The Question is Not a “What?”

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“Poof, I am a new manager,” Wendy explained.  “I was a supervisor for three years, now I am a manager.”

“And?” I asked.

“For three years, I have been concerned with making sure production got done.  Now, I am the manager for a team of four supervisors.  From now on, they make sure production gets done.  They are in charge of scheduling, buying materials, staging.”

“And, where does that leave you?” I continued.

“That’s the dilemma.  They promoted me to manager, but without a lot of direction.  One of the vice-presidents, my new manager, told me he would give me a couple of weeks to figure it out.  He could have been more helpful.”

“In your new role, what is the one most important area of focus?” I pressed.

Wendy stopped to think.  “I am accountable for the output of my team.  My most important area of focus is the team.”

“Specifically, what? about your team?”

There was another pause.  “It’s not a what,” she realized.  “It’s a who.  The most important thing to focus on, is who is on the team.  If I do that well, my life, as a manager will be wonderful.  If I do that poorly, my life will be miserable, and for a very long time.”

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