Successful managers are effective managers

New demands on managers

Success factors for managers and executives in advancement

by Oliver Recklies

Today's day-to-day management is determined by partly paradoxical developments. Everyday life in the company moves back and forth between different extreme points - it varies between concentration and diversification or between lean management and corporate growth. Management often needs a steady flow of new or conflicting approaches, like a tree needs water to grow. Often every trend creates a counter-trend: If the number of mergers continues to climb to new heights, the next trend is the wave of divorces. If everyone outsources, insourcing is in again soon.


These developments (or even their possibilities) place new demands on today's managers. Basically, it is no longer valid. In the past, executives issued instructions and had an answer to a lot or even everything. Those who knew the most answers rose the fastest. Today, however, the speed of change has increased and many issues have become more complex.

As a result of these developments, executives have to try to break out of old ways of thinking. All assumptions have to be questioned completely and strategic taboo areas have to be pushed back.


Companies basically need new managers and a new workforce. Susan Annunzio describes the workforce with a 20/60/20 rule under the aspect of the development potential of companies.

20% of the employees are high performers who work with passion. They implement 80% of a company's strategy.

20% of the employees are the so-called "sediment". They cannot follow the changes and try to maintain the company's status quo. This can also include board members or, if necessary, even the chairman of the board.

The other 60% is the midfield, which fluctuates between the other two positions.


In order to get the company on a successful course or to keep it on one, it is necessary to reduce the share of the sediment and make part of the middle field high performers. Put simply: Unleash the creative ideas of the employees. Then a previously unloved job becomes an interesting one that is no longer perceived as such. If employees are allowed to use their creative potential more intensively, they are usually much more committed, work better, longer and more effectively.



Professional qualifications alone are no longer sufficient to achieve long-term success in a company. To be in the right place at the right time - paired with the essential characteristics foresight, tenacity and perseverance, but also respect and integrity towards superiors, subordinates, equals and yourself - are the critical success factors. If you want to be a manager, you shouldn't just bustle through the company corridors with a grim poker face, but should also show human traits. In plain language: A potential manager treats every employee politely and courteously as an individual and not just as a mere resource of human capital.


Jeffrey Fox (author of "How to become a CEO") set up rules for the steep ascent. Not all of them are “rocketscience”, but many of them can help ambitious managers in dynamic environments to achieve maximum success with optimal use of resources and at the same time not have to write off their private life. The latter in particular is a point that should not be underestimated. According to a survey, around 70% of executives are satisfied with their relationships - however 50% are involved in divorces or separations. Boss aspirants should reserve their free time and evenings for their families and hobbies.



  1. Always take the job that is best paid.
  2. Line jobs (here: management tasks) are better than staff jobs (employees without management responsibility).
  3. Don't expect HR to plan your career. Especially not in large companies.
  4. No business without customers.
  5. Keep your body fit.
  6. Strengthen your personality.
  7. Don't write a nasty memo.
  8. Think for an hour each day.
  9. Create an idea book and use it too.
  10. Never go out for a drink with colleagues.
  11. Do not smoke.
  12. Avoid business parties.
  13. Friday is your communication day.
  14. Win the employees of your colleagues as allies.
  15. Make a note of all the names.
  16. Organize recognition tours.
  17. Always do more than the average.
  18. Work an hour more. (Come three quarters of an hour earlier and leave a quarter of an hour later. That is one hour per day and thus 210 hours = 26 days p.a.)
  19. Don't take any work home with you.
  20. Work on the plane instead of reading crime stories.
  21. Maintain your contacts.
  22. Write by hand often.
  23. The boss is not your best friend.
  24. There is nothing good, unless you do it.
  25. Take regular vacations.
  26. Do not refuse a request from your supervisor.
  27. No boss likes surprises.
  28. Your boss should look good - and his boss even better.
  29. Don't let a good boss make mistakes.
  30. Never stop learning.
  31. Read certain books.
  32. Clothes make the man.
  33. People are the best investment.
  34. Better to pay your employees too much than too little.
  35. Stop - first look and listen.
  36. Just don't panic ... and no outbursts of anger.
  37. Don't speak technical jargon.
  38. “Surprise bonuses” work wonders.
  39. Please treat everyone politely.
  40. Say “Please” and “Thank you”.
  41. The family is your most important customer



© Oliver Recklies, March 01



Jeffrey J. Fox: This is how I get the box. The golden rules for advancement. Econ 1999, Munich


Peter Littmann: Oscillodox. Virtualization - The permanent reinvention of the organization. Velcro Kotta 2000


Susan Annunzio: eLeadership. Proven Techniques for creating an environment of speed and flexibility in the digital age. Simon and Schuster 2001