At gap intelligence, our culture is everything. One of our #tobeagapper culture groups, gapU, provides amazing educational opportunities similar to a university (but more fun and way cheaper). This past year, I listened to informative guest speakers, learned how to brew beer, and played a round of golf as a complete novice. But one of the most impactful experiences was earning my gapMBA. Instead of me launching into gapMBA’s exciting curriculum, see if you can answer the following question: What is the purpose of management?

Results and Retention

If you thought about your answer for more than 10 seconds and tried your best to tie in everything from maximizing shareholder value to running a SWOT analysis, you may want to check out Manager Tools, a series of podcasts that we cover during gapMBA. Their answer to this question is simple; effective managers are responsible for results and retention. And that is what I love most about Manager Tools. Their toolkit is practical, easy to understand, and applicable to managers at every level. Once you start thinking about your managerial purpose within the framework of results and retention, issues become easier to parse out and improvement becomes more attainable. If you are unsure about what results you should be achieving (as a manager or as a direct report), then your first task is to clarify with your manager what those are. Similarly, if you are not sure that your direct reports know what results are expected of them, time to clarify. Even this exercise in and of itself is valuable.

Using results and retention as a foundation, Manager Tools then teaches that effective managers do these 3 things all the time:

  • They know their people
  • They talk about performance
  • They ask for more

Shows two people engaging in a one on one meeting

1 on 1 Meetings

In order to know your people, Manager Tools suggests having 1 on 1 meetings.  Every gap intelligence manager practices 1 on 1’s. An effective 1 on 1, lasting 30 minutes each week, starts with 10 minutes for directs to talk about anything they want (work or non-work related), 10 minutes for the manager, and 10 minutes to talk about the future (goals and development). By following this structure (or something close to it), directs feel empowered to talk about whatever is on their mind, managers are given ample time to discuss performance, and both parties get to know each other through repeated interaction. In addition, this meeting is rarely missed, re-enforcing to the direct that they are valuable and being listened to. If you (as a manager) are thinking that implementing 1 on 1’s with your entire staff would induce death by meeting, Manager Tools would say that you will come out ahead in the end. One of the long term benefits of 1 on 1’s is that unscheduled interruptions tend to decrease, as directs will often wait to bring something up until the scheduled meeting time (which they have come to rely on since it’s rarely missed).

Personally, I see 1 on 1’s, and all of the other Manager Tools’ techniques, as a big part of the foundation for our great culture here at gap intelligence. As both a direct and a manager, 1 on 1’s have helped me develop professionally by creating actionable meetings each week, by guaranteeing time to give or receive feedback, and by providing me with the best opportunity to really know what my manager and directs are all about, in and outside the workplace.

I encourage you to listen to the Manager Tools podcasts. You won’t be sorry.

For more than 16 years, gap intelligence has served manufacturers and sellers by providing world-class services monitoring, reporting, and analyzing the 4Ps: prices, promotions, placements, and products. Email us at or call us at 619-574-1100 to learn more.