how to motivate and empower globally-competitive teams of content professionals

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On Management

On ManagementBarry C. Saiff

Technical communications leader32 years of technical documentation experienceLed writing teams at 6 US companies Founded Saiff Solutions, Inc. in 2011Provides content development to Fortune 500 companies in Japan & USLoves acronyms

About the Speaker: Barry Saiff

AGENDAWho are we?Management: A Sacred TrustKeys to Success: CARVE (Caring, Access, Respect, Vision, Expect Excellence!)The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Technical WritersTHRIVE (Training, Heard, Respect, Vision, Empower)IntegrityPowerful Motivation: SLAP! (Success, Learning, Accurate Feedback, Praise)Managing Cross-Cultural TeamsWhat is your challenge?Questions?


QUESTION: Where are you located?Please type your country and city in the chat window.


QUESTION: What are Your Interest/Experience in Managing Technical Writers?Have you experienced:Managing a team of writers?Leading a team, without management authority?Managing outsourced or off-shore writers?Hiring? Firing?Working for a good manager?Working for a not-so-good manager?What else?


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

build careers achieve miracles treat people fairly develop lifelong relationships of trust

Management is a sacred trust. As a manager, at any level, you have the power to:

turn lives aroundempower people to be more effective and more productiveenable people to learn things that make them more successfulturn the enterprise around

Management is a sacred trust. As a manager, at any level, you have the power to:

CaringThe fundamental way of being of a manager is caring.A manager cares about the results.A manager cares about the process.A manager cares about the people.A manager cares about the enterprise.

Picture a mother in an inner city. The city is very loud. To be able to sleep, she must ignore the sounds. Yet, when her baby cries, she wakes up. That is the level of caring that a manager is.


A manager is trusted with power that they must always use to benefit the enterprise and support the staff. A manager faces many opportunities to abuse that power, and cause harm to the enterprise and the staff. A manager must, at times, be selfless, and act against their own (narrowly conceived) self-interest.


CaringA good manager is a creator of healthy administration, and an enemy of bureaucratic corruption, inertia, and injustice. The mission, the customers, the enterprise, the people, and the results are always more important than the rules. Rather than offering excuses for ineffective actions or policies, a good manager strives for continuous improvement, rational administration, fairness, and productivity gains.


CaringHave you ever thought about management in terms of caring?

Please click Yes if this is not a new idea to you.



AccessYour people need regular access to you, and you need access to your management.Have you ever had difficulties or stress at work because your manager had no time for you?Please click Yes or No.

It is unacceptable to accuse or blame someone in front of others. It is counterproductive to accuse or blame someone in private. 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.


Being Respectful

It is unacceptable to raise your voice in anger, use profanity, or act in a less than civil or business-like manner. A manager knows how to manage their emotions, without dumping them on people in the workplace.A manager understands the difference between passion and emotion, and is not controlled by emotions. A manager is responsible for the impact of his or her actions.A manager does not react. A manager creates.


Being Respectful

Expand the realm of what you consider yourself responsible for.Do not accept being treated with less than respect.Give yourself a break. You will make mistakes, in fact, you must make some mistakes in order to learn how to improve.


Being Respectful of yourself

VisionWithout 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?Please click Yes or No.


Dr. Wayne Dyer was well known for the idea, based on extensive research, that we create what we expect.Be very aware of your expectations. Choose them wisely.Expect Excellence!

QUESTION: What, in your experience, are the most difficult management issues?Please speak up, or type in the chat window. Well address a few issues now, and others later.


Vision1. DONT TAKE IT PERSONALLY a (learn)

7 Habits of Highly Effective Technical Writers

Great technical writers thrive on criticism. They understand that it enables them to improve, and to improve the accuracy and readability of their content. So, dont take criticism personally. Use it to your advantage.2. LEARN BEFORE ASKING a (respect, impress)Learn as much as you can from available resources before asking questions. In this way, you can respect others time and impress your colleagues with your ability to ask intelligent questions.

3. ASK a (often)Technical writing requires good people skills. Dont attempt it alone. Ask questions. Ask for help.Pick 3 of your favorite writers. If you were able to see their first drafts, youd probably think, I can do much better. The best writers in the world are the best re-writers. Always rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite some more.

4. REWRITE a (always)

Vision5. ACQUIRE FEEDBACK a (test, reviews)

7 Habits of Highly Effective Technical WritersTechnical writing is almost never 100% on the first draft. Without adequate testing and review, accuracy is often unattainable. Make sure you get the feedback you need to excel.6. UNDERSTAND a (before publishing)

When you start, you may not fully understand your subject matter. Thats fine. By the time you publish, make sure you do understand. If you dont understand what you write, your readers are not likely to understand it, either.7. CONTRIBUTE

Notice things. Does the prototype work as expected? Are the user interface labels capitalized consistently? Ask questions. Make suggestions. Be a part of the product team.If you write something, you need to understand what you wrote. Even if it is just a draft to show your editor, you need to either a) fully understand what you wrote, or b) have a list of questions. Do not write a sentence that you yourself do not understand.

Expect Excellence!

Empower Excellence: THRIVEA manager operates at a high level of INTEGRITY. This requires a deep respect for the power of your own words, actions, and ways of being. This includes:Being careful not to promise too much, or raise expectations too high. However, not too low either expect great things of yourself!Being responsible for your impact on the self-image and performance of others.Keeping your promises. When you cannot, pro-actively take responsibility for mitigating the impacts on others.Modelling the behaviors, attitudes, and approaches you want to develop in the staff.

Expect Excellence!

I Integrity:

Empower Excellence: THRIVE

Always examining how you might be the source of the problemLearning from every mistake or failure, and from every successNot cutting corners with integrity do not deceive, break the law, or let yourself off the hook; do not share information prematurely or inappropriatelyWorking at least as hard, and smart, as your staff.Holding yourself accountable for the performance and results of your team

Managing Cross Cultural TeamsThree Key Success Factors:Mix cultures and locations. Having a mix of cultures in one location makes a huge difference.Ensure editing, quality control, and inclusion. Make sure writers in each location/of each culture have the advantages they need to succeed.

One of the key success factors for Saiff Solutions, Inc. is that our Filipino writers in the Philippines work with American, Canadian, and Filipino editors and managers in the Philippines, as well as American and Indian editors who are remote. Our editors have at least 9 years of technical writing/editing experience each.

Managing Cross Cultural Teams3. 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?Learn how to listen newly, to hear what you are missing, and to speak newly, to add what you assume and others do not. Youll need to continually expand your awareness to new levels.You cannot succeed in this without getting to know people well.

Managing Cross Cultural TeamsManagement entails awesome responsibility and awesome opportunity. Both are magnified by a mixture of cultures. For example, 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 unknowingl


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