Master Your Middle Management Universe, How to Succeed With Moga Moga Management Using 3 Easy Steps!

By Mary Elston

Table of Contents and Book Excerpts

  • Introduction
  • PART I:
  • PART II:

  • What is Moga Moga Management?

    “Moga Moga: means “get a move on”! Get the job done now, get the job done right! Where did Moga Moga come from? Read on…


    Says author Mary Elston, “Moga Moga” is a phrase I grew up with; my Italian dad said it every time he wanted his kids to get going and get things done right. He couldn’t remember when he first came up with the term, but I remember whenever he wanted us to accomplish something he would always tell us to “Moga Moga!” Moga Moga easily adapts to the business world as a useful way to recall how to achieve “make a difference” management. I use the letters in “MOGA” as an acronym (see below) that reminds managers of key skills and characteristics they should apply every day for success.

    How do you manage your team to get things done? The 3 easy methods for Moga Moga management — Assess, Address, Finesse — and related Moga Moga Morals, give you short cuts and techniques you need to get going! With Moga Moga management you can:

    • M – Motivate, get your team going
    • O – Organize, provide structure and resources
    • G – Guide, manage and support individual and team efforts
    • A – Achieve, help your team be successful

    Practical business examples and worksheets are included in the program. Check out Product Information for more details.

  • PART IV:
    • Three Moga Moga Methods
    • Moga Moga Morals in Assess, Address, Finesse
    • Worksheets for Moga Moga Management Methods

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PART I: Calling All Middle Managers

Simon was ready. With the company for three years, he had consistently received high marks in his performance evaluations and was known as the “get it done” guy. When a manager’s position became available in his department, he talked to his supervisor about it. The possibility of winning the job had dragged on for a couple of months, but finally he landed it — and felt great about it.

Having won the manager’s spot, Simon began his new role with seven people reporting to him. He’d supervised several large projects before, yet was still concerned about his new position. He had several questions but was reluctant to ask them, not wanting to appear inadequate in front of his new boss.

Within a few weeks of taking on this new role, though, Simon realized he didn’t have the authority he thought he’d have. He was receiving demands from his boss on a number of issues along with pressure from his team members on those issues and more. And he realized something else — exactly what it meant to be a manager caught in the middle.

The term “middle management” is oxymoronic. Because an oxymoron is a combination of contradictory words, if middle management were truly management, it wouldn’t be in the middle; it would be on top. Just like bitter sweet; if it were truly bitter, it wouldn’t be sweet. By definition, a manager manages others to produce results in a specific area of responsibility. Now, not every manager can be the “top dog” or the “big cheese.” If you’re a middle manager, you know that despite having to navigate from the middle of the management heap.

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Getting Started With Moga Moga Management

Before talking specifically about the three Moga Moga Management methods, let’s pull together the ingredients you’ll need to function as a middle manager. (I can feel my Italian heritage creeping in again. Mama mia! Alright already! You can’t make the cannoli for dessert until you pull together the ingredients — the shells, the filling, the chocolate shavings on the top — yum.) The first ingredient: Find out what your boss wants you to do. That’s right. Before you begin a new management role, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth, know what’s expected of you and your team. While this sounds outrageously simplistic, it’s amazing how many people in newly assumed management positions begin without taking this crucial step. How do you know what’s expected? You ask. That brings us to the Moga Moga moral for getting started.

Moga Moga Moral for Getting Started: Ask about what’s expected and proactively propose a plan to meet the expectations.

You may be wondering, “Isn’t having a plan something my new boss would arrange for me?” Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it’s critical to account for what you do as soon as you begin doing it. Get started on the right foot. Arrange to have a baseline discussion with your new supervisor and be ready to proactively lay out a plan for your new assignment. Go in with a plan, look sharp, and be ready. The second ingredient —

Moga Moga Management — Three Easy Methods

Moga Moga Method Number 1: Assess — ” analyze . . .

Moga Moga Method Number 2: Address — find out if . . .

Moga Moga Method Number 3: Finesse — fine-tune . . .

Here’s what these Moga Moga Methods will help you do:

M = MOTIVATE — get your team going

O = ORGANIZE — provide structure and resources

G = GUIDE — lead, manage, support

A = ACHIEVE — help your team be successful

From here on in, “Moga Moga” becomes your management chant — that bouncy beat that keeps rolling through your head and jumping off your tongue. Once you experience the efficiencies and productivity benefits of the Moga Moga methods, you’ll gain additional pride in your group’s performance and find yourself saying…

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Moga Moga Method Number 1: Assess

The Assess method requires two major activities:

A) Take stock

B) Define roles

Take stock

The Assess phase is all about the way things are being done now. From the outside looking in, you may have preconceived notions about how your newly acquired group is functioning. Guess what? You don’t know the half of it. There’s always a pile of pesky issues hiding in a corner. Go in with a positive attitude, an open mind, a wide-angle view of what’s happening today — and understand the basis for what makes your group tick. Make sure you ask your team the following questions . . .

The Assess Step: A Business Example . . .

Susan was promoted to manage an existing group in her company. She had previously worked at a peer level with many of the eight people in her new group, so she knew some of them. From the outside looking in, it appeared to her that the group was doing well. Although her new team members were executing their duties fairly well, she faced underlying problems with missed deadlines, average productivity, and lack of focus. She also discovered low-key conflict issues between certain team
members. Rather than try to pinpoint any one problem associated with any one person, Susan decided to use the Moga Moga Method Number 1 for getting to know her team members and their current situation. Through the Assess method of “taking stock” . . . she learned that her new team wasn’t . . .

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Bringing the Three Moga Moga Methods Together

As you can see, the three Moga Moga methods for mastering middle management challenges build on each other in a progressive manner. Specifically, the information learned in Assess helps move you through Address, and what you learned in both Assess and Address helps move you through Finesse. Each method provides additional clarity and enlightenment for the next method. This is how it should be, isn’t it? Middle management requires ongoing learning at every turn, similar to the continual learning that takes place with all the Moga Moga methods.

Keep that in mind as you apply your fresh Moga Moga knowledge again and again. When you do, you’ll notice how well it works, over and over. Each time you pull out these Moga Moga tools to help you tackle another middle management hurdle, you’ll find a variety of ways they clarify your management thought process. Caution: By now, you have noticed how these three easy methods are adaptable and flexible. Adapt them — yes. But skip them — no. Feel free to adapt the three Moga Moga methods to adjust for different circumstances… while adapting the methods, make sure you stay the course as you progressively work through — Assess, Address, and Finesse, generating the most favorable results for you and your team.

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PART II: Taking Team Performance to the Next Level

Moga Moga Management and the Meet to Succeed Program

Once you have completed the three Moga Moga methods for mastering middle management — Assess, Address and Finesse — you should begin to see positive changes in team performance. However, in highly interactive teams that require individuals to depend on each other for success, certain problems may reoccur. This isn’t necessarily because you’ve missed something in the Moga Moga process. More likely it’s because you need an added level of communication and deliberate team interaction to cover a myriad details. As a middle manager, you can Moga Moga your team to the next level by putting in place a “Meet to Succeed” program. This involves different types of meetings and a plan for covering unexpected tasks that may develop. It is essential for:

  • keeping success on track
  • holding specific meetings for a specific purpose
  • making sure expected and unexpected tasks are covered consistently.

With “Meet to Succeed,” all meetings that take place end with next steps and real benefits. The time taken for these meetings is time that’s intentionally limited but well spent. A “Meet to Succeed” session helps catch the small tasks that can be easily overlooked in a busy, highly interdependent, fast paced business environment. It allows you as a Moga Moga manager to capture and complete them before they fester into big problems. It also enables and encourages essential communication between team members on detailed issues. That way, your group can be as ready as possible for every circumstance that occurs — both expected and unexpected.

“Meet to Succeed” works on three layers or levels — high, mid, and low. Each layer contributes to team interaction and clarifies ongoing communication as well as any special assignments. The high and mid layers include two different types of group meetings. It also features a program for rotating special assignments covering unexpected needs that arise. The low layer supports the layers above it with one-on-one meetings and individual communication, coaching, and updates that may
be needed between you, the Moga Moga manager, and each team member. One of these layers involves . . .

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PART III: Good Managers, Bad Managers

As you master the Moga Moga management steps and put in place your “Meet to Succeed” program, think about what makes a good manager in the big scheme of things — particularly a good middle manager.

Just because people carry the title “manager” doesn’t mean they manage people well. Taking my childhood into account, you could think of it this way: Just growing up in an Italian family doesn’t mean you like spaghetti (but I do anyway). Just being raised Catholic doesn’t mean that you had to be named Mary (but I was anyway — at least my sisters ended up with other names to avoid confusion).

The point is this: Whenever I’ve asked my peers in an unofficial, non-scientific survey how much of their working lives they’ve had “bad” middle managers, the percentage is alarmingly high. Their responses indicated 75 to 80 percent of the time! Can you believe it? This means only 20 to 25 percent of the time they’ve had good managers. This result may be similar to the percentage of good teachers you had growing up, or good baby sitters or even good coaches. Generally, people remember the top 20 to 25 percent who were particularly great at providing guidance for growth and achievement. You may even recognize these characteristics in other influential people who have contributed to your success.

Characteristics of Managers, Good and Bad

With my Moga Moga management curiosity consistently turned up to “high,” I always look for more input. So when I asked people to state the characteristics of good and bad managers, here’s a summary of what they said:

  • A good manager must, first and foremost, have . . .

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PART IV: More Moga Moga Methods to Remember

Top 20 Moga Moga Morals

You’ve already learned several Moga Moga morals as part of the three steps for mastering middle management. Here, I’ve listed an additional Top 20 Moga Moga Morals discovered in my 20+ years in middle management. May they help you manage better and manage right!

1) Keep an open mind. Whether starting a new job, hiring a new employee, getting a new manager, meeting a new team — it’s all like dating — you never know what people are really like until you’ve been around them for a while. There’s “good” and “not so good” wherever you go. Give yourself a chance to get to know your team and your new management role before forming an opinion and making judgments.

2) Inform as the norm. Keep your team informed about factors affecting your expectations, their performance, and what will help them be more successful. Inform “down” to your team and “up” to your boss consistently.

3) Be nice. Be pleasant and reasonably agreeable (but not patronizing) with everyone. This is particularly important during the first three months you are with a new company or become a new manager — even if you have to grit your teeth at times. It helps build credibility as a team player and as a positive person with whom others will want to align and build rapport. At the same time, act with managerial authority when needed (yes, you have to walk a fine line at times). And while you are being nice, don’t be a wimp; wimps get no respect.

4) Keep it clean. Using foul language demeans your character. Vent your…

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