What We Do

What We Do

Everything we do at Workstone revolves around a single purpose: making companies and their people more successful by making managers—the people who run their companies day in and day out—more capable.
We do it by guiding managers through a unique process that reliably turns good managers into great managers.

Programs and Services

We offer a comprehensive collection of manager development programs that produce measurable results in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner. The programs run 18 to 36 weeks in length, and they deliver powerful peer-group learning experiences. In addition to our programs, we also provide a set of services that help managers and their companies thrive.

We've worked in our field for many years, and our programs and services are the best way that we know of for a company to develop its people and strengthen its long-term performance and growth. To learn more, see Programs and Services.

Industries We Serve

We specialize in working with science- and technology-focused companies and with the professional-services companies that serve them. See Industries We Serve to learn about the types of companies we serve and about the reasons that our programs and services are especially well-suited for those companies.

The Impact of Our Work

Our work has a broad impact on the companies we serve because managers direct and influence the work of almost everyone else in the company. If managers do their job well, they increase productivity and profitability. They also increase worker and customer loyalty, build expertise within the organization, and contribute to the company's long-term growth and success.

When a manager gets better at managing, the manager's entire team performs better, and when a team performs better, benefits resonate throughout the organization and beyond it. See Impact to learn about the cascading benefits of manager development and about the ways that manager development helps companies, individuals and communities.

Our Approach

Our approach to manager development is unique and innovative in many ways. Beneath it all, however, the innovative nature of our work is simply the result of applying timeless principles to improving the management of large companies.

We've been working with managers for more than twenty years, and throughout that time, we've paid close attention to the experiences and insights that people need in order to become better managers. Our work focuses strongly on providing structure, interaction and experience. Learn more in Approach.

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Why We Do It

We do what we do because we like working with large companies—especially ones that help people—and we love making people's lives better.

The results of our work allow us to serve outstanding companies in admirable industries, and we love seeing the impact that our work has on people's lives. We know through long experience that a single great manager can make life better for a lot of people. Why? Because management matters.

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Why Management Matters

Management is the first and most important function of every business, and that's important for very human reasons.

A company's management determines what the company is and what the company does. The quality of a company's management—of all of its managers, from its top executives to its newest team leaders—ultimately determines what the company does and how well the company performs.

Every company faces challenges and opportunities. What's important is how it responds to those challenges and opportunities. A company's response is the response of its managers.

If a piece of equipment fails and customers are disappointed, great management can orchestrate a response that makes the customers feel valued, and by doing so, turn a momentary equipment failure into enduring customer loyalty. However, if the same failure occurs a number of times, at its root, the problem isn't an equipment failure. It's a management failure.

The same logic applies equally to all persistent business problems and to all forms of corporate mediocrity. Recurring quality control issues, sagging customer loyalty, chronically poor sales, frequently missed deadlines, declining employee morale, being out of sync with market developments—any company can run into those problems. When a problem becomes an enduring pattern, however, it's not a technology failure, the result of a poor economy, or the fault of an inadequate workforce. It's the result of poor management.

By the same token, when a company achieves outstanding long-term success, it's the result of gathering the right people, sharing the right vision, providing the right resources, and executing the right plan. It's the result of great management.

Root Causes

It's important to acknowledge that poor management is rarely the result of bad intentions. Poor management commonly arises simply because most managers are never taught how to manage (at least, not in an effective way). Managing business is a complex job—possibly the most complex job there is—but it's common for people to assume that managing is just a matter of relaying orders from above.

Unfortunately, many companies are filled with managers, including senior managers, who don't know how to manage well. Those managers can't fix the problems they see because they don't understand the root of the problem. They don't know the difference between poor management and good management, and they don't know what it is that they don't know.

The Human Impact of Management

In a broader and more human sense, management matters not because of the company it creates but because of the impact that the company has on people—on its employees, on its shareholders, and on all of the people whose lives are touched by its work.

For people who work in large companies, the quality of the company's management informs every moment of daily life. A great manager can build confidence, share valuable knowledge, make work inspiring, and provide opportunitites for a better life. Sadly, some managers don't know how to do any of those things, and because they don't know how to manage well, they find managing people to be a frustrating and even threatening experience. Most managers fall into the average range, which in business produces mediocrity. Regardless of their capabilities, all managers impact the lives of the people around them in important ways.

No matter who we are and where we work, large companies shape all of our lives so deeply that it's difficult to see the full extent of their influence. The materials in our homes, the food on our tables, the vehicles we drive, the devices that keep us in touch, the medicines that heal our bodies—almost all of it is produced or shaped or delivered by large companies—companies that are what they are because of their managers.

How much does it matter if a person's work feels meaningful and recognized? How much does it matter if years of hard work and study finally lead to a life-changing promotion? How much does it matter if a mother's medicine is effective and affordable? How much does it matter if our homes and our cars and our meals are safe?

Managers have the power to make those things happen. That's why management matters.

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What's Important and What Works

To be successful in any meaningful endeavor, you need to know what's important and what works. You need know-how—practical knowledge that only comes through direct experience.

To be a great manager, you need to be able to look at a unique business situation, listen to what's being said, consider the people involved, and understand what's really important. Then, you need to know how to move things forward.

You need to know how to set priorities, how to manage projects and how to run teams. You need to recognize problems and opportunities, and you need to focus on the ones that matter. You also need to know how to work well with different types of people—people who see things differently than you do and who are motivated by things that wouldn't normally cross your own mind.

The phrase what's important and what works describes what we teach managers. It also describes the way we teach it to them. When it comes to developing great managers, we've spent years learning what's important and what works.

Practical skills are important. Character strengths are important. Clarity about values is important. Interpersonal styles and decision-making styles are important.

Small groups work. Facilitated phone calls work. 18- to 36-session programs work. Tightly-focused weekly readings work. Collecting regular feedback works. Straightforward tools work. Most important, helping people to learn from their own work-in-progress works.

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