Work today is more demanding than ever before. The world of work is\n\nforever changed, with no signs that it will ever go back to the way it\n\nwas.\n\nThe bottom-line orientation required for budget-constrained\n\norganizations is the new way of life. The forever increasing need for\n\noutput without a proportionate increase in manpower is driving\n\nshareholders, executives, and managers to demand more, both from those\n\nwho work for them as well as from themselves. \n\nEveryone is affected, as the burden falls on you, the people you\n\nmanage, the people who manage you, your customers, their customers, and\n\nthe employees and managers at all those places. Everyone is in the same\n\nsituation with the work mantra of today: Do More With Less. People\n\nthroughout the ranks are getting worn down and it involves everyone.\n\nGetting re-charged and tackling tough decisions in these tough\n\ntimes requires a new, hardened approach by managers, with an eye toward\n\npragmatically achieving results. Everyone in any type or size business\n\nfaces this new reality: how to do more with less, deliver more,\n\nincrease more without a total emotional drain. These tough times demand\n\ntough management.\n\nTough management is a way to approach work. It is a practical,\n\nreasonable, and organized way to get to decisions more easily, make the\n\nnumbers on a consistent basis, have those around you understand where\n\nyou stand, and increase the business. The business world today is tougher than it\u2019s ever been, providing a challenging environment to all: \n\n\n\nOver the past few years, workload has increased for 80 percent of\n\nexecutives and managers, and significantly increased for almost half of\n\nthem.\n\nCompensation has not increased significantly for 90 percent of executives and managers.\n\n\n\nThe workplace of today is highly stressed, with 80 percent of\n\nexecutives and managers saying they are stressed, with almost a third\n\nfeeling highly stressed. The reasons, in order, are budget constraints,\n\ndeadlines, customer demands, and the number of hours worked.\n\nThe amount of time executives and managers plan to stay with\n\ntheir organizations is changing, with the majority now planning to stay\n\nyears rather than decades. The social contract between employer and\n\nemployee has disappeared, thanks to actions by both parties.\n\nWhile 95 percent of executives and managers keep a list of\n\nthings to do during the workday, 99 percent of them do not complete the\n\ntasks on those lists.\n\nBusinesspeople today see keeping overall perspective as one\n\nof the most important skills to succeed, with more than two thirds of\n\nthem saying it is the most important skill for them to be successful\n\nboth today and in the future.\n\nIt is a combination of factors such as these that require\n\nmanagers to practice tough management. With tough management, workers\n\nconstantly know where they stand, the focus on results is relentless,\n\nproductivity increases and customers ultimately receive better service.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nChuck Martin\u2019s Seven Rules\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nCommunicate Clearly. Though many senior executives and\n\nmanagers feel they communicate well, the message does not get through.\n\nTough management requires an overabundance of communication that is\n\nclear, concise, timely, and truthful. Clear communication that is\n\nclearly received aligns those creating strategy with those executing\n\nthroughout the ranks.\n\nForce the Hard Decisions. Making the hard decisions\n\nwhen they need to be made at work is tough. The majority of executives\n\nand managers say their superiors do not deal with tough decisions right\n\naway. Managers need to collect all the necessary information available\n\nat the time, make the decision, communicate it, and then move on. The\n\ntoughest decisions involve people, but they still have to be dealt with\n\nin a timely matter. Forcing the hard decisions also requires forcing\n\noffice politics out of the equation. Focus on Results. Tough management requires that\n\nevery person identify exactly the results that matter most at any given\n\ntime, and determine actions that produce those results. This requires\n\nfocus, working smarter and harder, increasing productivity, and\n\ndelegating. It also means being more realistic about what results are\n\nbeing demanded and that the proper tools and timeframe be provided to\n\ndeliver those results.\n\nRemain Flexible. Managers today need to be\n\nself-organized to be able to change directions quickly, to keep pace\n\nwith the changing needs of their organization and customers. Executives\n\nand managers are under increasing stress at work, especially because\n\nthere is more to do than there is time to do it. Tough management\n\nrequires pushing back and saying \u2018no\u2019 at times, as well as \u201cmorphing\u201d\n\nto be flexible. It also requires stopping something at work and viewing\n\nyourself as more of a \u2018virtual enterprise.\u2019 New flexibility can help\n\ndeal with changing employee loyalty.\n\nProve Your Value to the Company. It is essential that\n\nyou align with your company\u2019s values so that you can prove your value\n\ninside the enterprise. This means accepting even more new challenges\n\nand becoming the person everyone turns to for solutions. However, there\n\nis a fine line between proving your value and having the organization\n\ntake advantage of you. Working away from the office and using commuting\n\ntime can help focus more on what you deliver rather than on number of\n\nhours worked.\n\nForce Collaboration. Teamwork at every level is\n\nrequired for tough management. Forced collaboration can be practiced by\n\nmapping vision statements specifically to members of the management\n\nteam, with integrated results. This means new levels of information\n\nsharing and a new willingness to learn. Tough Management Without Being a Tough Guy.\n\nQuantitative results can be delivered without having to be brutal to\n\nsubordinates in the process. Tough management requires executives and\n\nmanagers to pause at work, since workload and hours worked are getting\n\nout of control, potentially causing lost perspective. It means breaking\n\naway, improving employee morale, and taking steps to protect the\n\ntalent. It also involves recognizing people for doing a good job and\n\nproviding what is necessary for them to do their jobs better.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nExcerpted from Tough Management: The 7 Ways to Make Tough Decisions Easier, Deliver the Numbers, and Grow Business in Good Times and Bad (McGraw-Hill, 2005). Copyright 2005 by Chuck Martin.