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Ed Reynolds

Ed Reynolds

Ed Reynolds is a management veteran of over 20 years. After being dubbed "little Hitler" by one of his first direct reports, he began a career-long quest to identify and practice good management skills. His blog is focused on real-world management skills, including delegating, coaching, managing up and other topics of interest for first-time and veteran managers. You won't find much of this in textbooks – Ed writes from firsthand experiences.

Ed is currently a Global Account Manager for Symantec, calling on major OEMS like HP and Dell. Prior to Symantec, Ed held executive positions in marketing and product management at Dell, Compaq and Motorola. He also spent four years as the CMO for a fabless semiconductor startup in the security space. Before joining the supply side, Ed held IT management positions in the financial services industry, including commercial banking and brokerage. He has managed in-house consultants, cross-functional teams, data center operations people, product managers, product marketers, software, hardware, applications and systems engineers, business development and sales people.

Ed holds a BS in Marketing from Western Illinois and an MBA in Economics/Finance from Northwestern.

A Day at the Oscars
By Ed Reynolds
The company is in somewhat of an uproar. The CEO has announced a new corporate strategy and organization structure. He holds a company-wide meeting where all this is presented in some detail. His candor encourages a lot of difficult questions from the audience. A key focus area is on increasing span of control but he makes sure everybody knows what he means…we have too many managers and we will be flattening the organization...many managers will lose their jobs. He also comments that sales compensation plans are going to change. Top-line revenue doesn’t drive the right behavior; everybody needs to be... Read More»

Managing With Consultants
By Ed Reynolds
If you have been managing for more than a few years, you have been in the situation where you needed some outside help to complete a project. Sometimes you request the help yourself but sometimes your management supplies the help without asking you - how uncomfortable is that? That can create the perception with the consultant that they are there to clean up your mess and they show up with “the attitude.” If you value your team, check with them before you hire consultants to help them and make sure consultants know where they fit in the organization. I knew... Read More»

Managing Out
By Ed Reynolds
Perhaps the most difficult job a manager faces is dealing with an employee that just isn’t performing up to expectations. Even if you’ve been coaching them all along and their performance is no surprise to them, taking the formal steps to manage them out of your organization is painful for both of you. With any luck, they already have another position lined up. Regardless of how well prepared they are, you need to be prepared. The first step is to give the employee a fighting chance to redeem themselves, as soon as the performance problem becomes apparent. Remember, that it... Read More»

Make Your Boss Look Good
By Ed Reynolds
My uncle once told me, "The best way to get ahead in your career is to always be prepared to do your boss' job and then work like heck to get them promoted." One of the most fundamental principles of good management (and career management) is making your boss look good. In an ideal world, good managers surround themselves with great people, give them directional guidance and sit back to watch them do wonderful things that grow the business. I feel like I am contributing best when I build and execute my own plan. I want my boss to give... Read More»

Managing in Superstar Cultures
By Ed Reynolds
Do you want everybody on your team to be a superstar? Having lots of superstars can be an ego boost for a manager and even make the day-to-day work go smoothly but it can also have serious negative consequences. This is an area where courage to deviate from the norm comes in handy. I worked for a company that viewed everybody at a certain grade level –call it grade 10 - as a director candidate. They had to be smart, have a commanding presence and carry a workload that promoted frequent executive visibility. At review time, grade 10s received the... Read More»

Managing Key Talent
By Ed Reynolds
Every manager with more than 3 direct reports can identify somebody on their team as "key talent." These are the employees that know what is and isn't working in the group, help guide the junior employees and take a lot of critical work upon themselves to ensure it gets done right. If you haven't identified key talent, you should. And if you have, here are some tips for keeping them interested and on your side. I hired a guy to manage a product for me several years ago and quickly realized that he was special. He knew our technology space... Read More»

Managing the Administrivia
By Ed Reynolds
Sometimes the paperwork and administrative tasks required by an organization are daunting, especially at review time. And as managers, there are so many more important things to do than all that paperwork, right? Wrong! One of the key things you do as a manager is keep ahead of company processes, do what you can to ensure they make sense, and, sensible or not, keep your team in the know and their paperwork up-to-date. I had a manager that was on the road a lot and didn't prioritize the administrative functions of his job. The bulk of our commission check came... Read More»

Managing Up Part II - What Motivates Your Boss?
By Ed Reynolds
It goes without saying that managing up involves understanding how your boss gets paid and what business objectives are most important to them. But do you know what really motivates them? What they fear? Do you know what they really want from you? Managing up is the art of answering these questions. The last time I discussed managing my boss' tendency to "think out loud," and the churn it could cause. Today I want to bring a couple "drivers" into focus. I worked for a VP in one company that really didn't want to know what I was doing day... Read More»

Managing Up
By Ed Reynolds
We all know doing a great job is rarely enough to be successful as a manager. Sometimes, understanding the nuances of your boss' personality is a lot more important than how you actually perform on the job. I had a VP at one company that enjoyed yelling, "Jump!" and seeing how quickly everybody would comply. He wasn't malevolent; he just really enjoyed having a staff that waited on him. His admin waited on his every word. We joked that she removed people from his favourite stall when he needed to go to the restroom. But his style made everybody say,... Read More»

Hiring Better Than You
By Ed Reynolds
The current environment levies huge taxes on any leader. The economy is forcing business model changes. Technology continues to evolve at breakneck speed, at once increasing and confusing options. Digital marketing and social media are changing the way you create an image and how it is perceived by customers, suppliers and competitors. No leader can stay in front of all that by him/herself. Skilled employees can help you to navigate the turbulence without losing momentum. I had been out of the mainstream of systems management for a few years when I joined a major OEM to lead their systems management... Read More»

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