Pillars of Life
The first step to becoming an amazing manager is to take control and ownership of your own Pillars of Life.
By becoming the best person you can be, you will become a better manager too.
Life is short – don’t fill it with someone else’s dreams, goals and activities.
Focus on the right things, at the right time, for your season of life.
The Pillars of Life as I see them are:
- Your education
- Your health
- Your family
- Your finances and money
- Your impact on society
- Your effectiveness
By focussing on the Pillars of Life you’ll have more to offer your people. You’ll have a better life. You won’t give away your dreams to an organisation. You stand more chance of building the life you want.
Be Effective and Liked
The second step is to become unbelievably effective AND liked.
We’ve all met people who are effective at work but painful to work with.
Equally, we’ve met people who are lovely. Like Cuddly Bears. But we often wonder what they do all day.
Your job is to be effective AND liked. To tread the line carefully and know when to flex either way.
The best way to do this is know exactly what’s expected of you as a manager and develop a Superpower in the world of business…
– Effective communication skills.
The third step is to Release Agility in your organisation.
Your goal as a manager is to free, unlock and release the agility in your organisation. To move smoothly and quickly towards your goals.
Agility follows the overcoming of obstacles that stand in your path. As you free more agility you discover more problems, and solving these will release more agility.
The cycle continues forever. There are always more problems than can be solved. The trick is knowing which ones stand between where you are now, and your True North.
No agile framework will help you do this.
Here’s what I recommend instead.
1) You paint a picture of where you and the organisation is heading. Your purpose. Your True North. The reason society needs what you offer.
2) You identify the real reasons why you’re not there yet. What’s stopping you? Once you’ve done this, build a plan to overcome the obstacles and problems. This is a strategy.
3) You build the right team to get it done. If you cannot look around your team and say “This is the team to get it done”, then you have plenty of work to do:
4) You identify, model and communicate the behaviours that you want in your organisation. The culture of the organisation is nothing more than group habit – how people behave every day. Underneath every agile framework that succeeds, are people behaving in certain ways. Why not skip the framework and go straight to the behaviours?
5) And you learn your way through the journey. There is always a way to be better. Mistakes are opportunities to make you and the company better.
Culture is nothing more than group habits
Releasing Agility always requires a culture change, yet most companies approach this by trying to “coach” their way to a new way of working rather than addressing the real and obvious problem – ineffective management.
If you want to change a culture, you must change behaviours.
People must therefore change their behaviours – and this is never achieved by awareness pieces, slogans, powerpoint slides and company Ra Ra.
It is achieved through HR initiatives rolled out by managers who encourage behaviour change by setting the standard, giving feedback and dealing with low performance. This is the role of Management.
ABOUT ROB LAMBERT
I’ve been a manager for a very long time. I look much younger than I am. I’ve read, studied and learned – and then applied this to the hard job of management.
As a communication science graduate and life longer learner – I always put communication at the heart of everything I do:
I joke that 99% of business problems are because of poor communication – I’m likely not far from the truth.
I studied communication science at school, A’ Level and Degree (BSc) and I still study it today.
I focus on making information simple and easy to digest. I help bridge the gap between HR and Management to empower you for maximum success.
I focus on YOU and your organisations problems – not the latest agile scaling methodology or framework.
I have high standards – I hope you and your company do too.
When you work with me, expect fun, optimism, a relentless focus on studying the real problems and a focus on high behavioural standards.
I am married with three sons who are amazing. Every day they teach me something. And make me laugh.
I live in Winchester, UK.
I started my career as a Tester, then an Engineering Manager, then a VP of HR and now as a Director of my own company.
I am the co-host of Stationery Freaks podcast.
I run a blog called Parent Brain.
I write books to relax.
Publications, awards and CV
My current CV is here.
- ExpoQA 2021 – speaker
- Testing United Conference – speaker – 2020
- Why communities bring big personal growth – article – 2020
- Award – Best Tutorial – Super Power Workshop – 2019
- Testing 1 on 1 podcast co-host
- The anatomy of a great recruitment process – 2018
- HUSTEF conference speaker – 2018
- Technical recruiting 101 – 2018
- How to leverage a high touch recruitment process to hire technical talent – 2018
- Moving to weekly releases ebook
- Moving from stages to pervasive testing (DevOps) (slide share)
- Testing Cup Conference – 2018
- Moving to weekly releases – Online Test Conf – 2017
- Award – Best Tutorial – Super Power Workshop – 2015
- Make or break you – an interview – 2015
- Intelligent Testing – presentation – 2015
- Conference Key Note at Nordic Testing Days – 2015
- Thrive as a Tester – a book about thriving as a tester (BOOK)
- The Social Tester – the best of this blog and more! (BOOK)
- Remaining Relevant and Employable (BOOK)
- So you want to be a scrum master? (BOOK)
- The Tester Types – the spawn of thousands of tester’s avatars.
- There are problems with testing book
- Build Quality In – Contribution to a book
- A Blazingly Simple Guide To Thriving As A Software Tester
- The Blazingly Simple Guide To Surviving EuroSTAR (PDF)
- Article for The Testing Circus Magazine– An interview with me for this well known magazine for testers
- Article for UTest– Article for power house UTest on becoming a passionate tester and the power of social media.
- Testing Diet– How to go on a testing diet
- How to build a test team– How to build a test team
- The software bug– Run run as fast as you can – catch the bug
- The Brave Plastic Tester– The story of a brave plastic tester
- Social Tester newspaper– May 2009 edition of The Social Tester newspaper
- Social Tester newspaper– June 2009 edition of The Social Tester newspaper
Every financial year I donate at least 5% of my revenue from books, courses and coaching from Cultivated Management, and my other business, Parent Brain, to charity.
I believe strongly that every person has the right to the best quality of life they can, even if that life may be short.
At least 2.5% always goes to Naomi House – a hospice in Winchester for life limited children and their parents.
2015 – Unicef (paid)
2016 – Pencils of Promise (paid)
2017 – Saving Linnea (paid)
2018 – WWF (paid)
2019 – All to Naomi House (paid)
2020 – Shelter (in progress)