Never be surprised by a resignation again

How did you like the MEAL I shared with you in the last post?

Well, guess what?

It’s also useful for you as a leader to use with your teams.

I wouldn’t pull out the model and ask your staff to rate themselves. It’d be weird.

A diamond shape with these words at each point, meaning, enjoyment, achievement and learning,

Instead keep the mnemonic in mind and in your one to ones, check in with them on how they’re feeling.


  • If you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
  • What the bigger picture here?


  • What’s your favourite part of the job?
  • What’s your least favourite part of the job and how much time does it take up?


  • What’s a piece of work you’ve done recently that you’re proud of?
  • What’s something you’ve been trying to get done for ages but can’t?


  • What would you like to be learning that you aren’t?
  • What’s captured your interest at work recently?

I know these kinds of conversations don’t feel natural AND you risk losing people if you avoid having them.

So many of my Thinkers are surprised when a top performer leaves to more of the work they love elsewhere.

If only they’d said, they lament.

If only you’d asked, I counter.

My challenge to you is to check in on a piece of MEAL in every interaction with your direct reports. It’s easy to let the developmental stuff slide when there is so much work to do.

And remember to give all your attention to the answer and to go deeper into it by asking them to tell you more.

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