Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Managing the French

Did you ever hear of a course for managers to learn how to manage Dutch teams, Belgian teams, Italian teams,... ? No? Well, I have spent the past 2 days in a course to learn how to manage French people...
The sole existence of this kind of training shows how difficult it is to effectively manage teams of French people without stepping out of line, without being accused of bullying. How do I get them to come in earlier? Come to the meetings on time? Take shorter coffee and lunch breaks? I am not kidding, we addressed it all. It also teaches us managers how to go about firing people when the system actually prevents you from doing so (of course after the needed reminders on how to motivate people, how to manage performance etc). I can tell you that I learned a lot. We - a bunch of Dutch, English, American and Belgian managers - were god-smacked.
Useful? Yes. Funny? Hell yeah... at times it resembled group therapy. And lots of hilarious moments...
The icing on the cake was that apparently French managers struggle with the same problems as we do. Go figure that out!
We have only one additional pledge: please make our Executive Committee members take this course too ;-)

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