What’s behind door #1?

Posted March 31, 2009 in Latest News & Insights

Today I moderated a Roundtable for my good friend Daneal Charney. Daneal is passionnate about getting companies to think more innovatively about their people practices. Check out her website: www.leadership-reframed.com.

Anyway, along with Stephen Pollack (former CEO of PlateSpin), we were discussing what organizations need to be looking at as it relates to navigating the economy. There was lots of great discussion, but one of my favourite moments was a classic story from Bob Lank, Managing Partner of Miller Dallas.

We were talking about how managers can encourage better thinking and problem solving from their staff, and Bob shared one of his favourite techniques:

When an employee comes in complaining about a situation or person, stop them and say “before you go on, there are 3 doors in front of you. I need you to pick a door so that I know how to be of best service to you.”

The “door” choices are:

1) You just need to vent and blow off steam and need me to listen

2) You need my advice and are looking for my input

3) You’ve got a monkey on your back that you’re looking to move to my back

Bob says he only has to have this conversation once and that people with think more carefully about what they need from him before knocking on his door.

It also encourages more proactive thinking and cuts down on unproductive belly aching (in my opinion).

Give it a try and see if it works for you!

Happy leading!


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