Examples of PTR in Action

Last updated: October 12, 2021
Estimated reading time: 3 min

Hiring a campus organizer

Preference
In hiring for similar roles, I’ve had success with self-proclaimed extroverts (like me!).

Tradition
We’ve had a great track record of hiring past and current counselors from the local summer camp.

Requirement (START HERE!)
In hiring for a campus organizer, a must-have is the ability to quickly build trust and relationships with members of a diverse student body.

How to manage toward the requirement while minding your P’s and T’s

Try this thought exercise: Picture some excellent relationship-builders you know. Are any of them not like you, or different from the mold of past hires? What makes them good at building trust and relationships? Could you see someone like them excelling in this role?

Bonus: You can make this a group exercise with other people on your team.

Planning a team-building tradition

Preference
I like unwinding and catching up with my colleagues over drinks.

Tradition
We’ve done Friday night happy hours at the sports bar next door since the founding of the organization five years ago, when we were a team of five people working out of one office.

Requirement (START HERE!)
You want to provide regular opportunities for staff to bond and unwind so they can feel connected and energized.

How to manage toward the requirement while minding your P’s and T’s

Consider: Is there anyone on your team who might be unequally served by your existing tradition?* (e.g.: people who don’t/can’t drink; people who commute by driving; remote or underaged staff.)

  • If no one: Great! Keep your tradition, but check in with yourself and your team as new people join, or as your organization grows.
  • If yes: Rethink this tradition (and maybe ask those who participate or speak up the least for their ideas on alternatives, while letting them know you’re really open to change).

*Remember: just because they’re participating, doesn’t mean they like it, or are benefitting from it.

Embracing more inclusive team communication

Preference
As a manager, I like seeing things in writing and also do my best thinking that way. Plus, it’s how I was trained by my mentor, whom I really respect.

Tradition
We send out lots of thorough, written memos (with footnotes). Memos help us codify things and create a record people can refer to.

Requirement (START HERE!)
Our whole team is aware of key decisions and has opportunities to participate and give input. Because we value connection and collaboration, especially across lines of difference or position, we make the implicit explicit and aim for transparency whenever possible. Information is shared in ways people can process it and look back to it.

How to manage toward the requirement while minding your P’s and T’s

Notice: You’ve been evaluating a new manager’s performance based mostly on written work (your P and T, and often an example of white dominant culture within organizations). Their writing is good, but they mentioned it takes them a lot of extra time to meet the expectations. At the same time, they have real strengths using visuals, flow charts, and even video to communicate updates, which has really energized their team.

Ask: Who has benefited most from the current focus on written memos? Who has been excluded or expected to work twice as hard? Where can you stretch your skills and adapt your current preferences and traditions?

Act: Work with the manager/team to develop new norms that leverage people’s strengths. Upgrade your work to adapt to the team.

Confirming attendees for an action

Preference
I prefer that we do three rounds of confirmations since I have found that to be most effective to get the response rate we need.

Tradition
We’ve always done phone confirmations because it’s an organizing best practice.

Requirement (START HERE!)
To ensure high turnout, attendees should receive a confirmation contact at least 2 days before, with the aim to get confirmation from at least 50% of our list.

How to manage toward the requirement while minding your P’s and T’s

Ask: How have you done confirmations in the past?

Say: Attendees should receive a confirmation at least two days before the action. We want to have confirmation from at least 50% of our list. In my experience that takes about three rounds of contact, but it could be less. Best practice/tradition has been to do phone calls, but for this crowd, we can experiment with text messages or email if you think that can still get us to the requirement. What do you think will get us the best results?


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