach other people within the organisation to deliver these behaviours effectively.
The third emerging area is the application of rising technology. Computers and information technology in general will make another quantum leap forward over the next few years. Managers who keep up with the play and are able to utilise the new technologies and systems will ride the next wave of growth successfully.
Finally, managers should focus on building their own credibility. In the future, organisations will be more organic than hierarchical. They will form and reform networking relationships as needed. Personal credibility will become even more important as people will be meeting and working in shorter relationships.
Managers who ensure they understand the business disciplines of other managers as well as their own, who understand how their organisation works and the external factors affecting their business, and who develop personal effectiveness skills such as presentation skills, effective communication and coaching, will be seen as leaders and capable managers in this changing environment. They will engender trust and be sought after for their input.

Any advice? I manage non-profit organisation and find it hard to get people to focus on building the business.

Non-profit organisations often have their own set of management challenges. They frequently develop regionally and as they grow over the years find they need more unified structure. This can create significant tensions internally as the regional units tussle for leadership with the national body. It also makes it difficult to implement global strategies and to gain effective use of resources across the organisation.
Non-profit organisations also, are often made up of small number of paid staff and large number of volunteers. Managing volunteers requires specific skills as they are generally motivated by their personal vision of why they want to be involved. They are also likely to have commitments elsewhere and so their involvement in the organisation is through goodwill rather than desire to be financially compensated. Therefore they only commit what they choose to commit and can decide to walk at the drop of hat. This makes the usual management issues of goal setting and performance management very challenging.
Another challenge stems from the composition of the governing body. In non-profit desire for full representation often results in large number of people on the governing body. Generally, an effective meeting can be held with between six and eight people. Any more and the ability to provide input and have effective discussion and decision-making diminishes exponentially.
Non-profit organisations sometimes struggle to form governance body with the appropriate skills and experience. Board members can end up intruding into operational issues rather than letting management be accountable.
A further issue is that by their nature non-profit boards are often dependent on the chief executive. As result they often don’t focus enough on measuring the chief executive’s performance or provide them with effective feedback.
A final issue is that non-profits generally operate for the “good” of someone or something: members, the community or whatever. This is different driver to the underlying commercial aim of making money. It can result in another management challenge for the organisation if people don’t understand the organisation’s reason for being and try to adopt strictly commercial management approach.
There are ways to meet these challenges. The key issue is to make very clear link between the non-profit’s reason for being and outcomes. Ensure your organisation has clear and compelling vision that describes its reason for being. Focus on developing an excellent strategic plan with the board or trust and put enough time aside for this so that you get everyone on board. Make sure that this is converted into good annual business plan and budget. Use this as base for measuring the organisation’s performance and feed back this information to the board and organisational staff. Make this connection clearly and you will find the people involved will become significantly more focused on developing the business without straying from the organisation’s underlying reason for being.

Kevin Gaunt, FNZIM, FAIM, is CEO of NZIM Auckland and has been senior executive with, and consultant to, some of New Zealand’s largest companies.

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