These are crazy times, and managers are more challenged than ever. The quality of a company’s management and supervision team goes a long way to defining that company culture… and its bottom line. When companies have untrained managers, they are relying solely on that person’s innate ability to manage. Not surprisingly, half of those managers will do a better job than the other half.
Training your managers has a leveraged impact depending in part on how many people they manage. The average manager in the US is paid roughly $70,000. There are many managers out there who govern a payroll of $1 million or more. Perhaps at your company, they are managing $100,000 in payroll. Either way, an improvement in their management ability by only 10% can have significant financial impacts!
When managers learn how to continually improve their performance, they will have a highly successful career, and you’ll have a very profitable company.
I’ve had the opportunity to train more than 6,000 CEOs and many of their management teams. I get high marks doing so. My strength is a common-sense approach. There will be no rocket science in this program. There will be valuable, easy to understand insights, strategies, and tools to help them become better managers. No matter where they do their managing.
And now, an explanation of the program in greater detail.
Introduction – Why Do You Want to Be A Great Manager?
I begin the program by challenging your managers to define just how good they want to be. Do they want to be above average? What about being in the top 25% or 10% or even 1%! What would be the benefits and challenges associated with being a great manager? What noise or blockages could be in the way of reaching such lofty goals?
As Simon Sinek would say, start with the Why. So that’s what we’ll do. I will have your manager examine precisely why they want to be great at their work. As with all the lessons, I challenge them with a follow-up exercise to do. We want to move from knowingness to doingness.
Lesson 1 - Management 2.0
- Control is dead – control is an old school way of managing people. It is exhausting and ineffective. Control is dead. In its place is what I’ll call inspired collaboration. This drastically changes how managers have to do their jobs.
- The power of trust – if you can’t control people, then you have to trust them. The effectiveness of that manager and the employees they manage is based squarely on the trust they have between each other. That trust is born out of skills and desire, the former which can be tested, and the latter can be assessed.
- Responsibility – in old control-based days, management was 100% responsible for the employee. It was like a parent game – do what I tell you to do, and I’ll take care of you. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any of my employees to think I’m their daddy, and I’m sure your managers feel the same way. We’re dealing with adults. We are only responsible for adults where the law says we are (safety, EEO, etc.) In all other aspects, a manager is responsible to the people they manage – meaning they put them in a position where they are capable of success. That is the ultimate job of a great manager.
Lesson 2- The Math of People (or why every personnel problem eventually becomes a sales problem)
- Employee cost calculator – this is the beginning of my unique conversation around the math of people. Very few people know this, including HR executives and CEOs. Your managers will learn the cost of poor hires, performance management, compliance problems, and other variables that affect the bottom line.
- Revenue equivalency – after running through the cost of managing people, I then help them to understand the revenue equivalency. At any company I’ve worked with, it takes at least $4 in replacement revenue to recoup a $1 loss to the bottom line. This means a $50,000 employee turnover is the equivalent of at least $200,000 in replacement revenue! How many managers realize this truth?
- Activity equivalency – now we go the next step and take that revenue equivalency and turn it into whatever sales activity has to take place to recoup the money. How many new homes have to be built to generate $200,000 in replacement revenue, or new medical patients, or new financial plans? When you tie down the cost- to revenue- to activity, you give your management team an expanded awareness of their role and impact on the bottom-line.
Lesson 3 – Building Your Team
- Hiring and onboarding – this is where it all begins. A manager should be involved in the hiring process at any company. I’ll provide tips of the trade to help recruit, hire, and onboard great employees. Of course, those employees can always watch The Great Employee Program!
- Clarity – now that we’ve got a team assembled, let’s get clear about where we’re taking it. This calibration is required, no matter how long the team has been together. I will share a simple exercise that shows the importance of bringing clarity to communications. I’ll also teach them about goal setting and the importance of moving from Expectations to Agreements.
- Engagement – Now that we’ve got the logical squared away, we want to drive the emotional side of team dynamics. Managers want to create an engaging environment, so employees give it their all, otherwise known as providing their “discretionary effort.”
Lesson 4 – Performance Management
- We begin with the three most important things exercise because performance begins with clarity. Following up on the previous lesson, we now have to break this down to the individual employee level. Once we determine what’s most important, we need to develop quantity and quality benchmarks.
- Engage in dialogue and continuous improvement – annual performance reviews are dead. Ongoing dialogue and improvement have taken their place. These insights will be valuable no matter what technology is being used to manage projects and performance.
- Dealing with poor performers and when to let them go – if a manager has been responsible to the employee and that employee still cannot perform, then they have to be let go with responsibility and grace.
Lesson 5 - Time Management
- I recently heard Elon Musk state that the most difficult decision he had to make is what to do with his time. In my forties, I read The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker, and it changed how I manage my time. The first thing he admonished the executives to do was to know where their time goes.
- Calendaring – a manager needs to plan their week, not wing it. Calendaring is how they make sure strategic objectives get done.
- Delegation – here’s where I stress the importance of managers working in their “highest and best use.” For example, I don’t want to pay $30 per hour to a manager I just promoted out of a $20 an hour job only for them to go back to doing $20 an hour jobs better than the people they manage! I will drive home the importance of delegating low-value work through a standard operating procedure.
Lesson 6- Change Management
- We are experiencing what Buckminster Fuller coined “accelerating acceleration,” meaning change is happening faster and faster, at an accelerating rate. To survive this tsunami of change, your managers need to embrace the continuous evolution of their career and management style.
- As an amateur “futurist,” I will summarize what is changing and a way to look at where their job or industry may be at risk.
- I then help them manage the three types of employees they will have to navigate through this change- the resistors, the sheep, and the champions.
Lesson 7 – Creativity
- The way out of being stuck is with creativity – many of us have the self-talk that we’re not creative or innovative. That’s simply nonsense.
- Creative methods – I’ll briefly introduce them to a few of the more creative ways or methodologies they can employ.
- Last, I’ll share a way to “vet” the worthiness of ideas. This lesson alone should produce solutions that will more than may for attending the program.
- Vetting out the idea – again, I’ll introduce them to a tool that will help them to determine the value of their ideas. I’ll also provide them with a method to have employees generate ideas on a regular basis.
Lesson 8 -Emotional intelligence
- A manager’s EQ is as important as their IQ. We will examine the Emotional Intelligence Quadrant.
- The stories we tell ourselves - so much of our emotional makeup is driven by what I call silent, secret, and hidden stories that largely governed our self-talk. We have stories about the people we work with or manage without even knowing it. I will show them how to examine those stories so they don’t generate disengagement and cause blockages to their growth.
- Listening – this is the most important way to show someone you manage that you care about them. I’ll give them a simple exercise that shows them how to do it right.
Lesson 9 – Ethics
- Just what are good ethics? – I doubt anyone would dare say these are the most ethical of times. Ethics show up in everything from managing performance to making critical, and often conflicting, decisions.
- Caught between a rock and a hard place – the engineers responsible for the Challenger launch were under a great deal of time constraint pressure. They had concerns about the potential O-ring failure but succumbed to “undue influence.” How does the manager navigate out of this tricky situation?
- Speaking up the right way – based on my 30+ years’ experience as an employment lawyer, I share my insight into how to deal with complaints and lodge them where necessary.
Lesson 10 – Career Plan
- As Mary Kay so famously said, “Most people plan their vacations better than their careers.” And…that’s a fact!
- You want your managers to have a career plan. It helps them shape their efforts and think about personal growth. The kind of manager I’d want on my team.
- I will revisit long-term and short-term goal setting. Only this time for their career.
The goal of this program is to make your managers more valuable, so they can in turn make your workforce more valuable. The net result is greater job satisfaction and engagement…with bottom-line impacts!
Bonus Lesson- Managing Your Emotions in Difficult Times – this is a workshop I have provided to hundreds of executives since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. It is a lesson in resilience and antifragility.