Ask This 3 Times ❓❓❓

Nov 24, 2021 8:39 pm



Complaints are circling around your organization. The talk is, managers haven't been attentive towards their direct reports. People are angry and fed up. Some have even left for greener pastures.

So leadership has appointed your team the task of training your managers around best practices. You know, the usual topics:

  • Coaching
  • How to run 1:1 meetings
  • Performance reviews
  • etc

So your team sits down to brainstorm ideas on what to do next.


What would you do in this situation? Reply back to this email with your answer.



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In this situation, you might have chosen to follow leadership's command. You design a well-thought-out training program. Complete with flipped classroom activities, small group discussions, role-playing exercises, and retrieval practice. You know your learning science!

The problem didn't work. Nothing changed. People still complain. Yes, managers are better at running their 1:1s, but their direct reports still feel unsupportive.

What's to give?

Well as performance enablers, "training" should be one of many tools we use. And sorry, not every problem needs the training 🔨.

Going back to our example, what you could have done (If your email response contains this, kudos 👏) is first STOP 🛑 and ask, "WHY?" three times.

Q. Why do direct reports feel unsupported?

A. Because their supervisors are too busy to help.

Q. Why are supervisors too busy to help?

A. Because they keep getting assigned to extra projects.

Q. Why are supervisors getting assigned to extra projects?

A. Because leadership refuses to hire new talent and supervisors don't know how they should prioritize their time.

Do you see why having this information would be helpful? Would you devise a big training problem if you knew the root of the problem wasn't solely a lack of supervisory skills?

There are five major components that can affect performance.

  1. Vision
  2. Process
  3. Character/Talent
  4. Incentives
  5. Decision rights

Within this example, you could train your managers all you want. But they're swamped. They don't have time to empower their direct reports. To support and coach them. Heck, they might feel unsupported themselves!

So after your investigation, you decide to:

  1. Get leadership on board with what time resources management needs to devote towards their team.
  2. Push leadership to either hire the freaking talent you need and/or cut any unnecessary projects for managers.
  3. Realign roles, responsibilities, and expectations across the board. Give managers a clear decision-making framework on how to divide their time and understand what's most important.

Your goal is to free up time for supervisors so they can actually supervise. And to give them the ability to say NO when out-of-scope projects come to their desk. All with leadership's buy-in.

Does it fit within their RR&Es? If not, GET IT OUT OF HERE. Once this is completed, THEN you can evaluate what training is needed. Maybe they do some resources around how to delegate. This scenario is simplistic, but you get the point. Don't always assume training will fix the problem.

So next time you want to train, first stop and ask "WHY?" a few times.

Oh, and if you want to download my RR&E template, reply to this email with the phrase "RR&E Template".



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avatar Jessica Singleton
"RR&E Template"
avatar Chris Bentley
RR&E Template