Newsletter – January 30, 2019
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“That’s how we’ve always done it!” (A guide to using PTR)
If you’ve ever made a decision—from how you communicate important announcements to staff to what you ate for breakfast—you’ve used PTR. PTR, which stands for preferences, traditions, and requirements, can help managers striving to make better decisions isolate what matters most (the requirements) while recognizing the preferences and traditions that can either help or hurt us in getting there. From an equity and inclusion standpoint, it can help you mitigate bias in key areas such as hiring, delegating, and assessing staff performance.
It’s tempting to start with our preferences, which are often tied to our personal values and ethos, or traditions—including organizational ones (habits are hard to break!). However, we recommend that managers start from the bottom: get clear on the R, and then consider the preferences and traditions that might help or hurt your ability to get the results you need.
Great managers recognize that we all have a tendency to conflate requirements/outcomes with our preferences and traditions, and make a deliberate choice to isolate the three into their component parts by doing the following:
- Articulate the requirements or outcomes.
- Be explicit about your preferences and traditions and why they exist.
- Be flexible and seek other perspectives.