Management is ultimately about problem-solving. Oftentimes those answers aren’t readily apparent because humans are involved, and they are definitely more complex aspects of any problem!
Today’s guest for Mads Singers Management Podcast, Zuzana Dobro, is someone who, like me, likes solving these human problems. Zuzana helps entrepreneurs think transformationally. She’s spent over a decade consulting both in-house and with agencies on customer and user experience. She’s worked with startups, Fortune 500 companies, and everything in between.
Early in the episode Zuzana and I talked about relationships. I noted that there are some people who are particularly talented in SEO but for some reason have absolutely no talent at building relationships. One of the most important things in management is to build relationships with the people who work for you. Not only does that make for a more cohesive work environment, it’ll also increase team productivity.
Relationship-building is what Zuzana does when she is working with teams that cannot come to a consensus. She relishes the chance to brainstorm, facilitate, and use the fact that she’s not a direct stakeholder to bring objectivity and a solution-oriented approach. I agreed with her and stress with my clients that it’s not about “winning” or “losing” when getting to a consensus for a decision, but finding a solution that presents the best outcome for everyone.
Zuzana asked me about how I screen for clients and I told her one of the very first things I look at is personality, particularly DISC. If I don’t think I’ll be able to coach someone based on their personality, I won’t take them. I also put all potential clients through my management course. The goal here is to try to pre-emptively address some issues so that when we do finally get to coaching, we share a common vocabulary and methodology. Zuzana noted that when she doesn’t feel comfortable with a potential client she’s very happy to refer that business out and keeps up relationships with colleagues in order to do just that.
Part of keeping up those relationships is keeping your word, and Zuzana talked about how small the business world can be, and how you can’t afford to develop a bad relationship as a management coach: don’t burn bridges as entrepreneurs are always sharing information…as well as the names of good, as well as bad, service providers with each other.
- Mads shares a weakness of those who excel in SEO – 6:58
- Zuzana notes a key trait of good managers – 9:35
- Mads underlines the importance of setting expectations of communication with clients – 12:35
- Zuzana reminds us that reputation really does matter – 16:35
- Mads explains how he screens for clients – 20:35
- Mads discusses a strategy for shaping decisions prior to a meeting – 25:40
- Zuzana offers an alternative strategy when there isn’t consensus prior to a meeting – 30:13
- Mads talks about the difference between outcomes and solutions – 41:10
- Mads notes how communication has to change when chasing bigger clients – 43:00