3 Things Every Leader Should Ask at Update Meetings

by Jennifer Miller on September 25, 2014

in Communication, Leadership

Simple is Better quote

Leaders, do you want a simple, easy-to-remember process for staying up-to-date with your team’s workload? Here’s an idea I heard from my colleague Sally. (She said it was OK to share with my blog readers, so, thanks Sally!)

Sally told me about a process that one of her favorite managers created to stay in communication with his direct reports. Once a week, Sally would meet with her work team leader to review what he called the “Three P’s”: Plans, Progress, and Problems.

Plans: This is the forward-thinking part of the conversation. The leaders asks questions such as, “What’s on your docket for this week?” and “What are you goals?”

Progress: This “P” refers to the current project slate. The discussion centers around targets met, updates on actions and “wins”.

Problems: This third element of the Three P’s addresses the challenges that employees are experiencing. Sally and her boss would brainstorm ideas for removing barriers and other ideas to help Sally when she felt stymied or otherwise unable to complete her tasks.

This format works because:

  • It’s super-simple to implement; people can easily remember three things to share with their boss
  • One of the most important things managers do is remove road blocks for their team members and this format allows for an easy way to do so
  • If done every week, the consistency builds positive work habits: employees are conditioned to look for plans, progress and problems

In this very complex world, simple is better.

What simple management tools have you used with success with your team members?


Jennifer V. Miller is a leadership development consultant whose writing and digital training materials help business professionals better lead themselves and others towards greater career success. Follow Jennifer on LinkedIn and sign up for her quarterly e-newsletter offering tips for the savvy workplace professional.



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