The Drift

The Drift

The VIP Manager.

I love a good ear worm.

Those short phrases, slogans, metaphors and bumper sticker ideas that stick in your brain and force you to remember important concepts. Short terms connected to big ideas. In my coaching work I’m often trying to help managers stay connected to the ideas and practices that will elevate their team relationships and create lasting change. Like this one: The VIP manager.

When faced with any number of challenges – performance issues, recruiting, inter-departmental friction, the shape of an important client deal, managing career expectations and pathing – the VIP manager applies a simple three-part approach that leads to better decision making: VIP – Values, Intent, Process.

Values: I’ve written before in this space about the critical importance of establishing a values profile for your team. Without it, your team ends up connected to nothing but the circumstances of the moment, the deal they’re chasing, this quarter’s number. With a values profile in place (the Upstream profile includes Optimism, Grit, Respect, Ownership, Service, Courage and Connectedness) your team members have a foundation that can be referenced. When faced with a tough situation, the VIP manager asks the first question: How do our core team values manifest in this situation and how might they inform our decisions and actions?

Intent: There is no right way to do something for the wrong reason. VIP managers challenge weak or negative intent – e.g., just get the deal or just win the argument – and connect team members to their higher callings and better angels through questions like, What are we really trying to do in this situation and what is our best motivation?

Process: Something my coaching clients likely hear in their sleep is Coach the process, not the product! Getting process right solves not just the problem at hand, but the next ten that will arise. Process improvement is the gift that keeps on giving. So, when faced with a trying decision, the VIP manager asks, What’s the process that got us to this point, and what should our process look like in dealing with this situation/issue?

For teams conditioned to their managers spitting out answers and directives, this approach is going to feel strange at first. The VIP manager is forcing strategic thinking and deeper context into decision making that’s too often situational, transactional and unscalable. VIP management will slow down the moments while simultaneously speeding up the growth of your team.


More Posts

Garfield, Armageddon and Dead Ideas

This week's Drift was to have been part three of our series on "Fusion Selling" but that will have to wait. I mean, the world doesn't implode every week, ya know? Turns out Bob Garfield, the information…


Fusion Selling Part 2: Profiling the New Seller

Last week I wrote about "Fusion Selling" - a fresh approach to digital sales that can make order and opportunity out of the depth and chaos that is today's digital media toolbox. Today I'll continue…


Fusion Selling

A good friend asked me yesterday what I thought the next big thing in web advertising would be. I had one of those moments where you just start speaking to the question at the same time you're thinking…


Rookie of the Year Syndrome

Last week, Yahoo! named former Autodesk leader Carol Bartz as its new CEO. Now, I wouldn't know Ms. Bartz if I ran into her on the street, so I have no valid opinion about how successful she'll be and…


January 2nd

The calendar offers us an interesting opportunity in 2009. We revel on Wednesday night, December 31st and rest, recover and watch a couple of premier bowl games on Thursday January 1st. Now Friday the…


Contemplate the Bottom.

There's an iconic New Yorker Cartoon from the late 90s that has a man and woman tucking their toddler son into bed for the night. The husband is saying, "Of course he looks peaceful - he's lived his…


Thanks

At this stage of an economic cycle and at this time of the year, "be thankful for the important things" would be an all too common read. What usually follows is the garden variety friends, family, health,…


Hard Trends Beat Hard Times

There's an iconic mid-90s New Yorker cartoon that has two parents standing over the crib of their sleeping infant. Arm around his wife, the father says, "Of course he looks peaceful. He's only ever lived…


Ripples and Waves

There's an old Balkan proverb that speaks to the inevitability and consistency of change in the face of man's emotional keening and hand-wringing: "The dogs bark, but the caravan rolls on." I've thought…


The Webbyness of Things...

"The world is made of spider webs, The threads are stuck to me and you. Be careful what you're wishing for, 'cause when you gain you just might lose." ~"Spiderweb," Joan Osborne Tricky thing about…


The Quest for Deal Quality

At a time when the online advertising market appears to be softening, it may seem odd to suggest being more selective about the business we write as media sellers. But in my estimation, it's not just…


Summer Vocabulary

Often a trend or concept only becomes real when someone finally gives it a name. Certainly there were tipping points before Malcolm Gladwell coined "The Tipping Point," but did anyone really care all…