Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 58 – Fear of ‘not’ having the right conversations

Fear of ‘not’ having the right conversations

Leaders! How is it Monday again?

This week is the first guest leaders letter, we are going to bringing you one every few weeks to help provide better leadership advice and guidance.

This week’s leaders letter is from Matt Roberts, the CEO from Zokri, Zokri is on a mission to help companies to create better goals with agile execution gaining faster growth through their software.

So over to Matt and his brilliant leader’s letter:

Dear Leaders, Happy Monday!

I recently heard a story about a senior manager at Amazon who used to fear ‘not’ having the right conversations going on in his team and across teams. Which I think is a great question to ask yourself and the people we manage.

Two aspects of management that I have taken a particular interest in are goal setting and agile execution best practices. At the heart of both of these are conversations.

For goals the questions are:

  • What should we commit to improving this quarter?
  • How should we measure success?
  • What would be a level of stretch that would focus and inspire us?
  • What Initiatives would help us achieve this goal?

For executional conversations there is the tried and tested weekly agenda:

  • How did last week go?
  • Wins?
  • Priorities for this week?
  • OKR progress and confidence updates
  • Team KPI review

What’s clear is that when these conversations happen in teams where it is safe to talk openly, share ideas as well as problems without fearing the repercussions, performance or even hyper-performance is more likely to happen.

Coaching and developing the people we manage is a key part of what the people we manage expect from us. So as a manager what these conversations also allow you to do is work with and alongside specific people that need help and support.

One-on-one conversations can then start to go deeper. Starting with questions like:

  • What’s fun for you at work right now? And what’s not really that fun?
  • Do you feel like you have what you need to do your best work?
  • Are there conversations you think we should be having that we are not?

Committing to one meaningful conversation a week where you are fully present and in the room, virtual or real, makes a huge difference to people and their enjoyment of work and working with you. You are showing that you really care, and they really matter.

What naturally follows are conversations around Personal Development Planning (PDP), and of course, there’s the appraisal. For which having records of goals, initiatives, wins, learnings, and PDP are always going to act as good reference points.

These conversations really matter because we all want to evolve, progress, learn and grow. Which for many also means promotions and pay rises. They can’t be avoided, and need to be planned and prepared for.

Then of course there is you and your career. If you want to be a manager that enjoys management and is getting results by unlocking and developing the talent in your team then you’re also going to progress and develop.

Final thought for a Monday ….

Like the amazing teacher we remember at school, through the power of conversations, let’s aspire to be one of the managers that are pivotal in changing individual lives and careers for the better.


Matt – Zokri CEO

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