The Rose Compass

OK a little confession here.  This is a tool I have been working on for a few years to help people at work as well as help managers, team leaders, supervisors become stronger talent managers. I have used this tactic a lot when managing staff and have been able to get great results even with those people who may not have been on the companies’ wavelength or that keen on having me take over from their previous manager.  I now use this tool in my approach with my coaching clients and find it works very well for me.

OH…And by results I mean loyalty, trust, honesty and positive outcomes for the business.

The goal of this tool is to provide a simple weekly exercise that every manager can use to help develop a meaningful working relationship with their most important resource – their people.  It is also design so you do not have to purchase some fancy piece of software or invest heavily in management courses to learn.

I have looked to keep it simple so if is effective and easily actioned.  My hope being this will make your work life better.  I suspect you can apply this tool to your other relationships and find improvement their as well if you need it.

So what is a Rose Compass?
The compass rose is an old design element found on compasses, maps, and even monuments (e.g. the Tower of the Winds in Athens and the pavement in Dougga, Tunis, during Roman times) to show cardinal directions and frequently intermediate direction.

Early forms of the compass rose were known as wind roses, since no differentiation was made between a directional point and the wind that emanated from that direction.

The purpose of the Rose Compass is to help you stay on track.  The Rose Compass can show you where you want to go and help you understand where you are actually heading.

Applying the Rose Compass to Talent Management.
Understanding the principle that there are always a minimum of two directions we are heading is important within Talent Management.  No matter whether you are working for someone else or working for a client there are these forces at play – what the company or client wants you to achieve, and what you want to personally achieve.  Like with a nautical Rose Compass the trick is to monitor the situation on a regular basis to ensure you are heading to achieving your goal/s.

From a managers view the value in a Rose Compass is know what the employee is looking to achieve for themselves personally and tracking this against what the business is wanting them to achieve.  If you can find the matches you can coach and manage the employee effectively.  If no match exists or the direction of the employee is unclear, then you have left yourself open for trouble.

Now this is very important …
Unlike, a performance review this approach starts with an absolute focus on the staff member’s needs.  Where are they heading? what do they want to achieve, how can you help them get there?  and in many cases you will find that initially you may need to help people discover a direction.  The great thing is once this is established you can then start mapping the tasks and things they want to do to the tasks and things the organisation wants to do.

This is a very powerful tool as suddenly you have the very means to ensure you are heading in the same direction.  This is how we truly acheve a Win/Win/Win situation, build strong working relationships and if applied to your customers, family and friends, more meaningful relationships all around.

OK, now the hard part – before I get to the tactics of how you work this.  Yes, it may also mean it is time to realise you are on different paths and then you need to work through a positive plan that allows both parties to move on with dignity and respect.

Putting the Rose Compass in action 
I prefer weekly meetings with staff normally between 20-30 minutes per week and unlike the norm these are not performance meetings driven by what the manager or organisation is looking to achieve.  In fact, they are the complete opposite and much more effective in my opinion.  The sessions are to check-in with the staff member and see if they are on track with their plans. Now it may take some time for you to build the trust and if you want to know how to do this please read more about He Waka Taura the talent management framework I developed with Hohepa Patea.

But once this trust is built and the staff member realises you are truly invested in their success you will find these sessions very powerful.  It starts by finding out what the staff member wants to achieve (long term) and looking at how the current role contributes to that success while also clearly showing how that the actions being taken are benefitting both parties i.e. The journey is on track.  This may mean writing down the things the staff member is looking to achieve and how they are doing that on a daily basis and then comparing this to what the organisation (or manager) is looking to achieve by writing these down side by side.

In some cases, their maybe small actions required to alter the course and armed with the information on what the staff member is looking to achieve a talented manager can show what is required for both parties to achieve their goals.  Of course if the tracks are too far apart or totally incompatible then more serious actions will need to be taken.

This method is highly successful it has helped me build very successful teams in the past, even when inheriting someone else’s staff who did not necessarily ‘warm’ to me initially I was able to forge a way forward.

You can back these meetings up with monthly performance meetings if needed but I promise you when you get the chemistry right between you and your team member you will find this approach very effective.


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