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In summary, if the firm has reached a level of complexity that benefits
from automation, the firm should strongly consider a purchased package
application instead of a custom-built, internally created solution. When
evaluating the cost, the firm should also consider the immediate counter-
balancing benefits of effective automation, which include, but are not lim-
ited to, the following:

• Days-sales-outstanding (DSO) reduction
• Administrative and overhead cost reduction
• Speed-to-respond to new business improvement

Naturally, the more appropriate the software solution is to the firms
needs, the bigger and better the investment will pay off.

Buying the Right Software Solution
Such a broad array of choices with rich features, can make the task of se-
lecting the right solution difficult. The vendor selection process is beyond
the scope of this chapter. Chapter 10 of The Executives Guide to Informa-
tion Technology has a thorough, detailed treatment of the process and should
be considered mandatory reading for any firm considering the purchase of
packaged software.13

Develop Engaging Management Skills
Up to this point, the focus of our discussion has been on:

• Being clear on the type of talents, skills, capabilities, and passions the
firm needs to succeed
• Determining what needed talents, skills, capabilities, and passions are
in the resource pool
• Determining the right level of utilization to expect from each individ-
ual resource
• Managing the billable pool of resources for optimal levels of revenue
and profitability
• Determining when and how to automate some or all of these processes
so that you can focus less on collecting, categorizing, and collating and
more time making decisions, leading your business, and driving results.
310 Services Delivery: Taking Care of Business

All of these add up to the techniques and skills used to maximize billable
resources. Another important dimension, however, is the topic of engage-
ment. Engagement is the maximization of personal dedication and energy
that each of your people puts into the hours worked as he or she applies tal-
ents, skills, and capabilities, toward meeting the needs of clients and the de-
velopment of the firm and their professional careers.
In addition to bench management, the firm can achieve significant bene-
fits by focusing on the practices that lead to engaging professional staff in
their work as fully as possible. Without engagement, your resources may be
physically present, and utilized in the proper quantities of time, but their
output and the value delivered to clients will not ref lect the fullest capacity
of their talents, skills and capabilities.
According to a Gallup study, every year in America, companies lose $350
billion due to having disengaged employees. The primary reason is the lack
of management and leadership capability among the ranks of their direct
New managers recently promoted to their positions from the ranks of
high-performing contributors are especially likely to contribute to disen-
gagement. These newly minted managers often lack the skills needed to en-
gage team members. The skills, capabilities, and motivations that make for a
top contributor are usually not the same ones that result in a top manager.
These high-performing contributors can become excellent managers, but
often they need to be given guidance and development in order to succeed.
The firm™s professional development program should train and monitor new
managers carefully to help them make the transition from performer to man-
ager without risking discouragement to these managers or disengagement for
their teams.

How Does Professional Staff Disengagement
Impact the Firm?
From a business perspective, the results of poor manager practices often
manifest in the following ways:

• Increased turnover and the associated replacement costs
• Poor professional staff performance
• Missed deadlines
• Low quality work product
• Decreased morale and motivation
• Increased employee complaints

Without decisive action by the firm, the problems associated with this
can quickly mount.
Resource Management

Compounding the issue, recent studies indicate the bad habits devel-
oped by new managers, if left unchecked, are unlikely to improve on their
own. For example, a study performed by Towers Perrin,15 one of the world™s
leading management and human resources consulting firms, found that man-
agers of all tenures, across a number of companies surveyed, received low
marks from employees on the behaviors that have the most significant im-
pact on employee engagement, including:

• Recognizing and rewarding good performance
• Empowering employees
• Encouraging innovation and new thinking
• Exercising good decision making
• Team building
• Providing goals and directions
• Communicating effectively
• Global thinking and understanding the big picture
• Coaching and developing the skills of employees
• Displaying integrity

To maximize staff engagement, the firm must develop engaging managers
and promote the fair and equitable treatment of all employees. “It has been
my experience from observation and from looking at the data that an em-
ployee™s perception of being unfairly treated by the organization is a major
push towards cynicism or other distancing from work,” states Leiter.16 Being
considered fair is often one of the most important and often overlooked ele-
ments of an engaging work environment. Employees will lose faith in man-
agement™s good intentions and passion for a company when they perceive that
company decision making is arbitrary and capricious.

Improving Manager and Staff Engagement
The firm can take early preventive action to help orient new managers (as well
as “not so new” managers who™ve missed the basics) and avoid the issues dis-
cussed earlier. A condition of promotion within the firm should be the com-
pletion of manager training to help managers gain the skills they need to
handle their new responsibilities. In their 2004 Workforce and Workplace
Forecasts December 31, 2003, Roger Herman and Joyce Gioia, strategic busi-
ness futurists and certified management consultants, state that as employers
discover the impact of serious inadequacies in management and leadership,
“up and coming managers will be expected to learn and practice leadership
skills before assuming new positions.”17 Stressing the importance of continu-
ing to give new managers extra attention during their first few months in their
312 Services Delivery: Taking Care of Business

new role, Leiter adds, “The transition to managerial status is itself a stressful
time of identity shift for many new managers. The extra attention may be war-
ranted just to assure that the new managers™ own engagement is maintained
throughout the evolution from the individual contributor role to the new
manager role.”18 Some firms also provide follow-up training for new man-
agers six months after promotion to reinforce their skills after they have ad-
ditional context for understanding.
The initial manager ramp-up period should include the following steps:

1. Start with a solid new role orientation. Orientation must be the start-
ing point for any role change, especially one resulting from a promotion into
a totally different job. Orientation provides new managers with an overall di-
rection and structure that enables them to see and understand the big pic-
ture of their new role. When newly promoted managers receive orientation,
they are trained in the basic rules and objectives of the new role as well as
information on tools and resources they can use to succeed. A few specific
items include:

• Expectations the company has of them in their new role
• Where and how to gain access to reports, people, and information
needed to do the new job
• A clear understanding of the incentives and disincentives impacting
this new role

2. Training. When professionals in a “doer” role are promoted to a man-
agement role, many of their former core skills, knowledge, and experience
become context that helps them to understand what their team is doing but
are not necessarily helpful to them in their new role. To effectively execute
their management role, they need a new set of skills (e.g., leadership, com-
munication, negotiation, hiring). Once new managers are oriented into their
new role, training can inculcate the new skills needed. Effective training
will give new managers tools and strategies that they need to get their new
job done. Orientation should take place before they assume their new role;
management training is most effective after new managers have been in their
role five to six months. By this time, they have developed a better sense of
the management role and challenges, which gives them the ability to more
fully appreciate the skills taught in the training program.
3. Coaching. By now, it is a well-known fact that most of what is learned
through training programs, if not reinforced, is almost immediately forgotten.
Coaching is recognized as the best way to increase retention and application
of what people learn in training. I, therefore, recommend that you engage
either an internal or external (professional) coach to support the retention, in-
ternalization, and application of the skills taught in your manager training
programs. The type of coaching I refer to is the process outlined by W. Timo-
thy Gallwey, author of the Inner Game series. Gallwey has referred to his
Resource Management

coaching approach as a “better way to [effect] change [in people].”19 Gall-
wey™s interpretation of coaching can be referred to as removing internal ob-
stacles to performance.
4. Testing for engagement. The best way to determine how well your ef-
forts in creating engaging managers are paying off is to conduct blind surveys
of professional staff. In conducting these surveys, the firm asks employees to
anonymously rank their managers as leaders who communicate clearly and
produce a sense of personal connection with work and company objectives as
well as a sense of belonging to a high-performance team. The Gallup Q12
questions20 are an excellent example of this type of survey. Another in-depth
example of an engagement feedback tool is the “Preventing Burnout and
Building Engagement” program run by Leiter in conjunction with his univer-
sity-based research center. Leiter consults with organizations far and wide in
planning, conducting, analyzing, and using the information from these sur-
veys to create more engaging work environments.21
5. Give managers feedback. Incorporate the results of the engagement
survey into manager performance feedback. Recommend corrective actions
where needed, and turn engaging practices into institutionalized best man-
agement practices in the firm.
By incorporating a program that promotes fully engaged managers, the
firm can avoid the costs outlined earlier and ensure that newly promoted
managers are best positioned to succeed in their roles as engaging leaders.

Managing people in a professional services organization for peak results and
growth requires that you:

• Be very clear on the skill, passion, and talents required.
• Know the size and composition of the resource pool.
• Set and balance individual utilization targets to achieve the highest sus-
tainable level of quality output the professional staff.
• Develop a comprehensive global view of billable staff and the drivers
that impact the need to increase and decrease the resources.
• Understand the ideal for a bench resource pool if your firms business
pattern requires one.
• Automate resource management administrative processes when the
labor / capital trade-off is favorable.
• Develop management practices that fully engage professional and ad-
ministrative staff.

“The strength of an organization is not I, but we,” stated the German
poet, novelist, play wright, and natural philosopher Johann Von Goethe.22 In
314 Services Delivery: Taking Care of Business

a professional services organization, “we” represents the company™s most im-
portant asset. If, therefore, the firm is to enjoy the competitive advantages
that result from organizational excellence in professional services, it will not
come solely from the efforts of the senior management team, or those of a few
company heroes. It will come only from the mass efforts of a well-managed,
well-directed workforce where all individuals embodied in the collective “we”
pursue excellence with all of their talents, capabilities, skills, and passions.

Curt Coffman and Gabriel Gonzales-Molina, Follow This Path: How the World™s
Greatest Organizations Drive Growth by Unleashing Human Potential (New York:
Warner Books, 2002, pp. 40“ 41).
Joe Santana and Jim Donovan, Manage I.T.: A Step by Step Guide to Help New and
Aspiring Managers Make the Right Career Choices and Gain the Skills Necessary
for Peak Performance (Austin Bay Publishing, 2002), pp. xii, 124“138.
W. Timothy Gallwey, The Inner Game of Work (New York: Random House Trade Pa-
perbacks, 2001), pp. 4“14.
Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter, The Truth about Burnout (San Francisco:
Jossey-Bass, 1997), pp. 14“16.

Talent Assessment and Management
http://www.gallup.com/management /path.asp
http://www.hermangroup.com/alert /archive_12-31-2003.html

Managing the Business

Sales Automation/Pipeline Management

Software Tools
Resource Management

1. Quotable online
2. Aberdeen Group, available from http://www.aberdeen.com/ab_company/hottopics


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