Managers Discussion Guide Program

Enliven Your Staff Meetings, Engage Your Staff, Strengthen Your Team and Cement Positive Skills — Easily!

Make your staff meetings come alive in 20-30 minutes per month, with no prep by you!

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The Managers Discussion Guide Program can accomplish all of that! And with only a minimal effort on your part! We’ve provided all the tools and the brief, live, just-in-time training you need to make sure your staff meetings are an event your team looks forward to, rather than a mandatory purgatory. By engaging your staff in thoughtful, professionally designed structured discussions you not only engage them in improving their own processes, but encourage them to help each other problem solve. Your team members will be more motivated and take ownership in the team’s goals and solving team problems.

Read on to understand how this can work for you — with a minimal time investment.

 “Nothing can succeed and last without teamwork.” –Garry Shandling, Comedian

If you’re like most managers nowadays, there just doesn’t seem to be enough time to send your team members to training. But they need to keep their skills sharp. E-learning is one time-condensed solution, but we have created another we think is even better, as it involves your whole team in a half-hour discussion on a key issue.

“By providing this 12-month, long-term behavior change plan, the Managers Discussion Guide Program provides a really valuable service to managers for the very reasonable cost. I subscribed for more than a year and was very pleased with the results for my team.” –Terri Oropeza, IT Manager, Synopsys

The Missing Link in Nearly All Team Development Efforts

In 30+ years of providing people-development tools, we’ve noticed a void in nearly all team development efforts. The void is any regular discussion about key issues, delivered at the team level. When a manager sees a developmental need, s/he either sends individuals to specific training, or has training delivered to the whole team. These are typically only one-shot trainings, and the individual gets some new ideas and perhaps begins to integrate these into his/her practices.

When we’ve conducted longer-term, multi-part programs, the results were phenomenal. But most departments don’t have the budget to bring in a professional like us on a regular basis to conduct a training or discussion on key ideas. So how could we provide the ongoing conversations that spawned increased awareness–and ultimately behavior shifts–that resulted in improved effectiveness?

That’s when the Managers Discussion Guide Program was born.

This program, which includes brief, monthly manager-led structured Discussion Guides, fits the bill perfectly. They are short: 20- to 30-minute discussions that can easily fit in a staff meeting or brown bag lunch session. They are structured, so the manager doesn’t have to create the questions and flow. Even possible staff responses are included, so the manager can prime the pump if the staff is shy about answering.

Each module includes reproducible handout masters to duplicate for the team. And, each month the manager gets a walk-through training via a conference call so s/he knows what to discuss with their group. Since the modules are not designed to be a traditional training, the manager need not worry about having all the answers–s/he is merely leading a discussion with their staff.

This Managers Discussion Guide Program is the perfect solution for long-lasting, ongoing improvement in a manager’s staff’s awareness and sensitivity to common issues. There are two sets of twelve Discussion Guides. One set focuses on key concepts around internal or external customers. The second set applies to working better with teammates.

“You have a really good design and you’ve kept the content simple! That makes it easy for both managers and their staff to understand what behaviors are expected and, hopefully, to commit to change.” –Lorrie Gasewind, MS, Legacy Training and Development Services

Enable real team development — at your staff meetings

You know:

  • It’s important to give your staff opportunities for development, but know that sending them to one-day trainings doesn’t have a lot of ROI.
  • Real change happens through ongoing reminders and discussions with your staff, not once-in-a-while events.
  • Having conversations with your staff has a higher value than having someone outside your group, like a trainer, lead key discussions, but you don’t have the time or inclination to put together a training session.
  • It’s important to keep your staff members growing and developing, but realistically can only put in minimal effort to make this happen.

“I’ve had the opportunity to experience this innovative Managers Discussion Guide Program first hand. The materials and the facilitation of the manager’s conference calls make it easy for managers to guide discussions and provide ongoing development for their teams.” — Cindy Ventrice, President, American Society for Training & Development, Silicon Valley Chapter

A tool to retain your best staff

Recent research by the Gallup Corp.** showed that the best employees said:

  • My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  • Someone at work encourages my development.
  • My opinions seem to count at work.
  • I had opportunities at work to learn and grow this last year.

The Managers Discussion Guide Program is designed so your best employees will agree with these statements once this program is underway. What better way to show you care about them and their development than to provide an opportunity to grow and learn every month? You will provide ongoing staff development in 1/2-hour chunks via monthly structured staff meeting discussions. It’s a new concept–one we don’t know of anyone else offering.

“I really like the single focus per month concept and the discussion mechanism you’re using.” — Brenda Ianiro, Staff Development, CFO Directorate, Lawrence Livermore National Labs

** First, Break all the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999).

To recap, this program is two-pronged:

  1. Twelve structured discussion guides for manager-led monthly meetings (staff meetings or brown bag lunch discussions). Each guide includes a simple script to follow, including what questions to ask the staff as well as possible staff responses. The guides are designed to fit into a 20-30 minute time frame. Each module has reproducible handout masters for the staff. There is a preface which covers how to best use the guides, how to lead effective discussions, and how these discussions are different than a training.Frequently asked questions about the discussion guides.
  2. monthly half-hour conference call for all subscriber managers, to walk through the month’s module before they lead their discussion with their staff. Each month everyone will be discussing the same module. This conference call will be conducted by bestselling author and development expert Rebecca Morgan or one of her senior consultants. The subscriber manager will be emailed the conference call times and dates and they must register for their preferred one.Frequently asked questions about the monthly calls

The manager is invited to attend an initial briefing conference call to go over the preface before his/her first monthly conference call. The preface discusses how to facilitate effective discussions, and other details of the program.

“Once again, I was overpowered by the efficiency of your style, the greatest refinement of your professionalism, polish and sophistication. Your unfailing savor in handling the session’s interaction would have stirred the most inactive participants, and your involving everyone was equally admirable.” –Milada Belaya, Clarent Corporation

This program is for you if…

The more we work with this unique program for high-performing teams and managers, the better we understand who the Managers Discussion Guide Program is a great fit for — and who doesn’t have the right characteristics to make the program work. This is a fit for you if you:

  • Are truly committed to having a high-performance team, not just give the concept lip service.
  • Know it is your job to be personally involved with developing your people.
  • Are willing to take a stand for monthly, regular development of your team.
  • Have the courage to commit a budget to getting started with a turn-key program.
  • Have the power to authorize the minimal investment.
  • Are action-oriented enough to say “yes” to moving your team forward.
  • Are visionary enough to be a pioneer even if no one else in your company is on board.
  • Understand that long-term behavior improvement happens over time, not in a one- or two-day session.

If the above describes you, then we’d love to have you attend a half-hour conference call to see how our Managers Discussion Guide Program works — as our guest. And you’re welcomed to invite others to be our guest at one of the conference call trainings.

Topics for the monthly modules —both sets of modules are purposely designed to focus on the same topic each month so your whole organization can refine their skills in that month’s topic. Customer-interfacing staff will go through the customer service modules while the rest of the organization will go through the team modules.

Customer Service Modules

  • January­ Assessing Your Customer Service Skills and Attitudes
  • February­ How to Not Take Others’ Comments Personally
  • March­ Learning From Challenging Customers
  • April­ Salvaging Scrap Time™ to Better Serve Customers
  • May­ Avoiding Common Communication Mistakes Made With Customers
  • June­ Listening to Better Understand Customers
  • July­ Becoming More Resourceful to Better Serve Customers
  • August­ Proposing Improvements to Commonly Shared Team Tools
  • September­ Probing for Important Customer Information
  • October­ Calming Upset Customers
  • November­ Avoiding Common Behavior Mistakes Made With Customers
  • December­ Overcoming Procrastinating Customer Tasks

Team Cooperation Modules

  • January­ Assessing Your Team Cooperation Skills and Attitudes
  • February­ How to Not Take Others’ Comments Personally
  • March­ Learning from Challenging Interactions
  • April­ Salvaging Scrap Time™ to Get More Done
  • May­ Avoiding Common Communication Mistakes Made With Coworkers
  • June­ Listening to Better Understand Your Coworkers
  • July­ Becoming More Resourceful to Increase Performance
  • August­ Proposing Improvements to Commonly Shared Team Tools
  • September­ Probing for Important Information
  • October­ Calming Upset Coworkers
  • November­ Avoiding Common Behavior Mistakes Made With Coworkers
  • December­ Overcoming Procrastinating Important Tasks

What you can expect as an outcome

If the manager attends the conference call briefings and uses the Discussion Guides as designed, s/he can expect an increase in:

  • Team cooperation as a result of team members discussing their challenges and successes from common work situations.
  • Individuals’ positive behavior toward customers and coworkers.
  • Team members’ sensitivity and awareness with customers and coworkers.
  • The manager’s communication and connectedness with his/her staff.
  • The team’s ability to cooperatively problem solve.
  • Team members’ support of each other.
  • The manager’s ability to have meaningful discussions with his/her staff, rather than just cursory reports.
  • Team members’ willingness to proactively head off problems.
  • Team loyalty and reduced turnover and absenteeism.

License/subscription includes:

  • An initial briefing to go over the preface and other details of making the program work.
  • The right to use the material with the subscriber’s immediate team of up to 20 people.
  • The right to duplicate the participant materials for the subscriber’s immediate team, up to 20 copies.
  • The right for the subscriber to attend each month’s conference call training, led by bestselling author and workplace effectiveness expert Rebecca Morgan or one of her senior consultants.
  • Email support to answer subscribers’ questions about leading the discussions or using the material.

This is an annual, automatically renewable subscription program. Subscribers can join in any month. Their credit card can be debited annually, quarterly or monthly for the year’s subscription. A 1-quarter minimum subscription is required.

Price per subscriber* 

  • Annual payment $1189 (=$99/mo)
  • Quarterly payment $369 (=$123/mo)
  • Monthly payment $150

*Minimum $1500/month for a group call for the same company