Q&A: The Story Behind the New Manager Jump™ Series

Gillespie Associate’s own Michelle Wescott, creator of Gillespie Nimble, shares her thoughts on the company’s new off-the-shelf solution, the New Manager Jump Series. From initial design to the program’s launch, Michelle has taken her expertise in instructional design to bring this solution to life.

Q: How did the idea for Gillespie Nimble’s New Manager Jump™ Series program come about?

MW: I have been in the instructional design industry for going on 20 years now. I’ve seen so many different management training courses that were very event-based: one training class or eLearning, and then the expectation that you can deliver those skills in the workplace. That doesn’t work because that’s not the way adults learn. At Gillespie, we’re constantly researching and learning more about the adult learner. Advancing our understanding of adult learning is especially important as the workforce changes with the addition of millennials and the retirement of baby boomers. The demands on the adult worker are constantly changing, and training offerings need to reflect that— leading to the development of our nimble, targeted learning process. The New Manager Jump series presents smaller chunks of content, to allow for practice and application of new skills. We’ve developed off-the-shelf training influenced by instructional design methodologies like the ADDIE model and Cathy Moore’s action mapping.

Q: What skills do new managers seem to lack?

MW: Soft skills—how one’s actions affect other people. Research has shown that new managers feel they would have been more successful at their new jobs if they’d had a program highlighting skills like those found in the New Manager Jump Series. New managers get the position because they are great at their job functions. They may get administration training, but we see fewer managers getting the training on how to manage a team. There is a lack of foundation in management skills, such as building rapport, coaching, and emotional intelligence.

Q: What are the most difficult skills for new managers to develop?

MW: Delegating, handling conflict, running good meetings, and managing the individual behaviors that can affect others are difficult skills for everyone, but as a new manager can they be even more challenging to develop at this time of assuming increased responsibilities. A lack of training in these essential management skills could lead to increased turnover, lower morale, lower engagement, and lower productivity. In times of difficulty, it’s the manager’s role to make employees feel valued and help them develop their own skills. These skills are needed across a number of areas in the workplace, which is reflected in multiple aspects of the program.

Q: What types of industries can the New Manager Jump™ Series benefit?

MW: This program is as relevant to the manufacturing floor supervisor as it is to a retail store manager. It transcends industries and focuses on the common struggles any new manager may face. Responsibilities for a new manager may differ based on industry, but we give you the skills to deal with people, conflict, feedback, communication and coaching. One example is if someone wanted to move up to a position that has since been eliminated. No matter the industry, there are underlying challenges of communication and emotional intelligence for the new manager. It comes down to having the confidence to meet these challenges.

Q: What can participants expect as they move up the program levels (JumpStart, JumpIn, JumpUp), and the complexity of required skills increases?

MW: The structure of the program progresses as the responsibilities of the management role increase. Skills become more complex throughout the series, but you still need the foundational skills provided in the beginning of the series, too. For example, you learn to communicate with clarity in JumpStart. In the next level, JumpIn, you have to give and receive feedback using the clear communication skills that you previously learned. A new manager is likely to have serious challenges down the road, so the skills are there for you when you face them. The job progressively gains complexity and these skills build on each other.

Q: What workplace learning gap has the Gillespie team filled with this new off-the-shelf solution?

MW: A person can be great at their job, but that doesn’t always translate into being a great manager. This program fills the gap by providing immediately actionable skills. With the Gillespie Nimble programs, you don’t stop after one course. There is spaced practice so management training is no longer a single event, but a learning process to transfer these skills to the workplace.

This training program does not dwell on the “theoretical fluff.” We present directly actionable skills and then provide opportunities to practice them over time. Everything we do is grounded in adult learning theories that work. We apply our understanding of how adults learn through features in the program such as guided facilitation, spaced practice activities, and cohort communities for new managers to practice and share challenges with each other. We believe every manager is an expert in their own role and experience, so we give them the soft skills to support their success.

Gillespie Nimble New Manager Jump™ Series is now enrolling. Learn more about how you can get a JumpStart in your career today. For questions or inquiries, contact michelle@gillespienimble.com or call 585-287-8192.

About Michelle Wescott

Michelle holds degrees in Graphic Communications, Humanities, Women’s Studies, African American Studies, and Communications & Media Technology. It was her job managing the Kinkos Computer Services department that made Michelle realize how much she loved solving people’s dilemmas—making an aesthetically pleasing poster or explaining a ten-year gap in employment history on a resume.