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The power of 3 words

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From time to time, your direct reports will bring you problems created by a decision that you made.

They may appear exasperated by the pickle you put them in. They may be embarrassed or even frightened (a red flag) about bringing you this problem.

Your response, in all cases, should be a good-natured invitation for the two of you to go have a look.

Use these exact words: “Let’s go see!”

Seldom will it be adequate for you to remain sitting at your desk or chatting when such an occasion arises, speculating about causes and solutions and hoping the situation will sort itself out.

It won’t. That’s why you were summoned.

Instead, go get some insight firsthand. It may turn out that this snafu points to a larger problem of process or staffing that you and your people can solve at the same time.

— Adapted from The Unwritten Laws of Business, W.J. King and James G. Skakoon, Currency Doubleday.

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