Know the Power of Praise
Save on Supplies
Prepare a list of the materials bought for the office in the past few years.
Check with users and your organization’s purchasing manager to be sure the products and brands on the list are the most cost-effective choices.
Negotiate with an office-products supplier for the best possible prices, and distribute catalogs employees can use for ordering things.
Caveat: When an employee needs something that is not in the catalog, provide some leeway on selecting products not on the list. Failure to take that small but significant step can undermine employee morale because they could feel they were being forced to use tools that were inferior.
Shave Legal Expenses
Keep Track of Former Good Workers
Enhance Management Wisdom
One of the biggest obstacles to becoming a first-rate manager is working under the assumption that most of your business decisions are good. If you take a more humble approach—assuming that, at best, maybe half of your decisions are superior—you might be better able to follow through on this next suggestion.
Spend at least half your time correcting bad decisions and none of your time trying to cover up for them. Not only are cover-ups a waste of valuable time, but when they are unveiled—and they usually are eventually—your reputation suffers doubly: once for the bad decisions and again for the attempted deception.
One effective way to assess the effectiveness of a management decision: Ask for and then nurture an environment that encourages subordinates to provide rapid feedback on all proposed company decisions. A corporate culture in which employees are expected to be constructively critical is crucial to keeping a business alert and innovative.
STANLEY ZAROWIN, a former JofA senior editor, is now a contributing editor to the magazine. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .