developUs Blog

March 29, 2023 in Blog

You Can’t Outsource Management Responsibility

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Here at developUs, we build and deliver training. It’s what we do.

Our work exists because so few leaders within corporate organizations have time to focus on training.  How do we know?  There are two clues:

Clue #1: Business is booming

Our clients understand the human capital crisis that many organizations are faced with today.  There are many smart people who have tried, to varying degrees of success, to teach other people what they know.  Subject Matter Experts are everywhere but training and trainers are not.  Today’s business leaders understand that when the smart people leave (and they will), they take their smarts with them.  So they need us to get it out of people’s heads and into a learning process before it’s too late.

Their leaders don’t have time to train people anymore, and quite frankly, don’t have the foggiest idea how to do it in any kind of systemic, repeated way.  All of which, of course, is terrible news for the C-suite, and fabulous news for us.

Clue #2: Training Reinforcement is Nonexistent 

Our clients tell us that managers aren’t good at reinforcing training, so they want developUs to find a way to do it for them.  Managers are busy.  Leaders have competing priorities.  We’ve gotten several requests to build an “automated system of accountability” to go along with it because “Our managers are not very good at following up with people after they go to training.”

Here’s what I tell them.  “Sure – we’re happy to build a system of accountability into the process.  As a matter of fact, we’re pretty big on accountability around here. But people – if the problem is that your managers are not good at managing, let’s fix THAT for you.”

You can’t outsource leadership responsibility.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said that in meetings recently.  I always get a kick out of it when the person on the other side of the table freezes, and then says, “Say that again; I need to write that down.”

When did we start letting managers get away with not actually managing people?  When did that become ok?

I have a theory.  First, managers do too much work, and not enough managing.   Our leaders have to make the shift from producer to leader, and companies need to structure their workflow and resources accordingly if they want a cure.

Second, managers are rewarded for firefighting instead of fire prevention. For a great read about this all too common issue check out the One Minute Manager and the Monkey.

Third, in some cases, maybe you’ve hired the wrong managers.  If this resonates, let’s talk about your screening and succession planning and leader onboarding process.  Give us a shout. We know some great people in this space.

Regardless of the cause, the cure is NOT to outsource the responsibility. Think about it.  Would you pay someone else to do you a high school student’s math homework because he or she didn’t like it, weren’t good at it, or didn’t have time for it?  NO!  You’d support them, get them a tutor, and help them manage their time better.  But you wouldn’t outsource it.

The same principle applies in the business world. Managers enjoy certain privileges that come with their status in the company… it’s okay to make them work for it every once and a while.

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