$24.95 / Perfectbound
ISBN: 9781608440344
312 pages

$16.99 / ebook
ISBN: 9781457501777

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Excerpt from the Book


The idea of management is all around us. Manage your finances, manage your time, manage your hair. And if you want to find information on managing, visit your nearest public library. There you will find any number of books on managing people, projects, and organizations of all shapes and sizes. Many of these books have good information, and if you look long enough, you might even find an answer to your question of the day. Of course, you might also ask yourself why so many books were written. The answer to this question is easy if you think about it: Managers need help and experts are trying to help. But I can tell you from experience, finding real answers to real problems continues to elude many aspiring managers.

In the summer of 2001 I had a problem. I had just spent the past 15 years practicing law. Now, after making a career change, I jumped headlong into the world of consulting for a technical company. In fact, I had been assigned to manage several high profile projects. Moreover, I was handed these projects without the benefit of experience, training, or a specific technical skill set. How in the world was I going lead a group of people to the successful completion of these projects given the circumstances? I could almost see the sharks circling, just waiting for the first hint of blood in the water. But, as with many things in life, you sometimes find inspiration in the nick of time. Or, inspiration finds you. Such was the case when Ed Parr found me that summer.

When Ed and I met, I didn’t have a clue about what a manager was or could be. All I knew was that I had projects to complete and didn’t know how I was going to get them done. Oddly (at least to me), Ed didn’t care about my lack of experience. Instead he often told me, and has since reminded me several times, that I had the essential characteristics of a successful manager. So, despite my misgivings, I marched ahead doing the things I thought needed to get done. To my amazement, the projects made steady progress toward completion. Whenever I had an issue with a consultant assigned to my team or needed help securing additional resources, I found myself gravitating toward Ed for advice. What I eventually learned was that the practice of law and my experiences in that realm actually did benefit me as I moved into a management role. When I practiced law, I was responsible for taking care of my clients and working with them to solve problems; if they did things to hurt their case, I discussed their need to change behavior.

Ed Parr recognized right away that my aptitudes were perfectly suited to my new career. He showed me how to bring my skill set to bear in problem solving, and he taught me the value of accountability. As I evolved into a successful manager, Ed remained in the background encouraging me and offering suggestions. At the time I had no idea he was working on a book. He certainly didn’t share his thoughts on management. But his approach wasn’t lost on those in our office. Throughout the nationwide organization, our office was frequently cited as the most successful for our size. We developed a camaraderie that was unmatched in the company. We were talking, collaborating, and watching out for one another every day. Never before in my professional life had I been more excited to get up and go into the office every day. My wife began to comment about how well things seemed to be going at home, and I even had more time for my family.

Naturally, I still carry with me the lessons I learned working with Ed back then. Although he and I haven’t worked together in some time, I still consider the people I met and worked with in that office to be some of my closest friends. When I talk to others about that job, I always tell them that I hope to find an equivalent atmosphere at least once more before I retire. One thing is for certain, it is easier to be a good manager when you have other good managers around you. If there are others who are adaptable, great communicators, and demonstrate both leadership and patience with co-workers, then feelings of well-being and the desire to do well will follow. As a result, strong working relationships develop with seemingly little effort.

It all started way back in 2001 when Ed and I began working together on those first few projects. Although I felt like a novice, Ed showed me I was ready for this challenge. We solved problems and created success. In a matter of months, this world of consulting, a place I had chosen on a wing and a prayer, began to truly fascinate me. In retrospect, it wasn’t so much the world of consulting that fascinated me; it was the world of management. And little did I know that my inspiration was coming from the natural born manager: Ed Parr.

Doug Renteria