Garrett Mintz
Garrett Mintz
Garrett Mintz is the founder of Ambition In Motion. He frequently features in Ed-Tech podcasts, news outlets and conferences promoting data driven corporate mentorships.


Sun 7 July 2024
In part 1 of this 2-part article, I wrote about the psychology of why decision-makers make decisions to hire or not hire certain professionals for work. In a nutshell, people will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure. One implication of this is that decision-makers aren’t necessarily going to choose the cheapest option if they already have a pre-approved budget, nor will they choose the option that promises the highest upside. 

The decision-maker will choose the option that represents the lowest risk of them getting fired.

Therefore, if we are in business development, whether that be we are looking to sell our products or services on a B2B level or get hired by a company for employment, we need to position ourselves in a way that demonstrates that we are the low risk option for the company to choose.

How can we do this?

First, identify the risks. There are 3 core risks that decision-makers weigh when making decisions:

  1. Financial
  2. Time
  3. Reputation

Financial risk represents the risk that the money spent with a consultant or contract will be a bust. The more a person charges, the more risk the buyer must weigh when making a purchase decision. But as outlined in part 1 of this article, if a buyer has a pre-approved budget, there is little practical financial risk if the proposal comes in under budget. 

This leaves time and reputation as the two biggest factors business development professionals must overcome to build trust and close the deal.

Time risk represents the total amount of time it will take to implement a solution and the time it will take others at the company to deviate their normal behavior to this new behavior a consultant is prescribing. If a consultant is selling change management consulting, the time is the amount of time it will take to achieve the desired result. If a person is looking to get hired for employment, this is the amount of training time required to develop a self-sufficient and productive team member. For most decision-makers, this unknown intermediary period is the risk they are worried about. 

The pivot point centers around the credibility of the person proposing this change. They need to demonstrate to the decision maker that their plan is achievable within the proposed timeline. If someone promises too short of a timeline without much proof or track record of achieving that, then it represents high risk. If someone shares a timeline that is too long, much longer than the buyer has patience for, then it represents high risk as well because there is no chance of meeting expectations. The only success condition would be over performing expectations, and that’s a prayer, not a plan. The person doing business development needs to find the middle ground.

Reputational risk is the amount of people being impacted by this decision-maker’s decision. If a decision maker hires a consultant that only impacts the work of a few people then the reputational risk is relatively low. But if the decision-maker is making a decision that will impact everyone at the company, there is high reputational risk. If they hire the wrong person, or if the person hired does a bad job, it reflects poorly on them, increasing their chances of getting fired or losing credibility for making a poor choice. 

When people share the adage, “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”, it truly holds a lot of weight. Even if it costs more, decision-maker’s are seeking the lowest risk option for whom to do business with.

Therefore, if we are a small to medium-sized consulting company looking to get business (or a candidate for hire that doesn’t have a ton of experience), we need to do things to de-risk the decision for the decision-maker.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a credit rating check for one’s credibility. Sure, people have references, but nobody is ever going to list a bad reference for themselves.

Therefore, if we are looking to develop business, we need to be creative about de-risking the financial, time, and reputational risk when it comes to deciding who to hire. 

Proximity + Follow Through = Trust

  1. Proximity
The more someone spends time with another person, the more comfortable they feel with that person. If a business development professional can spend more time with a prospect, they build rapport and connection to that person.
2. Follow Through
Do what you say and say what you do. If a business development professional says they are going to do something or deliver value in some way, they better do it.

How can consultants achieve this with their prospects?

One thing my team at Ambition In Motion has done for consultants is help them set up their own executive mastermind groups. An executive mastermind group is a group of leaders coming together to work through a challenge. The consultant facilitating the group isn’t there to solve their challenges, but rather create a safe space for leaders to discuss their challenges and work through the challenges together. This builds trust through proximity, and it’s also a low-risk decision for the decision-makers. 

This has been incredibly helpful for consultants because it oftentimes creates an opportunity for them to engage with a prospect before they are ready to commit to a bigger contract for more services. And it keeps the consultants from seeming like door-to-door salesmen when an opportunity for partnership arises. 

For example, a consultant might propose their services at $20,000 per month over a 6-month period and incorporate 50% of the company to achieve a certain result. 

Financial risk = $120,000

Time risk = 6 months and a certain number of hours from each employee participating deviating from what they normally do

Reputational risk = 50% of the company

Without trust, it will be incredibly hard for a consultant to land this deal. 

The prospect might say “I am interested but follow up with me in 3 months.”

Will this lead to a deal? Maybe. But a lot of things can happen between now and 3 months. 

  • The prospect could meet another consultant that they build greater rapport with and sign a contract with them.
  • The needs of the company can alter, and the decision-maker assumes that the consultant can’t be flexible to the changes so they don’t let the consultant know.
  • The prospect could just decide that they want to try doing this internally.

Instead, the consultant can offer the prospect the ability to be in their executive mastermind group and offer a helpful service now while building long-term trust. 

Financially, the group is much more cost-effective than their consulting services. 

Time-wise, the group represents a much smaller time investment compared to the consulting services.

Reputationally, the group only involves them, the decision-maker and nobody else at their company.

Participating in an executive mastermind group represents a low-risk option for the decision maker to be around the consultant more and assess the consultant’s ability to follow through. Furthermore, the group gives both parties a chance to learn more about each other. It won’t always be a perfect fit, and this also helps the consultant avoid over-committing as they learn more about prospective companies and their needs.

And, over time, if the prospect feels trust with the consultant, it will be a very low risk proposition for them to hire the consultant for expanded services. The key to this method’s success is the mutually assured benefits for both parties throughout the process. 

If you are a consultant, executive coach, or anyone in B2B sales and would like to learn about setting up an executive mastermind group for yourself, reach out to me on LinkedIn and I’d love to tell you about it. 

Fri 31 May 2024
Over the past month, I have been obsessing and diving deeper into research from Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky – specifically Daniel Kahneman’s Prospect Theory (of which Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2002) and their research on loss aversion.

Despite this research being out for 20+ years, I believe that most sales and business development professionals are practicing outdated methodologies. Up until now, these professionals were able to achieve some semblance of results with brute force tactics. They still race to the bottom to see who can provide a product or service cheapest, or cycle through business development representatives instead of building relationships with prospects and then pass that prospect to someone else and potentially other people on the team to try and get a deal signed. Or they are spending money on Google Ads or other ads with the hope of booking conversations. 

With the tightening of spending by companies and increased private equity scrutiny around how budgets are spent, I believe that a gap is widening between business development professionals who understand this information and those who don’t.

And business development isn’t just isolated to professionals in sales. It includes anyone looking for a job, or trying to convince dotted line team members to get their work done in the manner they want it, or any behavior change that one may want to see in another person.

Loss aversion is the concept that people will do more to avoid pain than gain pleasure. 

From a business perspective, this means that professionals would rather do more to avoid getting fired than to do something that could make them a hero and swiftly work up their company’s organizational hierarchy.

Here are some examples:

Getting a company to purchase your consulting services

A company has decided that they need consulting services to improve their performance and operational abilities. They have a $100,000 budget for this service and have appointed a leader in the organization to decide which consulting company to go with. 

Outdated perspectives would assume “If I can deliver more than what they are asking for in my proposal and come in way under their budget, they would have no choice but to choose me and my consulting firm.”

That perspective would be wrong.


Because the decision-maker in this scenario didn’t choose to pursue this consulting. In fact, if it were up to them, they likely wouldn’t change anything about the way the business operates. Why? Because change represents time and energy and as long as that decision-maker continues to get paid by their company, they aren’t exactly incentivized to change the way the company operates. 

However, because the company appointed them to make a decision, they are essentially forcing this decision-maker’s hand. They are essentially saying “if you don’t make a change in this area, we will make a change for you.”

This decision-maker also doesn’t see a dime of savings from the budget allocated for this service. Therefore, if you are a consultant and you come in $1,000 under budget or $50,000 under budget, this doesn’t really affect the decision-maker because as long as the project is under budget, that is all that matters to them.

The number one factor that the decision-maker is contemplating in terms of who to hire for this consulting work is “who represents the least likelihood of getting me fired.”

That is it! And if they can get away with stalling the decision and ultimately get to no decision without putting their job at risk, that is their number one option. 

When people share the adage “nobody ever got fired by hiring Deloitte (or KPMG or Ernst & Young or whoever the largest, most dominant competitor is in your market)”, they are referring to the simple fact that they represent the status quo. If Deloitte does a bad job and the executive team is dissatisfied, can you really fire the person who hired Deloitte knowing their reputation? Not as likely. Or, if you go with a smaller, lesser-known consultant and they do a bad job, when going with a Deloitte was an option for them (and within budget), is it easier to justify firing the person that decided to make that hire? Much more likely. 

Landing a job

This can also be applied to people seeking a job. If you are a candidate with a lot of experience AND you fall within budget*, you are much more likely to land the position compared to someone who doesn’t. Taking a risk on a candidate you like but who doesn’t have the qualifications creates risk for the business. If that candidate fails or leaves, in a post-mortem, we can observe “were there flaws in our hiring process?” 

*Caveat on falling within budget. From a hiring perspective, this is oftentimes subjective based on assumptions as to how much a person will cost to bring in. Some candidates have heard the feedback “you are just too experienced for this role” or “this role would be beneath your capabilities”. This is oftentimes HR speak for “we assume we know how much you are going ask for in terms of salary and we don’t have the budget to afford it so as opposed to going through fruitless negotiations in which we think we know we can’t meet your salary demands, we might as well end the interview process short.”

Getting a dotted line team member (a team member who doesn’t directly report to you, but you need their work to get your work done) to change their behavior

The same holds true for getting a dotted-line team member to change the way in which they behave so then you can get your work done more effectively. If you are waiting on another team member or entire department to get work done in a specific way and they consistently come up short, elongating the time and energy it takes for you and your team to complete the work, your respective mid-level managers might jump in and try imploring their respective teams to be more amenable to the change, but this oftentimes doesn’t work. 


Because a mid-level manager isn’t going to fire one of their teammates for not adjusting their work output to make it easier for a team in a different department to get their work done. As long as the incentives and metrics they are being measured against are consistently achieved, it is really hard to achieve a behavior change.

However, if the person who wants to see the behavior change from the other team can quantify the financial impact this extra time and energy has on the bottom line (perhaps they can say that they wouldn't need to fulfill an additional headcount because they are that much more efficient) and then take that information to the CFO and the CFO determines that this minor behavior change from the other team is a much less painful adjustment than the financial costs of hiring an extra team member to account for this, you can bet that the behavior change is about to be permanent.

Therefore, if we are business development professionals, we need to think differently about how we make ourselves more attractive to our prospects. This starts with understanding who feels the pain that you can relieve the most. It is then followed up with having high proximity to those decision-makers in an environment that shows off our knowledge and capabilities but not in a way that seems braggadocios but rather a humble way. I will be writing a second part to this article to elaborate on solutions, but if you are interested in this topic in the meantime, send me a message on LinkedIn.

Wed 17 April 2024
Layoffs are an unfortunate aspect of a business’s lifecycle.

Whether a company over-hired during a period of steep growth in anticipation of potentially continuing that growth.

Or a company had a client that represented a large percentage of their total revenue leave and is trying to figure out where to come up with the revenue to pay for everyone’s salaries.

Or a company has gradually fallen on harder times and has decided that restructuring how the organization looks and operates is critical to being successful in the future.

Or a company could have had an informal layoff where they decide to not backfill positions after someone leaves and just ask those who are left to take on additional work.

They are part of a business’s natural ebbs and flows. One could argue that if a company isn’t putting themselves at risk of having a layoff (e.g. hiring to pursue new opportunities), they aren’t effectively preparing themselves for opportunities for high growth when they present themselves.

But what happens to those who are left?

Those who are left oftentimes feel a sense of survivors guilt – as if they are the lucky ones for not getting fired.

This is oftentimes quickly followed by burnout because they are now being asked to do the work of multiple people after growing accustomed to doing the work they had been doing.

Once burnout occurs, people start to formulate their own assumptions about what is next for them and the business. This narrative people create about their future fate is oftentimes way worse than the reality of the situation because the news of the layoff in the first place was likely a huge surprise and has tarnished their belief in the business long-term.

As a leader of a company, here are 3 things you can do to help build back morale after a layoff:

1.      Control the narrative

If leaders don’t control the narrative after a layoff, their people will come up with their own narrative. One leader I interviewed 3 months after a layoff her team decided to pursue shared that she heard from one of her team members that the company was about to go through a merger or get acquired. She had no idea where that news came from. As the second largest shareholder in the company, she reassured her team member that a merger or acquisition was not going to happen, but she couldn’t help but wonder where this rumor came from and how many other rumors might be flying around that she has no idea about.

To minimize surprises around a layoff, some leaders will practice open book management or sharing the financials of a business with all of the employees.

The challenge with the assumption that employees who know the financials will be less surprised if a layoff happens is that the employees don’t know how an executive team will react to multiple down revenue months in a row. Multiple down revenue months could mean no bonuses this year or it could mean layoffs. Knowing how an executive team will react to multiple down months in a row is not the job of the employees.

Companies also often face the challenge of leadership happy talk. This is the act of a charismatic leader (oftentimes the founder or CEO) who say things like “we have been around for 25 years and aren’t going anywhere!”

This talk, when times are good, boosts morale and makes people feel secure. But when a layoff happens, it completely tarnishes morale and the trust employees have in the company moving forward is severely tarnished.

Therefore, if leaders are to control the narrative for those employees that are left, they need to explicitly share why their performance justified keeping them and how that helps the business grow into the future. Leaders essentially need to reassure employees why their job is safe or else employees will assume their job isn’t safe and starting looking for jobs elsewhere.

2.      Make people feel heard

There was a prison study in which inmates were to submit feedback on the state of the cafeteria food. This suggestion box had always existed in the cafeteria but the results of the dining experience never seemed to change. Leadership in the prison wanted to get Likert scale feedback on the quality of the dining experience in the prison and to little surprise, their scores were very low.

Eventually, a leader within the prison decided to do something different. He decided to read all of the suggestions out loud in front of all of the inmates. Regardless of how feasible the suggestion was, he read them all out loud in front of everyone.

Then, something interesting happened. The scores for the quality of the dining experience at the prison improved on the Likert scale. The prison didn’t in fact do anything to improve the dining experience for the inmates, but they let them know that they were heard. 

The same holds true for employees.

I am not advocating for gaslighting the employee experience (e.g. listening to what they have to say and doing absolutely nothing about it), but what I am writing is that helping employees feel heard, even if the leader can’t do anything about their concerns, is much better than ignoring employee concerns altogether to avoid the hard conversation. 

3.      Elaborate on the why to the nth degree and repeat, repeat, repeat

Too many leaders assume that all employees are privy to all the information that the leader is and should therefore understand why certain decisions were made.

Too many leaders assume that explaining why a decision was made once is sufficient for employees to fully digest and understand moving forward.

These are toxic assumptions because employees are not aware of the information a leader has at their disposal, and although the leader may have explained the situation once to the employee, the leader needs to go further to explain the why behind the decision.

For example, a leader could share “We have decided to layoff 5% of our workforce. We made this decision because we over-hired the year prior. We were on a major upward trajectory and wanted to be prepared if the market continued to climb. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and we let go of these employees for the sole fact that we don’t have enough business to justify having them on the team moving forward. Moving forward, we believe we have right-sized our business to be commensurate with where the market is now. As long as we are able to achieve xyz profitability, we should be able to grow a steady growth rate moving forward. When our company is able to achieve xyz profitability, it allows us the freedom and ability to grow our business in a stable way. When we are below that profitability, it puts the business at risk of going under. If the business goes under, nobody has jobs and we won’t be able to work together anymore.”

This may seem like overkill, but by being abundantly clear about how the business operates and the numbers the business needs to achieve to thrive, it empowers employees to know where they stand with the business. 

Then repeat, repeat, and repeat some more. And when you feel like you have shared this message a million times, share it one more time just to be safe. 

Oftentimes, employees will need to hear a message multiple times for them to become conscientiously aware as to what the message means and the ramifications it has on them.

Overall, building back team morale after a layoff is hard. It is the companies that can control the narrative, make people feel heard, and explain the why with enough repetition that are able to achieve success after a layoff.

Thu 18 January 2024
Goal setting is a critical element to any successful team. If businesses fail to create an environment for team members and leaders to set goals, then they are firefighting.

Firefighting is the concept of having employees tactically react to emergencies that come up in the business as opposed to strategically creating long-term solutions for those challenges. Firefighting is exhausting, mentally draining, and leads to burnout for employees. Firefighting is also highly inefficient. 

As opposed to strategically coming up with a process to handle common issues as they arise, firefighting is asking individual employees to create unique processes for handling the same issues. This means that the company is not leveraging the knowledge and experience from multiple employees that have already solved that issue. Instead, they are leaving an effective, easy solution on the backburner as challenges arise since nobody can find the time needed to implement it. 

In most work environments firefighting is inevitable, but it shouldn’t be your team’s primary focus. Employees should be either following a proven process to solve that challenge, or they should be experimenting and tweaking potential solutions to create a proven process.

One of the best ways to combat a culture of firefighting is with goal-setting. Goal-setting is the practice of reflecting on the challenges one has faced over a certain period of time, ideating on what process or solution can be implemented so then that challenge is less painful or frustrating to handle in the future and then work on testing the best way to go about achieving that desired result. 

Most business owners and executives may read this and think to themselves “Let’s start having our employees set goals” or “We have an HR system that allows us to set goals and we encourage our employees to set them”. 

These comments miss an important fact: most employees suck at setting goals. And to be fair, that’s not their fault! Good goal setting takes practice, and many people let that skill atrophy if they ever learned it at all. 

They have never been taught proper goal-setting techniques like setting goals that are specific, measurable, relevant, attainable, and time-bound. And even if they have learned about SMART goals, they probably haven’t practiced this skill enough to turn it into a habit. 

And even if a couple people on the team are good at setting goals, you still need company support to ensure that goal setting stays as a high priority. If nobody at the company is holding those that struggle at setting goals accountable for setting good goals, those that are good at setting goals have little incentive to continue setting goals because those that struggle to set goals are not being held accountable.

This is even more critical at the managerial level.

If managers aren’t setting goals or are setting poor goals, this lack of skill in this area permeates to their entire team. This ripple effect causes the employees of a manager that doesn’t set goals or sets poor goals to have a culture of firefighting – because if businesses aren’t strategically thinking about how to build processes to handle the challenges that comes up, then they will be reactive to whatever challenges they encounter.

The other challenge in goal-setting for managers is isolation.

Even if a manager knows how to set goals effectively and consistently sets them, they still need to understand their company’s objectives to set great goals. If they are isolated, they will set goals based on unclear or out-of-date objectives that were determined internally from the past. 

To clarify the difference between objectives and the typical goals set by direct reports. Objectives are top-down, publicly shared and ambitious goals that are strived for over a long period of time. They are set by company leaders to shape the company’s next months or years. Once a company has set an objective, teams will set goals that help achieve that objective. These goals are the steps in the process that determine a company’s ability to achieve the objective. 

It’s important to note that objectives are typically broad and non-specific (e.g., optimize operational efficiency and scalability). So, for an objective like optimize operational efficiency and scalability, team members might measure its success with goals like reduce software deployment time by 30%, or enhance server infrastructure to accommodate a 20% growth in user base without performance degradation. At the end of a successful push, team members and leaders will know whether the objective was met because the achieved goals all contributed to optimizing operational efficiency and scalability. 

An easy way to understand this concept is by following the format recommended by this article; a company will achieve an objective  as measured by several key results. Check out a few examples below to see what this looks like. Also note that an objective is typically supported by 3-5 goals.  

Objective: Drive Business Growth through Market Expansion.
1) Enter at least two new target markets, increasing the customer base by 20% in those regions.
2) Achieve a 15% increase in annual recurring revenue (ARR) through upselling and cross-selling to existing customers.

Objective: Drive Business Growth through Market Expansion.
1) Enter at least two new target markets, increasing the customer base by 20% in those regions.
2) Achieve a 15% increase in annual recurring revenue (ARR) through upselling and cross-selling to existing customers.

Because the world (and thus the company) is constantly changing and evolving, if managers don’t have any concept as to what innovations are coming within their departments, they run the risk of their goals getting stale and outdated.

Companies can combat this by having their manager join executive mastermind groups where they are exposed to leaders outside of their company and can learn from their experiences.


Companies can leverage AI to help their managers not only set effective goals, but set goals based on the goals set by other managers of similar teams in similar industries are setting. Through artificial intelligence, managers can glean suggested objectives and goals based on what other leaders of similar teams in similar industries are doing. 


AIM Insights has an AI integration that can identify the industry, title, and department of a manager and provide suggested objectives and goals to that manager based on what other leaders in similar roles are doing. AIM Insights also helps managers from across the company see what goals other team members and managers are setting so they can get a better understanding as to what other departments and managers are focused on.

Why is this important? 

If companies have managers struggling to identify what is the most important thing that they should be focused on (this typically occurs after prolonged periods of firefighting), having suggestions based on AI can help managers quickly realign and get ideas. When used in conjunction with an executive coach and knowing the goals of other managers in other departments at the company (that are also using an executive coach), managers can combine cutting-edge technology with an experienced professional to get the best of both worlds.

When managers and teams have extended periods of firefighting, doing any work that is strategic can be really hard to pick back up. Employees can become so jaded by strategic work like goal-setting that they sometimes end up weighing the cost of time spent goal-setting as a sacrifice to their ability to put out a certain number of fires. This zero-sum thinking is devastating for a company’s long-term health.

“I can’t believe I just spent 15 minutes goal setting! I could have spent that time checking 5 emails or handling a customer issue.”

If employees develop this mindset around goal-setting, it creates a toxic environment and a culture that is too incentivized to put out fires without considering ways to preemptively stop the fires from ever starting. 

There is a story about the early days of Amazon. Jeff Bezos was on the floor with some of his employees packing boxes and shipping them out. Bezos said to his employees “we should get knee pads.” Another employee chimed in “No, we should get packing tables.”

When employees and managers don’t take the time to regularly set goals, they are blinded by what they can do to put out their immediate pain (knee pads help alleviate pain from an uncomfortable position) instead of focusing on an innovative solution that can eradicate the challenge altogether with a side-benefit of increased productivity (getting packing tables).

AI suggestions for goal setting and objective setting can be a great way to quickly get employees thinking about what they can focus on to handle their issues. 

Keep in mind, these are suggestions, not mandates. AI can be a great starting point for assisting in goal setting, but it is the human receiving the AI suggestions that needs to approve those goals and subsequently act on achieving them.

Thu 16 November 2023
Since 2021, our team at Ambition In Motion has been implementing our AIM Insights program within many companies to help their managers better understand the perception between themselves and their direct reports and provide coaching to help those managers have more effective 1:1 meetings between themselves and their teams.
One area of measurement we focus on is Work Orientation. Simply put, Work Orientation is how a person views work as part of their life. This quick 15-question assessment helps people understand their why for work. Some people view their work as a Job (motivated by work/life balance), while others as a Career (motivated by professional growth), and others as a Calling (motivated by professional and personal mission alignment). We repeatedly measure the work orientation of our participants, and this has revealed a few fascinating insights. 
One finding is that Work Orientation is fluid, meaning it can change overtime. When originally completing the Work Orientation Assessment, 64% of direct reports’ results showed that they were mostly Career Oriented, 20% of direct reports’ results showed that they were Calling Oriented, and 22% of direct reports’ results showed that they were Job Oriented. 
After assessing a sample set of 164 direct reports that completed monthly surveys for at least a year, we have discovered some interesting results. After one year working under a manager using AIM Insights, the results showed that Calling Orientation increased by about +5%, Career Orientation increased by +6%, and results that showed Job Orientation decreased by -12.5%. As people work with AIM Insights managers, we see that their motivation for work changes. 
We have also analyzed over 4,000 individuals’ Work Orientations - observing changes to peoples Work Orientation over the span of year that are not in our AIM Insights program. The results are that Work Orientation is changing for those individuals, but not nearly all in the same direction as direct reports in our AIM Insights program (i.e., increased focus on Career and Calling Orientations).
What does this mean?
The employees who are using AIM Insights and receiving feedback from their managers using AIM Insights are more likely to find their motivation as work to be from a career or calling orientation. This means that employees are more interested in promotions, more interested in the mission/vision/core values of the company, and are more likely to recommend the company to their friends and family for employment or for referring business. This helps them view their work as a career or calling instead of a job. They want to step up and do more than the bare minimum to get by. They are more eager to take on responsibilities and roles for the opportunity to learn. And they are more likely to put more into their work because they see the work contributing to something greater than themselves. 
What could be the cause of these results?
We believe these changes are caused by the training and support that managers receive when using AIM Insights. We know it takes more than luck to build a great team, and these managers are clearly building great teams. Here’s how it works:
AIM Insights has a few important components:
• Direct reports of a manager complete brief monthly surveys assessing how they feel about their performance and their manager’s performance, and then they set monthly SMART goals.
• Managers use the AIM Insights dashboard to review their monthly report and analyze their own perspective on the team’s performance and the individual performance. 
• An executive coach, assigned to each manager for monthly 1-hour 1:1 coaching sessions, helps each manager:
• Understand the perception gaps between themselves and their teams.
• Create an action plan with the manager on how they can approach each direct report to better understand their perspective and communicate their own.
• Oftentimes role play or practice how that 1:1 could go from a best, moderate, and worst-case scenario with the manager.
• Discuss other challenges that manager may be facing from an executive coaching perspective.
Across all the teams we assessed, the only meaningful change to the way the direct reports of a manager experienced their work was how their manager treated them after starting AIM Insights. Here are a few findings that we’ve identified by working with our executive coaches. 
• As opposed to avoiding conflict because managers are uncomfortable with difficult conversations, managers are now embracing those conversations leading to better resolutions.
• As opposed to fumbling through an attempt at having a hard conversation because the manager didn’t practice nor received feedback from anyone, managers are now coming prepared for their 1:1 meetings with their direct reports.
• As opposed to waiting to see if a subtle behavior that irritated the manager turns into a larger problem because the manager doesn’t know how to approach a direct report with constructive criticism, managers are now targeting these conversations head-on and coming into those meetings prepared.
• As opposed to having performance reviews rife with subjectivity and recency bias (e.g. the “what have you done for me lately” effect) managers are now coming into performance reviews prepared with full understanding as to what each employee has been working on over entire period being reviewed.
• As opposed to the dreaded “surprise performance review” where direct reports feel blindsided by their manager, managers are now being proactive and helping each direct report emphasize their strengths and work on their weaknesses. Immediately discussing feedback ensures that managers and direct reports are completely on the same page and nobody is surprised by any feedback given in the performance review because that feedback has been given consistently throughout the year.
• As opposed to managers setting goals for their employees and being a “tactical firefighter” (e.g., “I don’t need to explain why this is important, just do it!”), managers now have their direct reports set goals and give their direct reports feedback on why those goals are impactful or not impactful and why. This empowers employees to have a clearer vision as to how their work contributes to the greater picture of the company.
• As opposed to managers attempting to “read the tea leaves” and going to their local soothsayer to attempt to understand how their employees are feeling about them as a leader, they can directly look at the data and observe how their team feels about them and where there might be perception gaps.
Essentially, managers who use AIM Insights with their teams drive greater feelings of Career and Calling Orientation over the span of year compared to managers who don’t use AIM Insights.