Most of us entrepreneurial leaders find the whole issue of managing employees to be an Achilles heel. It’s just not part of our wiring because we’re usually self-motivated and driven people and, more to the point, most of us have always been our own bosses.
However, whether or not something is natural to us or not, when we have employees, we have to learn to be great managers. And part of that process, is to always be engaged in learning from others. I had one of those teachable moments the other day.
I was listening to a DVD presentation by Eben Pagan (from his Altitude course)
when he mentioned one of the things he does with new team members (he hates the word, “employees.”) is that he asks them to do one thing for him every day.
At the end of every day, he asks them to take five minutes (no more than seven), to answer three questions.
My rewording of those questions would be.
- What did you work on today?
- What results did you achieve?
- Do you need anything from me or is there anything you think I need to know?
He asks them to do that every day for the first month of their employment–and he doesn’t ask them again.
At the end of the month, if he’s only received one or two summaries, he knows he probably doesn’t have an A player.
However, if he gets twenty or more, he knows he’s probably got a winner. I love that!
But let’s expand on that idea. Who among us wouldn’t benefit from this simple exercise? What if every day you took five minutes to just answer those three questions? Note: In our case the third would be, “Do I need anything from someone on my team or is there anything I need to make sure I communicate to them?”
Or what about your direct reports? Wouldn’t they benefit from asking those questions every day? And don’t you think you’d have a better idea of what they’re doing?
One of the great tragedies of our age is that we’ve lost the art of evaluation and reflection. Why do I say tragedy? Because probably the greatest tool for learning and change is past experience. But since so few people ever evaluate and then make changes, we keep repeating yesterday.
So if you’d like to change that, why don’t you consider implementing a process of continual evaluation? And if you don’t like the three questions above, come up with your own three. But whatever you do, make sure you come up with a simple system that will allow you to lead and manage your team better.
To your accelerated success!
P.S. The classic three questions of evaluation aren’t bad to use either. Applied to someone’s day, you might ask.
- What worked for you today?
- What didn’t?
- What are you going to change to get a better result tomorrow?