What the heck is ROIR?

Return on Investment in Relationships of course!

Tom Peters encourages managers to obsess on R.O.I.R – the Return on Investment in Relationships.

Usually what has to be invested is not cash – but time. And the challenge is to invest that time effectively.

For me, without doubt, the most effective tool for ROIR with employees is the 121. These are structured, documented 30 minute meetings held with each member of staff, every week. They provide the most effective ROIR with employees that I know.

ROIR through 121s comes in many forms:

  1. increased staff retention
  2. improved productivity
  3. recognition and acknowledgement of progress
  4. appreciation of those who are performing well
  5. identification of under performance and early resolution
  6. promotion of behaviours that reinforce strategic goals and values
  7. increased pace of coaching to develop potential and performance
  8. deeper professional relationships
  9. increased trust
  10. increased influence
  11. increased responsiveness
  12. better support of team members in their work
  13. conduit for ideas from the front line to be heard and acted upon
  14. management support for every member of the team – every week
  15. improved communication and focus on what matters
  16. progress made and recognised on a weekly basis
  17. increased sense of urgency in the team
  18. encourage individuals to think through their contribution to team or organisational objectives
  19. increased initiative and enterprise
  20. planning remains flexible and dynamic
  21. documentation makes performance reviews simpler and less contentious
  22. barriers to high performance are removed
  23. factors contributing to poor performance are identified and resolved
  24. formal opportunities for delegation are created
  25. more feedback – both given and received
  26. increased employee engagement
  27. improved knowledge management and knowledge sharing
  28. better talent management and development
  29. increased creativity
  30. more innovation
  31. more responsibility taken voluntarily by more people
  32. reduced absenteeism
  33. more diversity as 121s recognise that ‘one size fits one’

Perhaps some of these are things that you as a manager need to work on. If you are already using 121s then think how you can use them more effectively for the things that matter most to you and your business.  You can find out more about 121s here.

If you are not already using 121s then you have a tremendous opportunity to improve your management practice.

Additions to the list are very welcome!

On Becoming an Outstanding Manager

To become an outstanding manager is not as hard as you might expect because, to be frank, the competition is not up to much!

Many people are given managerial roles because of their technical competence in the role they will be managing.  So excellent nurses become managers of nurses.  High performing sales people become sales managers.  Good bar staff become bar managers.  Sometimes such a strategy works, but more often it does not, because managing people doing a job is a very different proposition from doing the job.

So, if it is not very hard to be an outstanding manager, what does it take?

Courage

Managers have to have the courage to say things that they might find difficult or unfamiliar.  To praise when it is deserved and to challenge when it is required.  Managers have to say and do things that can feel awkward. They need to be brave enough to start some difficult conversations and skilful enough to end them well too!

Confidence

Managers need to have the confidence to get the job done. They have to believe that they are equipped to deal with the situations that they face, both psychologically and technically.  They have to believe in themselves as a manager, and be confident in their position.

Competence

Although managers have to deal effectively with a bewildering range of situations, I believe that there is a relatively small set of core skills or tools that need to be learned to deal with most of them.  These include:

  1. Building working relationships
  2. Giving and getting feedback that works
  3. Coaching and developing people
  4. Delegating, and
  5. Managing priorities

These are the managerial ‘Big 5′.  If you can learn to do these 5 things well, and use them frequently and consistently with everyone that you manage, then you will be an outstanding manager.  Many books have been written on each of these ‘Big 5′ and you can spend a lifetime learning about each of them. However for each of them competence can be acquired quite quickly by learning a few basics and then practicing them consistently.  Once managers have acquired a basic proficiency in the ‘Big 5′ then in my experience they soon acquire the confidence and courage that they need.

Get Better

Outstanding managers have a way of ensuring that they get better at their job.  They manage their own learning and are continually developing their management practice.  While it may take just a few months to become an outstanding manager it can take a professional life time to become the best manager that you can be!

Managing in The Matrix

There was perhaps a time when the vast majority of managers would just have to worry about managing their team, their ‘direct reports’.  For most of us this is no longer true with lots of time being spent managing:

  • horizontally with peers inside and outside the organisation
  • managing up, frequently in matrix organisations, to more than one boss on more than one project
  • customers, suppliers, regulators/inspectors and others touched by our work

Once again in such complex organisational settings the ‘Big 5′ are our friends and using them consistently and systematically will ensure that we are seen to be an outstanding manager.