Tag Archives: Employee Engagement

the engaged employee

When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.” ― Shannon L. Alder

SONY DSC

Does your soul have a voice?

 

The disengaged workforce is a topic that is often presented in a variety of media outlets. 35% of workers are happy about the work they do and that isn’t a very big number. That is most people are willing to accept a paycheck from the business that they work for but aren’t willing to do much more that show up every day. What is really going on?

People are hired to make a contribution, to add value, to increase profits and it would seem that something is inhibiting them from making a contribution, a full contribution that really matters. Is it the people they work for? Is it a manager that can’t or isn’t willing to let people think and use their abilities fully? Are people given permission to succeed or are they required to ask for permission to succeed?

If you need to ask for permission to do your job then something is wrong. How many times would you be willing to for permission to accomplish something that you could just do? Do you need permission to spend money? Do you need permission to talk to someone? Do you need permission to have a meeting? Do you need permission to come up with a new way of doing things? Do you need permission from your manager to _____________?

If you work in a culture that requires permission each step of the way to do your job what results will you be producing?

There are reasons to ask for permission to do things and those things should be known in advance.   There may be political concerns that require permission before taking action.   Sometimes permission is needed and often it is just a way to control the imagination and contribution people could make.

What do you need permission to do?  How do you feel when you need to ask for permission?

Advertisements

circles not boxes

“I think it only makes sense to seek out and identify structures of authority, hierarchy, and domination in every aspect of life, and to challenge them; unless a justification for them can be given, they are illegitimate, and should be dismantled, to increase the scope of human freedom.”
Noam Chomsky

SONY DSC

What does your organization chart look like?   Is it the typical set of boxes showing the relationship in a hierarchical fashion?   Most organizations are structured with a top down command and control organization.  Even though some of those organizations would profess empowered leadership models there is still the idea that someone is subordinate to another.  The subordinate relationship will  reduce the ability for everyone to contribute their absolute best.

The new leadership model will be a set of interlinked circles much like that of a Venn diagram.   This model doesn’t use subordinate relationship to accomplish work.   It uses a model of collaboration to bring out the best of each person.

What happens when there is greater collaboration between all roles in the organization?   Communication improves, it gets faster, it vibrates with ideas, and is more rich.  Gone is the worry of saying something and not having it matter.   Greater collaboration leads to greater wins for the organization and for everyone in the organization.

Moving away from the traditional structures will allow organizations to move more quickly, extract the best ideas, and increase total involvement.  That is in essence the idea of enabling people to contribute.   Empowerment with action is enablement and that is what it will take to for organizations and individuals to make a larger contribution.

The collaborative leadership model is based on relationships rather than authority (positional authority).   The model will enhance organizational performance and contribute to faster implementation of change with in the structure.   The challenge is breaking free from the ways of the past to embrace something new.   The same change authors have to embrace this model and create an impetus for a new way of doing business.  Those that do embrace a collaborative model will thrive and out perform those that don’t.

How do you create such a large change?   Start with small groups, build the model, test it and watch it work.     Think about ways you can create a more collaborative environment and then implement.

Alignment

“Your life has an inner purpose and an outer purpose. Inner purpose concerns Being and is primary. Outer purpose concerns doing and it is secondary. Your inner purpose is to awaken. It is as simple as that. You share that purpose with every other person on the planet – because it is the purpose of humanity. Your inner purpose is an essential part of the purpose of the whole, the universe and its emerging intelligence. Your outer purpose can change over time. It varies greatly from person to person. Finding and living in alignment with the inner purpose is the foundation for fulfilling your outer purpose. It is the basis for true success. Without that alignment, you can still achieve certain things through effort, struggle, determination, and sheer hard work or cunning. But there is no joy in such endeavor, and it invariably ends in some form of suffering.”  Eckhart Tolle

As a coach who works a wide variety of people it is important that the client knows “who” they are.   In many cases they have an idea of who they are that has been shaped by external influences and over time their belief about “who” they are is merely a mask of their real self.    People take assessments to help define better who they are (MBTI, DISC, …) and while those assessments provide value they are often reflections of what other people have declared them to be.   Even 360 degree assessment fail to provide the truth about “who” a person really is.  

 

What happens when people don’t know “who” they are is that they fight against themselves in many cases in terms of career choice, conflicts, learning styles, and working with others.   If people knew “who” they were naturally they would experience greater career, relational, and personal success and fulfillment.   The very things people are looking for are obscured by not knowing who they are.

Jim Collins the author of “Good to Great” writes,  “You can’t manufacture passion or “motivate” people to feel passionate. You can only discover what ignites your passion and the passions of those around you.”     Research indicates that only about 28% of people in their work love what they do.    That means that 72% of the workforce is doing work they don’t really like to do.  Companies spend billions of dollars training and trying to get people to fit their roles and can’t.   When people are not in alignment with “who” they are and what they do they will attempt to mold the job to their core values and ultimately the both the employee and organization suffer.  

For organizations getting the right people in the right seat would make a huge contribution to the bottom line and increase employee satisfaction.    Imagine if you knew what your core values were so that you could find a job that aligns with your strengths and abilities.    Taylor Protocols is one such company that knows how to get the right people in the right seat.     Their “Core Value Index” reliably shows what matters most to people and when they know their core values they are able to:

1. Find out what career is a good fit.

2. Find out how to manage conflict.

3. Find out what creates conflict in their life.

4. Find out their best learning style.

5. Find out how they can make their biggest contribution.

When people are in alignment with “who” they are their level of fulfillment increases, their productivity increase and life gets better.   That is what many people want, a better life and yet they struggle with daily fighting against “who” they truly are.    The CVI is something that can be purchased and the results can be used to fashion a purpose filled life.   It is worth the few dollars to find out what really works in your life.   It is far cheaper than therapy or counseling that often takes place after one has fought against their natural values for years.

Do you know “who” you are?    Are you living with your “values” or against them?

Here’s a short clip about the value of the CVI.

 

 

Work

“To have a great purpose to work for, a purpose larger than ourselves, is one of the secrets of making life significant, for then the meaning and worth of the individual overflow his personal borders and survive his death.”  Will Durant

Work … what is it?   Why do you do it?   Why do so many people hate the work they are doing?

The FreeDictionary defines work as

1. Physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something.

So, why do so many people disengage in the work they are doing?   What would allow you to engage in work in a way that you were able to produce positive results and enjoy it?

George Bernard Shaw the renowned poet opined that life has a special meaning and that  is to say, “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.”   Not that many people say that their life is filling a purpose never mind a mighty one.

As a coach I come across many people who are less than satisfied with the work they do.  For some people their work has resulted in depression.   The work is so unsatisfying that they can’t do their work.    They feel trapped in doing work that is meaningless because of some benefit that their employer offers that they feel unsure that they can get somewhere else.    Who am I to get a better job some think.    Asked what their purpose statement is and most people can’t think of one and it is no wonder that they are stuck doing work that doesn’t agree with them.  They don’t know how to align their purpose, their gifts, their strengths and their talents with the work they do.

When we are able to use our natural talents and are able to express those talents in the engagement of work we become more productive.   When we know what we love to do and are able to do what we love we are happier.  It seems to make sense yet close to 80% of people are doing work they don’t like.   Perhaps it is possible to say that most work isn’t enjoyable and that something has to be done to make money (earning a living is still important) to live on.

Read what Jim Collins wrote about having the right people in the right job doing the work that they love to do.

Disciplined people: “Who” before “what”
“You are a bus driver. The bus, your company, is at a standstill, and it’s your job to get it going. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you.

Most people assume that great bus drivers (read: business leaders) immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.

In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances. Take David Maxwell’s bus ride. When he became CEO of Fannie Mae in 1981, the company was losing $1 million every business day, with $56 billion worth of mortgage loans underwater. The board desperately wanted to know what Maxwell was going to do to rescue the company.

Maxwell responded to the “what” question the same way that all good-to-great leaders do: He told them, That’s the wrong first question. To decide where to drive the bus before you have the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus, is absolutely the wrong approach.

Maxwell told his management team that there would only be seats on the bus for A-level people who were willing to put out A-plus effort. He interviewed every member of the team. He told them all the same thing: It was going to be a tough ride, a very demanding trip. If they didn’t want to go, fine; just say so. Now’s the time to get off the bus, he said. No questions asked, no recriminations. In all, 14 of 26 executives got off the bus. They were replaced by some of the best, smartest, and hardest-working executives in the world of finance.

With the right people on the bus, in the right seats, Maxwell then turned his full attention to the “what” question. He and his team took Fannie Mae from losing $1 million a day at the start of his tenure to earning $4 million a day at the end. Even after Maxwell left in 1991, his great team continued to drive the flywheel—turn upon turn—and Fannie Mae generated cumulative stock returns nearly eight times better than the general market from 1984 to 1999.

When it comes to getting started, good-to-great leaders understand three simple truths. First, if you begin with “who,” you can more easily adapt to a fast-changing world. If people get on your bus because of where they think it’s going, you’ll be in trouble when you get 10 miles down the road and discover that you need to change direction because the world has changed. But if people board the bus principally because of all the other great people on the bus, you’ll be much faster and smarter in responding to changing conditions. Second, if you have the right people on your bus, you don’t need to worry about motivating them. The right people are self-motivated: Nothing beats being part of a team that is expected to produce great results. And third, if you have the wrong people on the bus, nothing else matters. You may be headed in the right direction, but you still won’t achieve greatness. Great vision with mediocre people still produces mediocre results.”

There is a company that know how to get the right people in the right seats on the bus.   Taylor Protocols can do the type of individual analysis to see if the seats on the bus have the right people on it.   It makes sense to have the right people engaged in the work they do.   Imagine what would be possible if everyone was able to be engaged in their work.   It is currently estimated that organizational output is only at 33% and that means hiring more people to get work done that could be done with fewer people if they were fully engaged in their work.

Shawn Achor has been doing research on happiness, and positive psychology and asking some great questions and getting real answers.   Happy people perform better on the job and in the job.

Take a few minutes and listen to the arguments Shawn puts forth.

Now, what are you going to do?    Are you going to continue to work at things you don’t enjoy?    Are you going to stay stuck in a job that you wish would go away?

Take a few steps and identify what would be better for you.

1. Define your purpose

2. Define your strengths

3. Define your natural talents

4. Create a plan so that your work or your new work, works for you.

William Dubois put down his thoughts like this, “The return from your work must be the satisfaction which that work bring you and the world’s need of that work.  With this, life is heaven, or as near heaven as you can get.   Without this – with work which you despise, which bores you, and which the world does not need – this life is hell.”

What do you want to do?   Work in heaven or work in hell.    Most people have chosen to work in hell.  Where do you want to work?

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

the excellent organization …

” Employee engagement is currently at an all-time low in the United States and costs companies an estimated $370 billion dollars annually. In this time of improving return-on-investment (ROI) and profitability, it’s ironic that the key to every company stimulating profitability is the very thing that so many organizations neglect  enhancing employee engagement. ”  John Brubaker

Are companies losing $370 BILLION dollars each year?    If companies do have 84% of their employees ready and waiting to move to another organization the impact is large.   Hiring a replacement, training the replace and getting them to the point where they are producing at a high level takes time and time is lost opportunity for any company today.   Margins are tight and organizations should be looking at ways to establish strong relationships with their employees.

 

Some companies will say it’s OK for an employee to leave there are plenty of replacements out their waiting for a job.  Employers who view employees are consumable and replaceable resources will soon find that they can’t hire the people they need to hire to create a thriving and powerful business.

 

The goal of a business is to create a profit(to stay in business) and having employees that share that goal is important.   A business that can grow its profits draws to it more success.  People want to be associated with success.   A business that is able to produce innovative and high quality goods and services has an opportunity to last.

 

People are an important part of any business.   Happy people, engaged people are success drivers for the business.  If a business believes that people should think of work as a “privilege”, as in you are luck to be here, what kind of business will that be?  It won’t be a business that attracts the best type of worker.

 

If an employee believes that they are contributing to the success of the business in a meaningful way they will give more.   That is if the business views the employee as a part owner then that person is much more likely to go the extra mile and to find ways to make the business run better.

In some cases managers don’t have the tools or a good relationship with their employees.   For the manager that discounts the value of a positive relationship (trust, encouragement, acknowledgement, and confidence) they may find that their best employees are looking for something more meaningful and satisfying to do.

Organizations that are experiencing an increase in employee exits may want to consider their environment.  Is it a good place to work and take action to ensure that it is a good place to work?   It doesn’t cost a lot of money to improve employee engagement.   It does cost a lot of money to replace employees when they decide that it isn’t worth working for the company any longer.    A company that cares for its employees will find that its employees will care for the company.

For the organization that realizes that employee engagement is important may find that bringing in coaches to work with managers and employees is a lot less expensive than replacing employees.

“A company has a responsibility beyond making a profit for stockholders; it has a responsibility to recognize the dignity of its employees as human beings, to the well-being of its customers, and to the community at large.”  David Packard

 

Continue reading

10 ways to improve employee engagement

“We cannot be satisfied with things as they are. We cannot be satisfied to drift, to rest on our oars, to glide over a sea whose depths are shaken by subterranean upheavals.”  John F. Kennedy
 
Reports of employee engagement at levels of just 31% suggest a serious malady in America’s workforce.    While there are many reasons  why people will “check-out” during the work day and surf the internet, do personal work or waste time getting them re-engaged in work is a substantial challenge.
 
How engaged are you in work or school or whatever you are doing?  On a  scale of 1-10, where 1 = little or no engagement to 10 fully and passionately engaged, where are you?   How engaged in life are you?   Tell me, write it down … tell someone else … how engaged are you in living your life?
 
Here are ten ways to become more engaged.  These ideas come from Steve Chandler’s book “100 Ways to Motivate others”
 
1. Be the cause, not the effect.
Be the author of your life today.    The other way is to be the victim of what happens in the day.   One way to stay out of the negativity of the mainstream press is to turn off the news.    Yes, just turn it off, you can live without it.  Start creating and living instead of worrying about the next disaster.
 
2. Focus on results.
How often to people focus on what didn’t get done and then start making excuses as to “why it didn’t happen on time”.   How does that help anything?   What was accomplished?  What was learned in the process?   What if you could do it over again, what would you do different?   The point is learn along the way and focus on what was done rather than what was left undone.
 
That would make sense wouldn’t it.  Aren’t you move motivated when you hear positive things, when you are given encouragement, when you are noticed, when you are heard and when you do the right thing?  
 
4. Use 10 minutes to the max
Do that 10 minute thing you have been putting off, do it now, focus and do it with intensity.   Now that one thing is off of your plate or someone else’s plate.  How does that feel?
 
5. Be enthusiastic
Haven’t you been around someone who is full of positive energy, what was that like?   That energy seems to rub off and before you know it you’re energy filled.  So, today march into work or any place that you will be working with others and add energy to it – others will become infected with your positive energy.
 
You notice the person who is smiling don’t you.   It makes you smile.  Think about it what happens when you see a big smiling face, doesn’t that cause you to smile.   Or try not to smile, what happens, that big grin just shows up. 
 
7. Give up being right
What happens when you know that one person insists on being right “all of the time” no matter what and no matter when?  How do you feel when you are around that person?   What if you are that person?   What would happen if you could believe there is another perspective besides yours?  Try it!
 
8. Show them the way
A leader shows the way and not just once but as many times as it takes for people to “get it”.   It may take multiple ways, different angles, different approaches and with a different twist.   Not everyone can listen to a story and get it.  Not everyone learns the same way so send the message out in ways that engage all the different learning styles.    You’ll know it when they are telling the story and getting it right.
 
 9.  Lighten up
We live in a more competitive world, there is more pressure to get things done, to make a profit and to be constantly in motion.   This creates stress and stress decreases engagement, so lighten up.   Encourage people to stop and take a break, allow them to decompress, to share their real thoughts without judging them.   Let them be authentic and that will go a long ways from preventing burn-out and burn-up.  
 
10.  Stay focused.
It is easy to get caught up in the distractions of work or life.   Things are moving faster and they are more complex so it is easy to get distracted especially when there are gadgets calling for our attention – a new email, a new story, a new text message, an urgent call (or so it seems).   Make sure each day is filled with intense focus so that you can get the results you need.
 
 
 

Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance.

Talent will not;
Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not;
Unrewarded genius is almost legendary;

Education will not;
The world is full of educated derelicts.

Perseverance and Determination alone are omnipotent.”

-US President Calvin Coolidge