Updated: November 10, 2021
By: Stephen Kline
Summary: Managers are most successful when they can explain the V/TO to their team, provide good Feedback, and confidently run the Weekly Meeting.
Being a manager can be difficult. Connecting with the team, finding out the pain points, and aligning each team member with the company's values and vision are the tip of the iceberg for a manager's responsibilities.
As simple as it may be, it's worth defining precisely who the managers are. The classic definition (which still applies in the Ninety world) is that a manager is anyone who has a direct report on the Accountability Chart. If there's a drop-down under your name, congrats, you're a manager!
There are a few things that managers need to understand to be effective.
Every employee should know and buy into the vision of the company. Managers should be able to go a step further and explain that vision to their direct reports. The V/TO is the primary tool the senior leadership team utilizes to communicate that vision throughout the company. Managers serve as a resource for insights into how their direct reports can achieve those goals and reflect the company's core values.
They should maintain and dispense that knowledge of the vision through a cadence of One-on-One Meetings. Managers should conduct these all the way down the Accountability Chart. This Feedback is an opportunity for managers to relay what they see from their direct reports. They can then re-establish expectations. Walking through the core values and responsibilities during these meetings, what previously might have been an assumption of understanding is transformed into an agreement.
Managers must also be able to run the Weekly Meeting confidently. That's not to say that managers should "drive" every Meeting - someone else on the team should actually click the buttons and take the notes. We feel that it's a responsibility that's best rotated around to each team member. Here at Ninety, we rotate monthly. This longer rotation gives team members time to build up the "skill" of operating the Meeting. Doing so keeps everyone on the Team involved and fluent in Ninety.
Rotating the driver also frees up the manager to help guide the discussion. Part of the job is of running the meeting is to engage the entire team in the conversation. In the early parts of the Weekly Meeting's agenda, it's easy to get caught up in a discussion based around a Scorecard item or overdue To-Do. Managers turn this discussion into an Issue. "Dropping it to the bottom" of the Meeting means the team can rank and IDS (Identify, Discuss and Solve) it, making the best use of the team's time. Everyone is comfortable when a team is high in trust with putting a pause on the Issue discussion. This way, the team can discuss it during the appropriate time, during the "IDS" section.
Managers who understand the importance of driving the vision down the Accountability Chart, provide thoughtful and actionable Feedback while operating efficient Weekly Meetings are well on the way to running a high-trust, high-functioning team. Keeping the team well-oiled in this way ensures that they are Getting Smart Stuff DoneTM.
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