A Year in the Life of a Manager Development Programme | Part Two
In my blog post “A Year in the Life of a Manager Development Programme” I explained I was designing a Programme for new managers. And I mentioned I was going to start by calling each manager to start the conversation about what they needed and wanted from the programme. I also wanted to start to get to know them and learn about their roles before we met.
Developing a Manager Development Programme | Beginning with the End in Mind
When I thought through what I wanted to achieve before speaking to the managers, I identified the following:
I wanted to define the needed results of the Co-Design Workshop so I could design it well
I wanted the participants to be engaged and enthusiastic about the Programme. I wanted them to want to attend and join in
I wanted a good understanding of their roles and the challenges they face
I wanted to identify the language they use, so I can communicate on their terms
Some of what I learnt was as I expected but there were some surprises….
Manager Needs and Wants | The 7 Key Findings
When I summarised my notes from the calls, 7 key points emerged:
1. These managers are committed to the people they’re managing and want to do right by them. They take the responsibility seriously and want help to do the best they can. As one of them said. “I don’t want to be ‘just a manager’. I want to be a good manager”.
2. They recognise that their people are all different. They realise that means they need to adapt their style but they’re unsure how to do that. And the challenge is compounded because they manage people from different locations and specialities.
3. They know that one of the biggest things they need to do is make time and space for management. At the same time, one of the biggest challenges is a heavy workload.
4. They realise that trust will be a critical ingredient. And that needs to work both ways. They need to trust their people and they want their people to trust them.
5. They want to help people to get greater satisfaction from their jobs. And they want to help develop their careers so they stay with the company for longer. They realise that involves helping people find out where they are, where they want to get to and how to get there. They want to create a culture of self-development
6. They’re anxious about dealing with some of the tougher stuff and having difficult conversations. As one manager said “It’s easy when everything’s going okay. But what about when things go wrong?”
7. When I asked them about their ideas for the Programme, comments included:
“It will be good to get together, discuss things, learn from each other’s ideas and experience”
“A couple of hours of PowerPoint in a warm room is not great. Interactive is good.”
“It would be good to discuss things, to talk through ideas and their application to real-life.”
“Discussions about our experiences and ideas would be good”
“I enjoy team sessions”
“I’d like practical tips and examples on how to handle particular situations. Maybe if we could
get a toolbox of techniques and bring specific challenges to the table”
“I’m not a fan of role-play!”
“I’d prefer shorter, more frequent sessions (rather than a whole day out)”
“I would like to learn from other managers how they deal with situations as well as ‘best practice'”
Next steps in the Manager Development Programme Timeline
Based on the calls I decided I need to design and deliver the Programme so it achieves the following:
Have short, bite-sized sessions – not one or two day workshops.
Keep it real. Keep it practical. Give them tools and techniques, not theories.
Don’t use the language of HR and L&D. They don’t want “accelerated”, “brain-friendly” or “experiential” learning. They want “short”, “frequent”, “interactive” sessions.
Design the Programme to help them learn from one another, not just me as the Programme Leader
Respond to their quiet plea for no “death by PowerPoint”
Workshop Planning for Successful Results
The Programme launches with a Co-Design Workshop. The aim is to agree the desired outcomes, structure and content of the Programme. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Meanwhile, what do you think about my approach? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Is there anything you would do differently?