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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Manager Training and memories of MTP (Managing Thru People)

July 2017

Long ago and far away, I and others had Intel front-line manager (FLM) training.

Courses: There were online and internal training courses that led to Mgr. paths.  Most were good, some not.  The best thing about the in-person courses was always meeting others as managers and discussing the situations that arose, and getting feedback and new perspectives on your own situations too.

MTP: A bunch of us wanna-be's and actuals went away for a week (to a place with great food!) and worked on how to be a better manager.  This was called "Managing Thru People" (don't snicker! That's the title. I still have the pin and lanyard.)  It really was about how not be an Individual Contributor, and how to do those skills of managing people.  It was a fun and challenging course, especially the project on the last day. The skills are different from being an engineer, and I've always respected those I worked with who were able to pull those off (shout out to you, DanD!)

But then MTP vanished.  And apparently some of the other manager training did too or was curtailed.  I was made aware of that by some recent anonymous posts by an Intel FLM (see references below). Seems like development paths for managers had taken a back seat.

IOPEC unfortunately that vanished a long time back in the early 90's. (IOPEC=Sr. VPs would go once or twice a year and give a 2-3 hour discussion and lecture in person, on how Intel works from their perspective.  AWE-some events for those who could attend them.)

So it was with some interest that I learned of Google's Project Oxygen back in 2009.  It started with the premise that, to paraphrase, "We don't need no stinkin' managers!"

But the actual conclusion they came to was kind of the opposite.  "We do need managers. And what if everyone had a Great Manager?"

Project Oxygen came up with 8 Rules and an upward feedback survey and much more, but I don't know how much they really still use it.  It would be interesting to hear that from inside Google.

The re:Work teams' copies of the Google Guides are a good place to start to get more details, and as a course of self-study.

  •  https://rework.withgoogle.com/guides/managers-develop-and-support-managers/steps/review-googles-new-manager-training/

If you want more, well I guess you can Google it! (-:    It's now part of Silicon Valley lore.

Bottom line: Managing is a different set of skills than you may have been trained for as a technical specialist.  (Chemist, Engineer, Programmer, Machinist, etc.)  Learn to recognize those who are great managers and maybe if they have helped you, and you can learn to help them too.  And if you choose at some point a management path, well get some of those skills solidly under your belt.   Heck, get them under your belt even if you DON'T follow a management career.  They can help you no matter what.  Learning to "Manage Up" is always a useful skill no matter what org you are in.

--Richard Vireday 


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