Dear Mark & Mike,

I'm not sure where to start really! I've been listening to your podcasts for the last few months and found them very informative and
relevant but now I need your help in trying to implement your useful advice to our current management/personnel situation.
I'll try not to go into too much detail as it could become a very lengthy email! I hope you're sitting comfortably...

We are a higher education college that was established nearly 30 years ago. It grew very quickly in a short period of time.
Then other competitors emerged and we became smaller. At this time the focus was on the local market.

My partner then took over the business around 7 years ago as Director ( sorry, forgot to mention it is a family-run business and
was established by my partner's father). I came on board 5 years ago and during that time we have managed to expand the
business once again but this time in the international market with still a small share of the local.

During this growth it was just my partner, his parents and myself that took on the main duties, responsibilities and tasks of
running the business. It was incredibly hard but we managed it (and still are!). In the last 3 years we have taken on other
staff, mostly part-time. However, it seems that our staff are not taking on the responsibilities of their job. Myself and my partner
seem to be the ones who everyone comes to for advice and more importantly decisions. We have become their safety net and its
taking its toll. If we are not available then the task will not be completed. I believe we are to blame for this situation and its getting very
frustrating in dealing with so many people (nevermind students) who constantly seek our approval and decision-making ability.
Also I believe it is far easier for them to ask us rather than to make their own decision. A vicious circle.

It seems that in dealing with the day-to-day operations of running a college, we have neglected the management/human resource aspect
and are now paying the price. Just as a footnote, we have not given any new duties or responsibilities to any staff. The only difference is
that it is now in black and white and I'm afraid that this will scare them and perhaps overwhelm them. Their duties and tasks have always
been given out verbally. We would now like to use a monitoring system or review system where we can keep track of tasks, their progress and
result. This in turn will add to their job appraisals and in the long-term give them recognition and satisfaction for their work.

So how do we communicate this to our staff? Is it better to make one general meeting with everyone, distribute the job responsibilities
and have a general discussion? Or is it better to have one-on-one meetings? This is the most time consuming but would be the most effective.
The other question is do we (myself and partner) communicate our feelings and frustrations with the current situation, giving the
reason for changing procedures and practises? We will be moving to bigger premises early next year and feel that if these issues are
not addressed now, then it will become must worse.

I think all the answers are in your podcasts!! If its easier, could you point me in the direction of which ones to listen to and also in
what order? I have so many that it can be a bit bewildering in deciding the relevant ones.

Looking forward to your reply and much needed advice! Keep up the good work! :)


sue taylor's picture

Seems a bit weird replying to myself but just wanted to update things.

After i posted my issues on the forum i went back to the v.first podcasts and listened to Part 1 of One-on-Ones. Even just listening to the first part made all the difference and this morning i have already completed 2 one-on-ones and everyone is happy! ;o) Sometimes things always seem worse than they actually are! I have others scheduled and by the end of the week everyone will be reviewed and re-directed.

With the job tasks and responsbilites i made a weekly task calendar and went through prioritising and manual/process writing so that everything is documented not just for me (the management) but for the employees as well. They have been doing the work but now they can actually see what they do, what they need to do and feel achievement. We're a v.busy college and these things can get overlooked - but not anymore!

Thanks guys! I will continue to listen to the podcasts, it helps immensely. You know sometimes it actually feels like therapy! Posting the first forum really helped me focus on what i needed to do even though it didn't read that way and even reading through other peoples messages and replies helps too!

Sue :D

Nigel's picture
Training Badge

The boys weren't kidding when they said the 1:1s are the single most powerful management tool out there. SOunds like once yo started them it made an immediate difference. I too thought my people would push back but even the biggest skeptics really dig the 1:1s. I'm still constantly amazed by it though.

Good luck!

mauzenne's picture
Admin Role Badge


You're absolutely doing first things first. I hope you'll give us an update in a couple of more weeks. I'm curious as to how it's going!