What's Your "TRP" Score?

In the battles between India's TV channels, Television Rating Points (TRPs, for short) are the measure by which winners are judged. I believe managers too should gauge their performance by using TRP scores, where the acronym stands for Transparency, Responsiveness, and Partnering.

These values, traditionally associated with government and developmental organizations, have gained credence as corporate values today. It's time executives asked themselves: How do I measure on the parameters of transparency, responsiveness, and partnership?

Executives must be open and honest, not just with information but also motives. Gone are the days when they could gain importance because they had access to data or were able to hoard information. Such knowledge intermediaries add value merely by managing information flows. Transparent managers, by contrast, can leverage the collective wisdom of their teams by sharing information and knowledge.

In fact, transparently saying, "I don't know," is often a good idea. Sharing your personal limitations with candor helps create a participative management style, and serves as an invitation to team members to share knowledge and insights.

You may feel that saying, "I don't know" too often could be counter-productive. Perhaps. Don't forget that as teenagers, we relied on one short phrase to counter parental advice: "Yes, I know!" — a polite version of today's catch teen phrase, "Whatever!" Unfortunately, many managers indulge in that sort of teenage behavior almost every day. "Yes I know!" is as common in conference rooms as it is around dinner tables.

By closing the door on your team's collective wisdom, you are shutting off a source of information that is likely closer to customers than you are. Saying, "Yes I know!" to their ideas and insights is a sure-fire way of missing ground realities. We could learn a lot by saying more often, "No, I don't know."

Responsiveness, the next element of a TRP score, goes a long way in building trust. It starts with listening to team members, which opens the window to key insights. I recently conducted a "listening first" experiment by asking at every meeting I had convened what the participants wanted to discuss. Try it. Let 15 minutes go by without driving your agenda. You will turn up several issues that you missed. I certainly did!

Responsiveness also means a commitment to taking action in a timely manner. Not all employee expectations can be met, but a responsive manager will be approachable, receptive, and quick to react when the need arises.

These two elements lead to the third: A win-win partnership, where team members collaborate with managers to find solutions and achieve goals in an environment of transparency and responsiveness. It's impossible to climb mountains alone; mountaineers will vouch for that. It's the same in organisations. To climb the corporate ladder, you need the support of your team.

So let me pose the question: What do you think your TRP score is?

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