Tag Archives | Results

Don’t settle for less than talented, engaged players

Car keys.Awhile back, Tom was out walking his dog near his home. He bumped into a neighbor who was out walking her dog, so they joined forces for awhile.

The dogs enjoyed each other’s company and the two neighbors made small talk. Until Tom’s neighbor asked about bringing her car in for service at the dealership where Tom worked.

Tom thought, “Boy, I hope she doesn’t get Keith as her service advisor. He’s really not very friendly with customers – even though we’ve coached him about it. Brenda isn’t much better. Maybe I can direct her to Mark so she has a great experience!”

Tom didn’t want his relationship with his neighbor hurt by one of their “prickly” service advisors. He said to his neighbor,”That’s awesome. I’ll hook you up with Mark – he’s a great service advisor.”

The good news is that Tom knew who his dealership’s worst and best service advisors were and he could direct his neighbor to a good advisor. But what about the dozens of customers who came in that week who had to work with their “less than great” advisors? Those lousy customer impressions wouldn’t help their business, at all.

Wouldn’t it be better if Tom didn’t have to think through his company’s good & not-so-good team members? What if all of their team members were talented and engaged – and loved serving customers? How would that impact their business?

My research and experience proves that employees who experience trust and respect from their bosses, colleagues, and company are more productive – 30-40% more productive – than those who do not experience trust and respect from their bosses, colleagues, and company.

Employees that are trusted and respected in their workplace also serve customers better and demonstrate greater commitment to their jobs. They are more likely to apply discretionary energy to solve problems, cooperate with peers, and implement tweaks to boost efficiency and results.

Leaders must be attuned to more than just performance. They must also be attuned to how customers are treated – and to how employees are treated, by leaders and peers.

When effective leaders learn about performance issues, they act. They engage with the player to clarify performance expectations. They learn how the player has been working in the system and redirect efforts to meet performance standards. They observe closely to ensure traction on desired results – and praise when the player exceeds performance standards.

When effective leaders learn about interaction issues – when they hear about rude, abrupt, or dismissive treatment of customers or employees by anyone – they act. They engage with the player to clarify values standards and interaction expectations. They learn how the player has been operating with customers and peers and redirect efforts to meet values standards. They observe closely to ensure traction on desired values in every interaction – and praise when the player exceeds values standards.

What do effective leaders do when coaching doesn’t solve performance problems? They find a place in the business where the player can genuinely contribute or they help that player find another job elsewhere.

What do effective leaders do when coaching doesn’t solve values issues? They don’t waste any time. They help that player find another job elsewhere.

How clear are values expectations in your team or company? What happens when your company tolerates poor treatment of employees or customers? Share your insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for boosting productivity while reducing drama at work? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, meets one-morning-a-month starting in March.

Photo © Kurhan – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.



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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Do Happy Employees Matter?

Happy African-American BusinessmanHow happy are team members in your organization today? Are they enthused, optimistic, engaged, cooperative, and creative – or not so much?

This week I learned of a colleague’s recent conversation with a CEO of a global firm. The discussion revolved around increased turnover in their company – and not “beneficial” turnover. They were losing talented leaders and team members. That’s a problem.

Exit interviews revealed that these players didn’t feel valued. They saw the company as exclusively focused on results, not on the organization’s original “serve others” purpose.

Their Chief Talent Officer suggested doing an engagement survey to learn what the rest of their global workforce thought about these issues. The CEO boldly replied, “I don’t care about happy employees! I just want these people to produce!”

[stunned silence]

I believe that this CEO isn’t alone in his belief about happy employees. It’s an assumption that many senior leaders hold. These leaders grew up among bosses that held and acted from that same belief.

It’s all they know.

How might one seek to influence a senior leader with this belief? How might one inspire that leader to not only understand the benefits of employee engagement and happiness but to actively encourage it?

I’ve found success with a combination of these elements:

  • Show them the data. This particular CEO wasn’t influenced by the exit interview data from his own departing talent. So, you’ve got to gather reliable, undeniable data that leaves the leader with no choice but to try more employee-friendly practices and policies. Internal data – like this organization’s exit interviews – will have the most impact. A regular, organization-wide engagement survey is a needed foundational piece of internal data. Look at simple, fast feedback solutions for internal data like TinyPulse. Present them with key insights from current engagement research from organizations like Gallup, Kenexa, and others.
  • Show them the money. Happy, engaged employees produce better results and profits than disengaged employees. Research by Dale Carnegie found that companies with engaged employees outperform companies without engaged employees by up to 202%. Research from Towers Watson found engaged companies have 6% higher profits than disengaged companies.
  • Show them it works. Do your own employee engagement research, “under the radar.” Find a willing leader of a distinct, intact business unit who will let you “experiment” for a year. Start with an engagement survey to get a “happiness” benchmark. Note performance of individuals and teams to get performance benchmarks. Identify policies and practices that pit people against each other and refine them so they encourage cooperative interaction. Set clear values standards for treating everyone with trust, respect, and dignity. Create open communications across teams and across levels so everyone feels fully informed. Stick with it. Within six months you’ll see upticks in engagement, service, and results. Compare this “skunk works” unit’s performance with other units performance, and you’ll find impressive gains. Share these results with your senior leaders, over and over again.

Will these approaches help every senior leader to “get” and support employee engagement? No, but you’ll have living proof that happy employees are worth their weight in gold.

How important is employee engagement, happiness, and well-being in your organization? Share your comments and insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for building a safe, inspiring workplace? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This one-morning-a-month series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, starts in March 2015 and ends in September.

Photo © Kurhan – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.



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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Behaviors Matter

ExploreLast week’s post shared the importance of clear values standards in business success. Values set the stage for workplace safety and inspiration.

However, setting values expectations alone doesn’t have much positive impact. What truly creates workplace trust, dignity, and respect is valued behaviors – values defined in observable, tangible, measurable terms.

Let’s look at performance management. Leaders have trouble inspiring teams to consistent performance without clear goals. Yet simply having clear goals doesn’t guarantee consistent high performance.

Effective leaders use a variety of performance-alignment behaviors – modeling, engaging, observing, monitoring, coaching, re-directing, celebrating progress, etc. – to ensure teams deliver on performance goals.

Managing desired values requires the same practices. Once values standards are clarified and defined in behavioral terms, effective leaders use a variety of values-alignment behaviors – modeling, engaging, observing, monitoring, coaching, re-directing, celebrating progress, etc. – to ensure teams deliver their goals in accordance with desired values.

In fact, once values standards and behaviors are published and communicated, scrutiny of valued behaviors increases, drastically. Leaders’ every plan, decision, and action are placed “under the magnifying glass” by other leaders and team members.

Is that scrutiny of valued behaviors fair? Certainly it is! Leaders are “changing the rules” when they add values standards to the mix. Humans don’t like change – even if they understand the rational reasoning behind the change!

Team members embrace change only 1) over time and 2) when they see their leaders and peers consistently embrace the new practices, right before their eyes, every day.

If team members can find examples of leaders’ behaving in ways that are inconsistent with the new valued behaviors, their resistance to the change grows stronger. They express their frustration with the new values “demands” because this or that happened, “which is clearly not aligned with the new values.”

Here’s an example from one of my culture clients. About six months into this client’s culture refinement efforts, the division president and three of his direct reports went to a conference. The president decided to take his wife on the trip – at his own expense – and spend a couple of days after the conference to enjoy a little down time with his spouse.

Within a week of their return, three supervisors told the president that some team members were complaining that the president took advantage of his position to have the company fund his wife’s trip . . . and that action didn’t align with the division’s new “integrity” value or behaviors.

The president was surprised at their concern but understood it. Within a week, he held a town hall meeting to address their concern, showing that he’d funded her expenses himself. He thanked people for raising the concern.

How did people learn of the president’s wife’s attendance on the trip? It was a natural result of the increased scrutiny. People talk and people make assumptions.

The message is clear. Leaders must not only define values in behavioral terms, but they must model them, communicate them, and celebrate them, daily.

Are your team’s values defined in behavioral terms? Share your comments and insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for building a safe, inspiring workplace? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This one-morning-a-month series, based on The Culture Engine, starts in March 2015 and ends in September.

Photo © olly – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.



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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Values Matter

Buffer-Values-e1417635934521-1024x897I’m always on the lookout for high performing, values-aligned companies. I’m inspired by leaders that choose to run their businesses with clear values expectations – and love sharing what I learn with you.

These businesses are successful. The benefits of values alignment on employee engagement, customer service, and results and profits are well documented.

And, you can bring values alignment into your team or department or company. It’s not difficult. It simply takes 1) a proven framework, 2) your intention, and 3) your time and energy to model and reinforce desired valued behaviors.

This week, Brian Fanzo introduced me to Buffer‘s values-based culture. In Courtney Seiter’s post, The 10 Buffer Values And How We Act On Them Every Day, she describes how Buffer’s founders built “a different type of company that focused not only on the progress of the product, but also the happiness of its users and team and personal growth during the journey.”

Courtney defines each of Buffer’s ten values and how they are demonstrated each day in their workplace. She explains, “It’s a unique privilege to work at a company that is guided by a true culture and set of values.” Buffer’s ten values are featured in the graphic that accompanies this post.

The second values-aligned company that caught my eye this week is Spectranetics. A Denver Post article describes a pretty miserable 2010 for the company, which makes laser-based devices that treat coronary and circulation disorders.

In 2010 the former CEO and three other executives were indicted on twelve federal counts of conspiracy to defraud the federal government and other charges. In 2011, new CEO Scott Drake began crafting a culture based on vision and shared values. Drake’s hands-on leadership style and the “simple formula” of values alignment has created a thoughtful and purposeful culture of empowered employees at Spectranetics.

Business performance since the dark days of 2010 has been spectacular. Drake says, “We’ve gone from three percent growth to twenty-seven percent growth, and not a lot of new products coming out to a whole bunch of new products coming out.”

Drake explains, “With the right team and the right strategy, we execute as if lives depend on it, because indeed they do.”

Values matter. And, whether you’ve been intentional with values in your workplace, they exist today. The problem is that the values that bubble up in a “results-only” focused workplace aren’t inspiring. Values like “I win, you lose,” withholding information, poaching customers, and worse can be the norm.

Be intentional with workplace values. Creating a cooperative workplace boosts performance, service, and engagement.

There’s no time like the present to start.

How do (or did) your great bosses create a safe, inspiring workplace? What values does your team or department live by today? Share your comments and insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for building a safe, inspiring workplace? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This one-morning-a-month series, based on The Culture Engine, starts in March 2015 and ends in September.

Graphic © Buffer. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.



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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Want Engaged Performance? Show Respect.

Respect is the KeyI’ve not encountered a leader that wasn’t interested in improving their team (or department or company)’s performance. And it’s rare that I encounter a leader that doesn’t want team members to be engaged and inspired at work.

What is interesting is that most leaders spend much of their time and energy trying to boost performance and very little time and energy on the quality of their workplace environment. Yet their team culture drives everything that happens in their organization, good or bad.

If your work environment doesn’t demonstrate trust, respect, and dignity to every player, every interaction, every day, performance drops, service quality drops, and engagement drops.

Leaders need to shake up their routines and pay greater attention to the health and quality of their team culture. What should they do differently? If you’ve been reading this blog or my books, you know I’ve got a long list of behaviors that I recommend that leaders embrace.

Maybe a long list isn’t needed! A recent HBR study on leader behaviors found what may be the single most important leader behavior – demonstrating respect.

In a study of nearly 20,000 employees around the globe, no other leader behavior had a bigger effect on employee well-being and health (56% benefit), trust and safety (1.72 times better), enjoyment with their jobs (89% better), greater performance focus (92% benefit), meaning and significance (1.26 times greater), and engagement (55% improvement).

Those are impressive gains in critically important areas. The challenge is that 54% of employees report that their leaders do not regularly respect them. This represents a huge opportunity for leaders.

I know what leaders are thinking about now: “OK, tell me what I need to do to demonstrate respect to my players!” There’s no single “right” way to demonstrate respect! Respect means different things to different people.

To properly demonstrate respect, leaders must connect with the unique individuals on their team – not “team leaders” or “team members.” Some players may want a few minutes of face time to share an idea they have for boosting efficiency. Other players want a look in the eye, a kind smile, and a handshake. One player might appreciate being called out in a team meeting for a contribution – another on the same team with a similar contribution might be more embarrassed at being called out in a meeting!

Demonstrating genuine respect takes time. It requires personalization. It requires a servant heart. Without those things, efforts will look stilted and forced, not genuine and heartfelt.

I won’t stray from my “long list” of recommendations for leaders that wish to create workplace inspiration and performance. Those practices work! I will, though, happily recommend starting with – and continuing with – leaders demonstrating respect to their team leaders and team members.

How do (or did) your great bosses show respect to players in your team or department? What was the impact on you when he or she showed you respect? Share your comments, suggestions, and insights in the comments section below.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for building a safe, inspiring workplace? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This one-morning-a-month series starts in March 2015 and ends in September.

Photo © airdone – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.



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Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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