Managing UP! Rosanne Badowski

Everyone has a boss. And anyone who has aspired to move up the corporate ladder knows that their relationship with those they report to is crucial. When I read Rosanne Badowski’s book I realised that I had been doing mostly what she prescribed. It is precisely these actions that helped me to move up the Rogers corporate ladder .I was Managing Up in my early days as the Air cargo supervisor of Rogers Aviation way back in 1973.Later, as Commercial Manager of Rogers Aviation in the 1984 I had sharpened my Managing Up skills. This is yet another case of practising leadership without being on top of the heap.

In Managing Up Rosanne Badowski offers a straightforward, entertaining, no-holds-barred account of what it takes to make your relationship with your boss work to your advantage, no matter where you stand in the corporate hierarchy. Managing Up is an invaluable guide for managing your career and juggling responsibilities with finesse and confidence. It should become a management bible for anyone hoping to get ahead in their profession.”Rosanne Badowski’s extraordinary fifteen years in the trenches with Jack Welch have given her unparalleled expertise in the art of leadership. She wrote:

When I’m cranked up, two hours of phone work, slogging through files, and reviewing briefing material will come down to a 30-second “gun and go” item that hits Jack’s desk. I deliver the essential elements of what he needs to make a decision so that he can make it and move on. I anticipate and answer questions. Am I a mind reader? No. But I pay attention to what’s happening, and I understand why. I’m a student of cause and effect, allowing me to assess what executive input will be required, so that I encapsulate it.

Simply passing along a customer complaint or issue doesn’t create time. It is, in fact, a time sponge. Without support, the executive must stop what he or she is doing to find out what’s going on, who is handling the project, and what is being done about it. Often, it means juggling priorities and diverting attention from more urgent matters. With proper support, the complaint hits the desk with notes or a memo covering those points so that the boss can be assured that the customer is satisfied, and can ensure the situation doesn’t happen again. What might have gobbled up hours can be done in minutes.

By functioning in this way, you allow your manager to skip over time-consuming preliminaries to focus his or her resources on the final outcome. I scrub every item Jack Welch gets to make sure it’s free of nonessentials or of aspects that can be handled by somebody else. Time is too precious to waste by touching a piece of paper, a project, or a problem more than is necessary. Sometimes high-touch is essential. But disciplined one-touch or low-touch provides an extra cushion that can be used to grow a business, or to fight fires.

As an executive assistant, I perform countless management roles—project manager, coordinator, communicator, and troubleshooter. Yes, we’re all managers, but we’re also all secretaries. I don’t care if you come to work in a limo or ride the bus. At times, we all have to roll up our sleeves and do the mundane tasks to make grand strategies work. Companies can’t survive without highly trained, motivated, empowered, front-line support people who sweat the small stuff. These people are on the cutting edge of every vital function, integrating and coordinating against tight deadlines and across time zones and boundaries. Without dedicated help, all the strategic thinking, careful planning, innovation, and high technology will fall short. Someone has to be there, simply to get the job done.

Jack had a habit of sending handwritten notes to GE people. He wanted to remain accessible, break down barriers that isolate most CEOs, and offer a bit of help—an idea, a nudge, a pat on the back—to men and women who were working hard to close deals, satisfy customers, or manufacture high-quality products. Even the notes that started with “What the hell’s this all about?” were designed to help break impasses and to bring a resolution.

No matter what your job, if you’re not helping, you’re hindering. The essence of managing is making things happen. So, determine whether your actions support a long-term goal. Ask yourself: Did the work I performed today help to achieve a goal? Invest time and effort in the things that matter most.

It also helps if the organization has clear goals worth investing in.


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