Daily Archives: June 14, 2011

stuck in a career with no place to go …

Are you stuck where you are?

“Organizations often spend too much time watching the scoreboard and not enough time watching the ball. Blanchard® research shows that 50% of organizations focus on dashboards and metrics when they should be focusing on creating and improving employee passion. A focus on numbers and productivity without a comparable focus on—and understanding of—what motivates each individual can undermine an organization’s efforts to boost employee productivity and employee work passion.

There are both distinct and subtle clues to understanding organizational productivity. Metrics such as sick days, decreased revenue, and defect rates are easily measured, but the subtleties of productivity can be harder to read. In organizations where employee work passion is high, people willingly exert discretionary effort. They talk positively about the organization to friends and family. They support their colleagues without it being a required part of their job. They are loyal. And they intend to stay with the organization, perform well, and inspire others.”    (from the Ken Blanchard Organization)

It is no wonder that so many people feel like the work they do doesn’t matter.  The effort and focus is on measuring things and leaving out the most important thing, people.   Of course there are organizational results that truly matter to the success of the business and those things shouldn’t be left to chance, but how often are those measures obscuring what really needs to be understood, how engaged are the employees in the work that they are doing?   Measuring productivity and orders and profits are  important, and so is the heartfelt engagement of each person.   Companies that want to improve bottom line results just need to care for their employees.   Now, some would say, “we do care”, we have benefits, they get a paycheck, they get a vacation, employees get all these things from us and what do they do, they don’t do their best.

There are many companies where manager’s are managing as if were 1920 and Frederick Taylor was designing the work day.   Extrinsic motivation which was the popular mode of squeezing more out of an employee is an outmoded form of management.  Not that it isn’t needed at all, it is just that it is needed far less than what it was.   The new leadership model includes intrinsic motivation and the prime method of encouraging employees.  Companies could benefit greatly, improve their bottom line, improve their competitiveness, and improve results by improving employee engagement.

What kind of company do you work for?  Is it encouraging you, empowering you, allowing you the autonomy you need to produce your best results?    When 84% of people surveyed believe they need to be doing something different then most people are not feeling empowered to make the difference they could make.

If your company is filled with people who are working at less than their potential then “coaching” is one tool that can improve the bottom line.  See if your company’s management would be open to improving their bottom line.

“…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.”  Pema Chödrön

you can overcome it …

“Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.  All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make the better.  What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn?  What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice.  Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Are you a risk taker?

What was it like the first time you did something?   Were you excited or afraid?    What did you think would happen?

For some people it is the first time standing on the edge of a diving board.   It is that uneasy feeling of the board moving up and down and perhaps it is the fear of the unknown, not knowing what will happen that petrifies many people before they take that first leap.     Push the board down and it propels you upward and then it retreats while your feet lose contact with the board surface and by propelling yourself forward you clear the end of the board.    With arms and legs flailing about and the body in free fall towards the water the next challenge is getting into the water without hitting the water broadside.    Kersplash …  the next part is getting back above the surface of the water and in a few seconds your head breaks through and with one big gulp of air you realize you made it and a sense of relief passes through the body.

Getting to the end of the diving board for the first time and making the decision to leap, jump or dive was an experience that only happens once.  Once the event is over it is either safe to do it again or not.   For most people the experience is worth repeating again and again.    After a few tires then experimenting and doing new launches off the board seems OK, fear now become excitement.

It was a risk to make that first jump at least it felt risky.  How did you get there?

1. You made a decision (ok, I am ready, I am going to do it)
2. You anticipated the event  (increased heart rate)
3. You took action (overcame the internal resistance)
4. You observed the results (it was better than you thought)
5. Your confidence increased (it was safe, go do it again)

If you go back to that very first time, you may have watched a friend go jump off of the diving board and as they were “in the air” they yelled “come try it, it’s fun!”) and as you watched you were thinking “maybe it is or I’m not so sure it will work for me” and it may have been a moment where all you could respond with “No, it doesn’t look like fun and I have to go”.   A quick risk reduction step,  an excuse to do something else, so that you wouldn’t have to take that first step.

You left the swimming pool and walked away, not taking that change, or risk to leap off the diving board into the cool water.  You missed having the fun of flying into the air and landing with a splash of laughter and joy, thinking next time I’ll try, next time I’ll jump into the air and experience what looks like to be so much fun, only if it weren’t so scary.

Not long ago I was talking with someone who wanted to make a change but was afraid of taking that step.   Fear gripped his words, ”  I’d like to but  (notice the but) I’m not sure it will work”, and so in a moment of indecision backed off, and  retreated to a place that felt  safer.   It was like walking away from the pool knowing that everyone else was having fun but that first jump, that first dive, just looked like it was too risky to take, maybe next time.

What are you waiting for, next time?

What is your risk taking score?

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  Anaïs Nin