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Using GROW to make sensible decisions

Alistair Gordon
The GROW Model is a widely used tool applied to planning conversations, particularly in the coaching context. It provides a clear and logical structure for the parties in a conversation to explore an issue in a logical order. Increasingly, the FASTLEAD team is encouraging the use of the tool to help make really good business decisions. 

The invention of GROW is credited to Sir John Whitmore, whose book Coaching for Performance, GROWing Human Potential And Purpose, is a brilliant and necessary read for all coaches and thoughtful leaders.

 The GROW Structure
 G GOAL 
What is your goal for this conversation?
 R  REALITY
What is the current situation or reality? An assessment of current status.
 O  OPTIONS
What could you do? The trick here is to list all options, not just the obvious one. Often the option eventually chosen is a combination of past choices allied to new ideas.
 W  WILL
What will you do, by when and how will you know whether you’ve been successful?

How using this model helps create better conversations: 

1. It stops us jumping immediately into solution mode - something we increasingly feel compelled to do because we have such little time. 

2. It stops us considering only front of mind options – remember, if you want to get a different result, whether from a conversation or a decision, you won’t get it by doing the same thing you did last time. 

3. It helps us properly define, and usually refine, our goal. As an example, in a conversation with a team member who continually arrives late to work, most Fastleaders would set the Goal as ‘getting them to arrive on time’. However, after exploring the reality of why they are arriving late – the real objective emerges that the team member needs to be sufficiently motivated and respectful of the rest of the team to consistently turn up on time. The Goal then must be changed. 

4. It helps us understand we need to challenge our assumptions. In the example above, there is a huge difference between the team member being lazy and not being engaged. 

5. At FASTLEAD we encourage its use because it also helps to retain focus, to ensure crucial steps are missed. 

So how does GROW also help in decision making? At FASTLEAD we see it adds discipline and structure to the process.

 G  GOAL  What is your goal with this decision? What outcome do you wish to achieve? How will this outcome be measured? Lag or lead measures, or both? What impact will this outcome have on business, team, customers, etc.?
 R  REALITY  What is the current situation or reality? An assessment of current status. Where do the measures defined in Goals sit at the current time? What has contributed to these? Why is current performance as it is? What barriers (competitors, team capability, resources etc.) are getting in the way of the outcome we want to achieve? What resources are current available and currently deployed?
 O  OPTIONS  What could we do? What decisions could we make and what would be the upside of these decisions (pros) and the possible downsides (cons)? The trick here is to list all options, not just the obvious ones. Often the option eventually chosen is a combination of past choices allied to new ideas. What have we done in the past and how effective has it been (pros and cons)? What are our competitors doing, and how effective have these tactics been? What levers are there available to us in this decision that we could move (pricing, margins, marketing, supply chain, sales approach, business model, resource allocation, etc.)?
 W  WILL  What will you do, by when and how will you know whether you’ve been successful?

Send us your feedback - at the FASTLEAD Forum - on how you’re GROWing.



Alistair Gordon
FASTLEAD Coaching Team



THE LESSON FROM GROW


We encourage Fastleaders to practice using this structure – with your team. Start with smaller conversations and gradually build your decision making confidence.



 
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