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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
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"The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same
level of thinking with which we created them."

-- Albert Einstein
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THE TOP 10 QUESTIONS TO HELP MANAGERS REFUSE
THE MONKEY

provided by CoachVille, LLC
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The old school of management (Theory x) says the manager is the expert. As such, it is his job to address a problem by telling the employee or agent how something should be done, or should have been done. The problem (the monkey) is handed to the manager, and he accepts it (after all, he/she is the expert). The employee or agent never owns the problem. Not owning it, he/she can never effectively deal with it and never learns how to deal with future challenges. Here are 10 questions to help your charges take responsibility for making corrections and at the same time teach them how to deal with future challenges.

1. What happened?

Or what's happening? Remain silent and objective, giving them time to articulate what happened. Be sure everyone is clear about what did happen or is happening.

2. What do you see as the consequences?

Sure you may already know. But, get them to think about it and come up with what they see as the consequences. Better from them than you.

3. Anything else?

Don't be impatient for answers. Help them think it through thoroughly.

4. What are your (our) options here?

Don't let them off the hook with "I don't know." Let them think about the options. There are nearly always more than one . . . sometimes several, even if some of them are not good ones.

5. Which of these do you feel would be best?

Narrow it down.

6. Why do you feel that way?

Get them to articulate why they believe it to be the best course. Remember, to talk about it requires them to think it through.

7. What roadblocks do you foresee with this plan?

If any are likely, it is better to be prepared.

8. When will you start?

Commitment. (If "next week," then "why not tomorrow?")

9. How can I support you?

And be ready to do just that in whatever way you can.

10. What resources do you need to get this done?

One way to support them is to make sure they have the "tools" they need to get the job done.

Copyright 2000-2003 CoachVille, LLC

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COACHING CALL TO ACTION
THE TOP 10 QUESTIONS TO HELP MANAGERS REFUSE
THE MONKEY
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Last week I was having this same conversation with a client. When we look at how much we have "to do", many times it's because we have taken back so many monkeys. This week practice "refusing the monkey". Then assess:

1. What worked best?

2. Where do I need more practice?

3. What did I learn in this process?

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April 16, 2004
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