• James Walton

A Simple Model for Getting the Best Out of Your People

A quick three step sequence to demonstrate something you already know:

  1. The strength of an organization is, fundamentally, the strength of its people.

  2. The organization's growth is, therefore, tied to the growth of its people.

  3. The leader's primarily role is, therefore, to promote the growth of their people.


So with that in mind, here's a four step model to help you promote the growth of your people. This model originated with Mike Horstman and the good folks at Manager Tools, I'm simply synthesizing it for you here: The goal of coaching your people is to facilitate the self-improvement of your people is a specific skill area.  Step 1: Collaborate to Set a Goal: "collaborate" means this is a process that is done 'with' the direct, not 'to' the direct. And the goal should be framed in "x to y by when." In other words, what behavior you to want to improve, by how much, and by when. Clarity on what is to be accomplished by when, and mutual buy-in around that objective, is 85% of the battle. Step 2: Collaborate to Brainstorm Resources. Don't get stuck thinking on how to get them from start to finish on the objective. Just work on getting them started. There are no silver bullets, so focus on volume over quality. Then, review the list, and have the direct pick one that sticks out to them to pursue further. Step 3: Collaborate to Create a Plan. Focus on the specific steps the direct can take in the first few weeks. Be as granular and short-scoped as possible. And make the deliverable of the plan the reporting of the completion of the step, not the step itself. For instance, if they're reading a chapter of book, assign the task of reporting to you the completion of the reading.  Step 4: The Direct Acts and Reports on the Plan. Hopefully there's a regular cadence of meetings already in place to discuss work items. Here you simply work through the plan collaboratively designed with the specific deliverables and reporting requirements. Offer encouragement and correction where needed. If you don't have a repeatable method for help your people grow, try this.

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