Zopim Chat

Rodney Brim Report

The Rodney Brim Blog

Manager Software in your Brain and on the Screen

May 02, 2011

Manager software, whether it’s connected by neurons in your brain, or electrons
and code on your screen, seems like it should do several things really well.
It should have:

An easy to master juggling manual, along with
A top, that no matter how fast it spins always stays upright,
Loaded dice so that no matter how they land, # 1 always comes to the top, and
A cloud catcher that sucks up murky diffuse globs of information, only loosely
connected at times, and condenses it into a stairway to heaven.

You have something like that don’t you? No?

I could say good manager software should boost or resource your thinking process.
It should allow you to organize, plan and follow-up on projects and supporting tasks,
goals and the people who make it happen.  But if I write it that way, it sounds kind of
flat, like marketing 101, doesn’t it?

I’m sitting here looking at the typical kinds of information that comes across my desk.
Information that someone who is a manager has to deal with daily, and I think how
much it represents such a crazy, more stressful than it needs to be, challenge.

Most of us don’t have the tools to readily absorb information and convert it into
an action plan
that you can easily follow and track. Yet that’s the essense of
managing.  Take a look at the screen shot below.  It’s a web analyst’s report,
citing improvements we need to make to our site.  It’s a good example of what I
want to point out.

Manager information

Scan it for a couple of seconds, then let me ask you a couple of questions, because
this is a very common format for information the manager software in our brain
has to deal with.

1. First of all you couldn’t really scan it effectively could you?  Your brain was
probably wondering what to focus on to  get it all in a couple of seconds.  Our
brains scream for some way to see it all in a sequence, a picture that makes sense.
Note that information as structured in the office products we all use – defies that process.

2. Did you notice how many sub projects and tasks were embedded in even the
first simple paragraph?  How many did you count?  How many did you remember?
If you were getting this report what would you have done with it… because reading
it doesn’t really make any of it move forward?

3. Let me list the tasks and emerging questions that pop up in the first paragraph.

1. All the blogs need to be assessed for what keywords are most appropriate to
their content, but then this is supposed to match up to their content category.
My brain starts immediately asking,
Q1.  So is the content category supposed to be one of the keywords in the blogs?
Q2.  What if the blog content is not a tight fit for the content category, then what?
Q3.  Then my brain is wondering “What’s the definition of similar keywords in
comparing one site to another.  Does that mean similar in my book, Google’s book,…
Q4.  I’m not supposed to mirror the referenced site, so… what does that mean
exactly I’m supposed to do. . .?  But hey, one site is a blog and the other
site is company site, with products and services, I wouldn’t know how to make
them mirrors of each other anyway, so what does it mean in this sequence?

Hey, are you still engaged? Starting to disengage yet? It’s hard to scan and make s
ense of all of this, isn’t it? And we haven’t even got out of the first paragraph yet.
While you’re reading it and somewhere, if your brain is engaged, there’s all these
questions coming up, and then we haven’t even switched to what you’re going to d
o about it, how you’re going to sequence it, what you’re going to do about this
before lunch today… you get the point, right?

Email and word documents quickly get too long, and with all the characters, your
brain doesn’t know what’s critical and what’s stuffing, so there’s all this extra
attention required.  Meanwhile word processing, as a way to relay information,
totally falls down when it comes to formulating a plan.

Why? Because you can’t connect next steps and actions easily enough.  Pretty
soon you’re on the next page and you’re trying to remember what was on the last.
There’s no visual map or diagram to tie it together; tie it into an actionable sequence.
See even this blog is too long.  You’re probably wondering, “Now what was the point?” 😉

You then add phone calls, people walking into your office, dozens if not hundreds
of emails each day and it all starts to accumulate into this building muddle of
information which I find to be very challenging for us all to manage given the
software most of us have in our brain, not to mention our PC.

My point is that our brain manager software looks for connections and tie-ins
pretty quick
.  If there’s a lot of information to absorb, unless we’re motivated
by needing to recite for a test or a task, we start disengaging actively, and move
into a monitoring phase, which results in weak action plans, lots of processing
and not much activity.  Or maybe it just results in one more information packed
email or IM or something to keep the dialogue moving, but sadly not moving that
much closer to an endpoint.

So this is one of the reasons I gravitated to ManagePro when I first found it 15 or
more years ago, and why I keep working on it.  I want it to both match up to my
brain’s needs and next challenge, e.g. support my brain manager software, and
support me actively in the external managing activities of planning, documenting
and achieving great results.

Most people I see are using tools that don’t do a great job of supporting their
internal manager software or external activities, but sure add to the information
and correspondence overload well.

Bottom Line:
There’s manager software in our brain that tries to make sense of it all, prioritize
and act on what’s next.  That’s the essence of managing.  Using standard manager
software tools, we don’t feed our brain information in a format that makes it
easy to work with.
On top of that, most of us have management tools that only
add to the information clutter, not focus it into a plan and deliverables.  That’s
one of the best things ManagePro provides for me, because ultimately  no matter
how much information you need to get your arms around, you need to do
something, be able to track and follow-up, and gauge your process multiple times
a day– without it costing you and arm and a leg.  Let’s make managing easier and
use better management tools.  But maybe the first step is realizing that the
information age hasn’t caught up with what our brain needs yet.


Related Posts

7 Comments. Leave new

Marketing online has improved its processes due to the various software programs developed every year.


I really like all this but am having the hardest time finding the right software tools for managing tasks when 90% of the software out there has bugs or is incompatible with certain plugins. Multi-tasking would be much simpler if a good and complete management system to avail itself, minus the bugs.


The article does a nice job of introducing this unique system, but it does not do it nearly as much justice as the television infomercial. Once you see it in action, a myriad of possibilities pop up in your mind. Suddenly, you think of so many uses for it in your life that you wouldn’t otherwise consider. Besides the personal touch it provides for occasions and the great accompanying gift cards it can produce, the printing system itself makes a wonderful gift for someone who is outgoing and has an active social life.


If they could take some ones brain and make it a software package then Manager Pro might come close to that but not quite. There is still the issue of multi-tasking and I don’t think there is anything out there that does that the way your brain can. It is a tough problem to solve but bottom line I think you will always need both to accomplish anything.


That is an excellent point you made with that visual screen capture shot of typical memo / report. I cannot tell you how much it bugs me, the number of people (almost all of them) who do not take the time to write a clear and concise memo. It seems they are in too much of a hurry and so they just press send as soon as possible. They don’t want to make the effort to read what they just wrote twice to make sure it’s clear and form their paragraphs separating them when necessary and emphasizing key points by either highlighting them or by separating them or putting them at the top of the message. That screen shot really drove your point home.


That memo was very encouraging…It made me want to look away! In fact, I could barely look at it without feeling some disgust because I have seen that sort of laggard attitude in the way employees write their progress reports. That is not to say that most workers are slack in all of their duties. I suppose by the time workers get done with a hard day’s work, they feel spent or by that time, they are excited to be finished and have their sights set on what they’re going to do when they get home. So their tendency is to put as little thought into charting / organizing their reports that they do the minimum and that winds up being of minimal use to the project manager. Unless of course they are equipped with a software that does all the organizing for them.


The email screen shot you provided as an example brings up something I encounter on a regular basis. I am often accused by some people with whom I work, of being slow when I am expected to produce a memo or a proposal. I guess they are used to slapping together the writing in a rushed manner, not paying any attention to how it looks to another person, as long as it gets done fast. And that is the problem with most people in the work force. They have become conditioned to focusing on getting things done in as little amount of time as possible. What they do not care to realize is that all they are doing is passing the buck – or passing on the burden to the recipient to have to read and even re-read their jumbled mess in order to comprehend it. It is a sad fact, that passing the buck’ has become commonplace in most organizations.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *