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Not John Lennon’s IMAGINE

Imagine going to work every day, doing the best you know how and not knowing whether your boss agrees that what you’re doing is what s/he wants and needs.  

Imagine being surprised at your annual performance review (which is usually at least a month or two late) to hear for the first time that you’ve been doing it wrong.   

Imagine your leadership team’s surprise that their employees are profoundly disengaged.  

This is an all too familiar scenario at work places across the globe. Lack of useful feedback negatively impacts productivity and profitability, not to mention the over-use of employee health benefits due to stress. 

Most importantly, it is impacting the quality of people’s lives.  

When you spend the majority of your week in uncertainty and fear, life becomes burdensome very quickly. And the sad part is, it is neither expensive nor difficult to fix. Keep reading for how.  

Humans inherently want feedback. It’s why children want us to watch as they perform feats on the playground, why we look for clues in the faces of others when we talk, and why we want our immediate supervisors to let us know how we’re doing.  

Unfortunately, too many managers believe that a simple, “Good work,” will suffice. Or worse, in the absence of “good work,” a torturous silence. I use the word “torturous” deliberately – it feels that way when you’re on the receiving end of silence instead of feedback. (Silence is a form of negative feedback whether you mean it that way or not.) 

Whether it’s “good work” or silence, what your employees crave are details. What did you like, what could I do better, how can I improve? Even those employees you think don’t care want detailed feedback. If for no other reason, they want to know how to keep you “off their backs.” (Smile) 

The LB/NT Process is a simple, yet incredibly effective way to provide feedback.    

First, you use two questions to inspire your team member to evaluate their own performance:  (1) What did you like best (LB) about what you did? and (2) What would you do differently next time? (NT) LB/NT 

Once you’ve gotten their self-feedback, take it into consideration as you tell them the answers to the same two questions:  (1) What did you like best about their performance, and (2) what, if anything, would you like them to do differently next time?  

Not only does this process satisfy their strong need for feedback, it teaches them important skills like ownership of results. It is also a quick and easy way for you to develop them in areas where they need it.  

Click here for a printable PDF

4% Unemployment Makes Employee Engagement CRUCIAL

I believe we have the capability to innovate our way out of anything. The problem is, we generally don’t act until there is a crisis. When unemployment was in double figures, there was no compelling reason to pay attention to the importance of engaging employees. After all, where were they going to go? It was tough “out there” and they were unlikely to walk out the door.

Even if you’re a kind soul who truly cares about your team, there’s still a good chance you have not been giving enough attention to engaging your employees. You’re busy; you have a lot to do.

Consider this your wake-up call. Your employees now have many options, especially your top performers. Unemployment is at 4%. Take your team for granted at your peril. There IS a crisis; time to innovate.

At a time of year when most organizations are looking at budgets, an equally important task is to look just as closely at your employee engagement. There are numerous ways to measure it: use of employee benefits, mistakes made, customer accolades versus complaints, productivity, etc. My guess, however, is that you already know whether your employees are engaged. You can tell by the energy (or lack thereof) at your work place.

If there is one thing you can do this year to ensure growth and/or increased productivity, it is to focus on ways to engage your team more fully. Unfortunately, this is often not even on most leaders’ radar. It’s too easy to decide that it’s hopeless– people will be people – I can’t do anything about whether or not they are engaged.

How do you know? Have you even tried?

First of all, you get more of what you focus on. The moment you shift your focus from, “What’s the use?” to “Let’s see what we can make happen,” you will begin to see an uptick in engagement. Add to that some simple approaches:

  • Before going straight to your work area at the beginning of your day, make an effort to greet everyone on your team. If they respond with a puzzled look and ask, “Who are you again?” you know it’s a bigger problem than you feared.
  • “Catch” people doing something right.
  • Say “thank you” and be specific about what you’re thanking them for.
  • Write them up for doing something well versus writing them up for mistakes.

These are just a few ways to engage your employees, there are many more. Those listed above don’t take a lot of time; they do take focus.

Why not try them out? Be innovative! What have you got to lose?

“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”    – Herbert Spencer

Or, as the old TV slogan encouraged us, “Try it; you’ll LIKE it!”

Click here for a printable PDF