Patterns by Groove
A weekly newsletter for leaders who want to design better work experiences
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Manager @ Disney
Never finish a 1:1 without asking this open-ended question
One of the toughest parts of management is getting employees comfortable enough to share. There’s a simple question you can ask to get employees to talk more openly at the end of 1:1s.
The question: “Is there anything else on your mind?”
This gives employees any opening. It’s a sure way to uncover the most pressing challenges that you need to know about and can likely help to overcome.
This helps to build trust and is a simple way to be a better manager.
Insist on experiments to get commitment
Because most teams try to plan for the long term, strategy meetings often happen over a series of weeks and take forever to get to commitment.
But deadlock around strategy decisions can be broken with data instead of opinion. You need to agree on experiments instead of major commitments.
When you have a set of activities you are considering for commitment answer the question, “What experiment could we run to prove this is a good direction?”
- Sales Approach: Pitch to a single client before making a massive adjustment to all sales.
- Marketing Campaign: Create the first video or ad quickly and check for feedback before investing in the full campaign.
- L&D program: Create a 30-minute webinar on the topic and invite employees to view and give feedback.
All of these are easier than the full commitment. And they give the skeptics and supporters a chance to be proven right with feedback. When you do commit, you’re committing with actual data instead of conjecture and opinion.