Management Development Programs are an effective and safe forum for addressing organizational issues.  For a variety of reasons, managers and other team members are reluctant to surface important issues involving new product launches, information hand-offs between departments and functions, collaboration failures, and other concerns important to the success of the organization.  With the right rules and environment, a management development program can provide the right setting and opportunity for candid communication that resolves business-critical issues.

As an example, ten participants in a management development program, focused on building management skills, business acumen, work-life balance, technical skills required in the future, and employee development plans, surfaced many questions about a new service launch.  It was evident from the discussion that more information on the service launch, occurring the next day, was needed and needed quickly.

The facilitator provided each participant a piece of paper.  Each participant was requested to write the key question he/she needed answered about the new service launch.  The facilitator gathered the questions, reviewed them, and asked the team two questions.  The questions were:

  1. Who was the best person to answer the questions?
  2. How did the team want to obtain the answers?

The team agreed that the Company President was the best person to answer the questions.  Regarding the second question, the facilitator, emphasizing the urgent nature of obtaining the answers, suggested two options.  The options were, on that day:

  1. A team of two approach the President with the questions and obtain the answers.
  2. The facilitator approach the President, present the questions, and obtain the answers.

The participants requested the facilitator approach the President.  The facilitator agreed with one caveat.  The caveat was that if a similar situation arose in any subsequent classes that a team of participants take the initiative.

The facilitator met with the President, explained the circumstances, and the importance of a quick response.  The President read the questions and e-mailed responses to all the participants within the day.  In addition, the President thanked the participants for raising the questions and encourage them to continue to do so in the future.

This breakthrough moment has enhanced the importance and interest in the management development program and contributed to a successful service roll-out.

 

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