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LavaCon 2017 - Achieving the Extraordinary: Content Development Management Success


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As a content development manager, you face a wide variety of challenges. More work, higher standards, less resources, diverse geographies, cultures, and language backgrounds. This all-day workshop for senior managers will delve into the “soft skills” of management as well as the “nitty gritty” of staffing changes and team challenges.

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LavaCon 2017 - Achieving the Extraordinary: Content Development Management Success

  1. 1. Achieving the Extraordinary: Content Development Management Success With Barry Saiff and Dave Wilks Sunday, Nov. 5, 1:00 PM
  2. 2. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm  About Your Presenters  Getting to Know You  Tailoring Your Workshop  Three Contexts for Extraordinary Achievement  Manager’s Toolkit: You’ve Got to Have CHARM  Management: A Sacred Trust (The Soft Skills)- CARVE! THRIVE! AGENDA
  3. 3. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm  Keys to Success: Motivation (SLAP!), Feedback  Awareness, Bias, Culture: You, Your Organization, The World  Improving Processes and Tools, Intrapreneurship  Staffing: Changes, Additions  Offshore Outsourcing AGENDA
  4. 4. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm About The Speaker: Barry Saiff Technical communications leader 33 years of experience in technical documentation Led content development teams at Symantec, Oracle, IBM, and GE Founded Saiff Solutions, Inc. in 2011 Provides technical writing services to large enterprises in Australia, Japan, Canada, and US Twitter: @SaiffSolutions
  5. 5. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm About The Speaker: Dave Wilks Technical Writer at Cloud Elements Built a geographically dispersed team from 1-15 at Willis Towers Watson Servant leader focus LinkedIn: Twitter: @davewilks
  6. 6. #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Let’s Get to Know Each Other Please tell us your country, city, role, and why you are here.
  7. 7. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm What are Your Interests/Experiences in Managing Technical Writers? • Managing a team of writers? • Leading a team, without management authority? • Managing outsourced or offshore writers? • Hiring? Firing? • Working for a good manager? • Working for a not-so-good manager? • What else? Have you experienced:
  8. 8. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm What Should We Focus on 1. What do you most want to get out of this workshop? 2. Where does your content team fit in your corporate structure? 3. What is your current/past management experience? 4. Which staff changes are you least experienced in: hiring, firing, transfers, outsourcing, other? 5. What types of training does your team participate in? 6. Is your team geographically, culturally, or linguistically diverse? 7. What is your biggest challenge - Process? Team Issues? Staffing? Other? Some of you received these questions via email:
  9. 9. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Extraordinary Achievement • Your staff (local, in-sourced) • Your expanded team (remote, outsourced) • Your organization Enable excellence for: How do we achieve extraordinary results consistently across all of these dimensions?
  10. 10. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm When facing any difficult situation, start with: Curiosity and Humility, proceed with Awareness, Respect, and Mastery Manager’s Toolkit: CHARM
  11. 11. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Management is a sacred trust. As a manager, at any level, you have the power to: • Destroy careers • Destroy jobs • Destroy morale • Destroy the enterprise
  12. 12. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Management is a sacred trust. As a manager, at any level, you have the power to: • Build careers • Achieve miracles • Treat people fairly • Develop lifelong relationships of trust
  13. 13. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Management is a sacred trust. As a manager, at any level, you have the power to: • Turn lives around • Empower people to be more effective and productive • Enable people to learn things that make them more successful • Turn the enterprise around
  14. 14. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Caring • The enterprise • The results • The people • The process The fundamental way of being of a manager is caring. A manager cares about:
  15. 15. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Caring: Responsibility • A manager is trusted with power, and faces opportunities to abuse that power. • A manager must, at times, be selfless, and act against their own (narrowly conceived) self-interest.
  16. 16. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Caring: Bureaucracy • A good manager is a creator of healthy administration, and an enemy of bureaucratic corruption and inertia. • The mission, the customers, the enterprise, the people, and the results are more important than the rules. • A good manager strives for continuous improvement, rational administration, fairness, and productivity gains.
  17. 17. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Caring: A New Idea? Have you ever thought about management in terms of caring? Yes? No?
  18. 18. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Acess Have you ever had difficulties or stress at work because your manager had no time for you? Yes? No? Your people need regular access to you, and you need access to your management.
  19. 19. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Being Respectful Don’t accuse. Remember CHARM. Even if you don't think you are accusing or blaming, if the other person thinks you are, you are responsible for their perception. This is particularly important in Asian cultures.
  20. 20. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Being Respectful A manager knows how to manage their emotions, without dumping them on people in the workplace. Understand the difference between passion and emotion. Be responsible for the impact of your actions. A manager does not react. A manager creates.
  21. 21. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Being Respectful of Yourself Expand the realm of what you consider yourself responsible for. Do not accept being treated with less than full respect. Give yourself a break. You will make mistakes, in fact, you must make some mistakes in order to learn how to improve. BALANCE Infographics: 7 Elements of Respect
  22. 22. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Vision Without vision, management is damaging. Be inspired, and you will inspire others. Keep the mission, vision, and values of the organization alive, in everyone. Make sure people understand how their work forwards the whole. Are you clear about the mission or the vision of your organization? Yes? No?
  23. 23. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Expect Excellence Dr. Wayne Dyer was well known for the idea, based on extensive research, that we create what we expect. Be aware of your expectations. Choose them wisely.
  24. 24. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm TRUST Caring – Trust = Micromanagement Trust is the currency of business success. Without trust, nothing is possible. You must calibrate trust for each person/situation. What do you trust me for? Do you trust me to do my job well? Would you trust me to protect your daughter from harm? These are very different questions.
  25. 25. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm TRUST Team (We are all on the same one.) Relationships based upon Understanding, Sensitivity, and Tolerance Calibrate your level of trust in each person wisely. Believe in people.
  26. 26. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Being Question for managers: Who am I being? Get clear on who you are, as a manager and a leader. For example, here is my statement: I am an authentic, caring, challenging, dedicated mentor. What is yours? (Feel free to steal from mine.) To get clear on your statement: • Notice, ask for feedback • Envision (Whom do you aspire to be like?)
  27. 27. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Being Authentic An inauthentic manager is an ineffective manager. To increase authenticity, clarify your inauthenticities. Everyone has inauthenticities. Ask for help: What don’t you believe? How would you not trust me? Ask yourself: What do I really care about? What don’t I? Separate the facts from your story. Get training: Never stop learning about yourself. Highly recommended:
  28. 28. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Empower Excellence: Integrity • Examine: How might I be the source of the problem? • Learn from failures and successes. • Do not cut corners (deceive, break the law, share information prematurely or inappropriately).
  29. 29. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Empower Excellence: Integrity • Hold yourself accountable for the results of your team, and for your impact on their self-image & performance. • Model behaviors and attitudes you want to develop. • Work at least as hard, and smart, as your staff.
  30. 30. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Integrity: The Power of Your Word Why are promises important? • Descriptive language vs Creative language • Flowers • Personal power: What is it? What is its source? • Beyond keeping promises - Honoring your word: o When you cannot, pro-actively take responsibility for mitigating the impacts on others. o Calibrate your promises: Not too much, not too little either – expect great things!
  31. 31. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm CHARM, CARVE, THRIVE Review CHARM: Curiosity, Humility, Awareness, Respect, and Mastery CARVE: Caring, Access, Respect, Vision, and Expect Excellence THRIVE: Training, Heard, Respect, Integrity, Vision, and Empower
  32. 32. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Motivation: A, M, P, T, AF Three Key Factors for Motivation: 1. Autonomy 2. Mastery 3. Purpose Great 11-minute video on motivation: Two Orientations of Motivation: • Toward (things you want) • Away from (things you don’t want)
  33. 33. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Feedback Frequent! Accurate! Clear! Specific! Do not fail to tell someone that they made a mistake. Do not fail to praise someone, often. Do have regular one-on-one meetings with each person. Do not fail to provide formal performance reviews at least annually. Remember CHARM! CARVE! THRIVE!
  34. 34. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Enabling Excellence: Training – Why? Imagine: Your boss tells you (for the first time) that you are failing at x, y, and z, and you are being demoted, or fired. Would you rather have had a chance to improve first? Would you rather have had some effective training?
  35. 35. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Improve Processes and Tools Are you using the best processes and tools? Ask yourself three questions: 1. What is your purpose? 2. Who is your customer? 3. Is your customer happy? Link:
  36. 36. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Speak Management’s Language Changing a process or a tool can be expensive. Understand upper management’s priorities. Present a business case: • Short and long term benefits to customers, company. • Impact to existing products or processes. • Cost (time, licenses, training, etc.) • Return on investment (payback time, cost savings.)
  37. 37. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Be an Effective Intrapreneur • key-approaches-infographic • forum-how-to-be-an-effective-tech-comm-intrapreneur •
  38. 38. Awareness, Bias, and Culture • A changing world = Diverse styles/contexts • Cross-cultural teams: Aware leadership • Each culture has strengths, and challenges @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm
  39. 39. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm The World is Changing Companies market their products internationally. Users are diverse. Localization of products and supporting documentation requires cultural awareness.
  40. 40. • Between company strategy and their employees. • Between team members who may be in many locations. • Between past practices and future possibilities @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Managers are at the Interface Between company strategy and their employees. Between team members who may be in many locations. Between past practices and future possibilities
  41. 41. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Managing Cross-Cultural Teams Three Key Success Factors: 1. Mix cultures and locations. Having a mix of cultures in one location makes a huge difference. 2. Ensure editing, quality control, and inclusion. Make all writers have the advantages they need to succeed.
  42. 42. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Managing Cross-Cultural Teams A key success factor for Saiff Solutions: Our writers in the Philippines work with American, Canadian, Indian, and Filipino editors and managers (local and remote). Our editors each have at least 10 years of technical writing/editing experience.
  43. 43. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Managing Cross-Cultural Teams 3. Embrace differences by increasing your awareness! Understanding cultural differences – between countries, professions, departments, companies – is crucial to your success. Consider: • How do these people learn best? • How do they typically handle conflict? • What does “Yes” mean to them?
  44. 44. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Managing Cross-Cultural Teams Learn to listen newly: hear what you are missing. Learn to speak newly: add what you assume and others do not. Continually expand your awareness to new levels. You cannot succeed in this without getting to know people well.
  45. 45. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Managing Cross-Cultural Teams Management entails awesome responsibility and awesome opportunity. Both are magnified by a mixture of cultures. They may hide from you the impact of how you are being. Many Americans, Japanese, and others regularly raise their voices, or interpret silence as a sign of agreement and support.
  46. 46. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Managing Cross-Cultural Teams Many Asians are socialized to defer to authority figures, and foreigners, even those not in positions of authority. They may be unwilling to say “no” or disagree with you, to ask questions or ask for help, especially if you (even unknowingly) raise your voice or exhibit frustration or anger.
  47. 47. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Seek Out The Strengths To be successful with people in other cultures, you need to be sensitive. You need to be willing to change. You need to give up the idea that your culture is better. All cultures have strengths and weaknesses. Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your culture and other cultures.
  48. 48. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Asking Questions Why aren’t they asking enough questions? How do you* respond to questions that seem pointless? Stupid? Are you* open to people who think differently? Are all questions welcome? Really? Why aren’t they asking enough questions? What does respect mean to you? To them? *Anyone in authority
  49. 49. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Respect Respect in the Philippines (and some other Asian cultures): • Defer to authority/role, age, whiteness, experience, wealth. • Be quiet. Appear attentive. Agree. Do what you are told. • Do not challenge or question authority. Support leaders. Respect in the USA (and many non-Asian cultures): • Tell the truth, respectfully. Do not withhold key information. • Ask questions, appropriately. Contribute. Speak up. • Do what you say you will. Do not lie. Support the team.
  50. 50. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Conflict/Culture Clash Some Common US approaches to conflict: • Discuss. Argue. Raise voices. Blame. Apologize. Resolve/Not. • Challenge. Brainstorm together. Resolve/Not. Some Common Filipino approaches to conflict: • Avoid. Work around. Await opportunity to resolve. Some Common Filipino responses to US approaches: • Withdraw. Resent. Sabotage. Leave. Some Common US responses to Filipino approaches: • Give up on the Asians. Blame. Assume stupidity/incompetence.
  51. 51. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Management Style Management in Asia is frequently “Command and Control:” • Management as supervision • Intensely hierarchical • “The manager always knows best” This management style does not encourage: • Collaboration • Asking questions • Prioritizing quality over deference to authority All over the world, people frequently leave jobs because of their managers. This may also explain why they don’t ask questions.
  52. 52. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm In Summary: Things Are Not Always What They Seem Mistakes ...could be due to incompetence. But also think about: • The clarity of your expectations • Your communication style • Your openness to questions • Differences in display of respect • All the “authorities” involved and the above issues for each of them
  53. 53. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Staff Changes - Firing • Do your homework: Follow processes, document • Has the person received specific, actionable feedback? Have they been given a chance to improve? Have you considered various viewpoints? • Is the person a negative influence? A bad cultural fit? Or someone different who contributes something valuable? • Not being able to fire people can destroy an organization. • Firing the wrong people can destroy morale. • Once you decide, act with authority.
  54. 54. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Staff Changes - Transfers Transfers into your team: • Orientation, inclusion • Team cohesion, team building • Are they a good fit? What are their career goals? Transfers out of your team: • Understand their goals • Support their ambitions • Make it work for your team
  55. 55. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Staff Changes - Hiring Hire for attitude (89%) and skills (11%) • Know your culture, seek a good fit • Value and encourage diversity • More heads are better • When needed, test • After hiring: orientation, team-building, inclusion Do you have a good onboarding process? Orientation? What if you cannot get hiring authority/budget? Can you outsource/offshore while maintaining/improving quality?
  56. 56. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Staff Changes – How to Make Outsourcing Work Assess process maturity and content strategy first, and improve if needed. • Include Tech Comm in planning. • Ensure a realistic financial analysis. • Identify & communicate vision & benefits. • Incorporate team feedback. • Focus on career development.
  57. 57. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Staff Changes - How to Make Outsourcing Work Carefully choose country: • Consider language, infrastructure, labor pool. • #1 country in business English: Philippines Link: Carefully choose provider. Start with a low-risk pilot project.
  58. 58. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Understand and accommodate the differences: • Time zone • Language • Culture • Expertise • Background, context Staff Changes - How to Make Outsourcing Work
  59. 59. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Include all tech writers in meetings, reviews, scrums, defect tracking, wiki/intranet, email list, etc. Document testing, review = key parts of the project schedule Staff Changes - How to Make Outsourcing Work
  60. 60. @SaiffSolutions @davewilks #LavaCon #SaiffSolutions #techcomm Can We Help You? What are your greatest challenges?  Staff changes  Resources/capacity/constraints  Team/personnel  Bureaucracy/management support  Cross-cultural/geographic issues  Other? If Saiff Solutions could assist you in overcoming your challenges, would you be interested in a free consultation?  Yes, please contact me directly.  Not right now, possibly later  No, thank you.
  61. 61. Achieving the Extraordinary: Content Development Management Success With Barry Saiff and Dave Wilks Sunday, Nov. 5, 1:00 PM