Implementing OKRs, Vacation Time for Managers, and Delegating

Manager TLDR - Issue 45

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Hey fellow managers and leaders!

In today’s newsletter, we’re covering… 

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😎 OOO Alert: Managers Need Vacations Too! (7 min read), Fellow Blog

TLDR: Research shows that those of us living in North America are terrible at taking time off from work. In fact, we seem to glorify the 9-5 grid – which, let’s be honest, rarely ends at 5 when you’re in management. Here are 3 (out of 10) tips to help you successfully leave and return from your next holiday:

  1. Prep a “while I’m away” list: Create a document or a checklist of key dates, deliverables, and deadlines that will occur while you are on vacation. Annotate this checklist with any special notes or directions for your team.
  2. Put one person in charge: Select a direct report who has a solid overall understanding of team operations and clearly communicate to this person the types of things they might need to make decisions about in your absence.
  3. On your first day back, carve out 2 hours to get up to speed: If your staff maintained a solid journal, set of notes, or annotated your “While I’m Away” checklist, read that document as soon as you return and you will be able to hit the ground running. 

“Here’s the cold hard truth: you’re no good to anyone if you burn out. There is no reward for overworking yourself, and we as a society need to stop rationalizing and normalizing this behaviour. Work will always be there, and there will always be more to do. Time away from the office and a little bit of self-care is important for your overall health and wellbeing and it will make you a better, more present, manager in the long run.”

How to Delegate Work So It Actually Gets Done (4 min read), The Founder Coach

TLDR: When you’re in execution mode, you naturally think in terms of critical tasks, but good delegation requires you to think in terms of outcomes. In other words, the best managers delegate problems… not tasks. Follow the GROW framework next time you’re delegating work:

  1. Goal: Ask your employee to explain what a good result would look and feel like. Write down that goal.
  2. Reality: Examine the current reality. Ask questions such as “what’s working and what isn’t working?” 
  3. Options: Help your employee examine different options that could address the problem.
  4. Will: Get a commitment from the employee and help them map out their next steps. Let them come up with solutions by asking questions.

“As you grow your company, the need to adopt a coaching relationship with your direct reports intensifies. The best workers tend to love to solve problems — and they hate being micromanaged. This is especially true if you’re hiring people who are better than you. Effective delegation is also great for keeping your employees motivated. Solving problems helps people connect with their purpose, learn new things, and stay in control of their own destiny.” 

🤔 OKRs 101: Frequently Asked Questions About Team Goal-Setting (5 min read), Fellow Blog

TLDR: The OKR (Objectives and Key Results) goal-setting framework has been used at Google, Zynga, General Assembly, and many more successful organizations to block out distractions and avoid burnout. This post compiles advice from experienced leaders on how to implement this method with your team. Here are our top 3 takeaways:

  1. Objectives are the place you wish to be. Key results are the roadmap for getting there.
  2. OKRs are not a to-do list. Focus must be on the real, tangible value added. The means to adding that value may be any number of tasks, and those tasks may change rapidly.
  3. Avoid these 3 mistakes: creating unachievable objectives, not discussing progress with the team on a weekly basis, and having more than 4 objectives.

“OKRs can accomplish extraordinary things but require alignment and dedication from the organization. Asking your team for feedback and how they felt about the OKRs will help align the team with the business strategy.” 

Big, Theatrical Meetings Are a Waste of Time (7 min read), Harvard Business Review

TLDR: When done well, quarterly business reviews are powerful tools. However… too often, they feel like theatre productions where managers create the impression that all is well and that any problems are on their way to being overcome. The truth is, most business reviews lack real conversation, significant questions, or follow-up actions. How can companies stop wasting hours of precious time during these meetings?

  1. Focus on the future: Metrics can be sent in advance so the discussion can center around why things happened in a certain way in the past and what, if anything, should be done differently going forward. 
  2. Create a safe space for dialogue: Senior leaders should ask as many questions as possible, without giving opinions.
  3. Assess and adjust the process: Rethink the participants, frame key questions to be addressed, and refashion the process so that the next review becomes a much more constructive dialogue.

“There’s no one right way to conduct a business or project review. But if yours have turned into staged performances, maybe it’s time to shape a different approach. These simple changes can transform your project reviews into problem-solving forums with a focus on changing the future, not just rehashing the past.” 

🗓 Meeting Template of the Week

 🧠⚡️ Shopify’s Brainstorming Session Template

Use this agenda template to run productive and inclusive brainstorming sessions with your team. Curated by Shopify’s Editor in Chief.👇

🎙 New on the Supermanagers podcast

We interview leaders from all walks of life to tease out the habits, thought patterns, and experiences that help them be extraordinary at the fine craft of management.

Episode 58: Smruti Patel (Head of Engineering at Stripe) shares her insight on how to achieve a culture of constant evolution and how to think in systems.

Episode 59: Karen Eber (TED Speaker) dives into the science of storytelling and why great leaders need to understand the power of a great story.

… and that’s a wrap!  We hope that the content we curated inspires you to continue growing as a leader!

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Thanks for being part of our community,

Manuela & the team

Your team will thank you.

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