Monday, January 28, 2013

Communication and Partnerships

Fostering a sense of partnership with your employee's is an important aspect of motivation. People typically want to do good and feel like they belong. Don't just focus on the success of the company or your management team. Realize that you can't be a successful leader and try to do everything yourself. The increased success of you and your company relies on the future success of the employee's.

Continuous communication is a must if you want employee's to develop and succeed - or help your company succeed. You need to take a proactive role in looking at what's required. Take a look at any types of barriers there are to success. This very often has to do with a lack of communication or hoarding of power. If you hoard power and knowledge, someone's not getting information they need that may increase productivity and quality of work.

A former manager of customer satisfaction at Disney summed up success like this:
"Recruit the right people, train them, continually communicate with them, ask their opinions, involve them, recognize them and celebrate with them. If you show respect for their opinions and involvement, they will be proud of what they do and they'll deliver quality service."

Don't forget about your new employee's once the next crop comes in. Set them up with a mentor - be a mentor - to help them grow from the start and continue to grow. They're going to need guidance while they're getting used to their jobs and responsibilities. Communicate and be visible from the get go. Show new people that you're glad to have them aboard and that their jobs are just as important as anyone elses.

Too often we see organizations put on their orientation program, send employees to their departments, they meet their supervisor, they get to work - only to see their supervisor again when something goes wrong.  That in itself is wrong. In order to keep people motivated leaders must continuously communicate and show they care. Even if there's no news to share, let people know that. Remember - if employees hear nothing, they'll make up things to fill in the gaps.

"We're all in this together", so keep the communication and visibility up.  Make sure you "take them" (new employees) to the corporate culture - don't let the culture come to them. That never really works out very well. That will be a topic for another day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Outstanding Organization

These last couple of weeks I’ve had the pleasure of reading, The Outstanding Organization, by Karen Martin.  I’ll tell you what - every organization that’s trying to improve or going through anything like a merger or restructuring should be reading this book.

There have been NUMEROUS books written on performance improvement by numerous “experts”, but they’re all, in some way, very similar . . . lots of theories.

In, The Outstanding Organization, Karen Martin, in five chapters, explains the straight to the point, duh factor of how to succeed.  She says that chaos is the main underlying issue in failed improvement.  “Chaos sabotages your ability to provide value to your customers, satisfy shareholders, . . .”  “Left unchecked, chaos destroys everything that’s good about an organization.”  Too many times, organizations start to plan without looking enough at what’s already happening and jump into the fire too quickly.

Chapter One begins right where the book should - the fundamentals.  I’ve had a couple of friends who have “flipped” houses.  What do you think the first thing is that they look at when checking out new properties?  The foundation.  Without a good foundation in business, you’re going to hold onto chaos and be unable to develop any kind of consistency.

From there Martin goes into creating clarity - truth seeking and truth telling.  Without it causes a psychological drain on everyone involved.

I loved the section on the problem of lack of focus.  She calls this “organizational attention-deficit-disorder.”  There must be focus and a sense of discipline instilled in the organization in order to get over the hurdles.

And lastly is employee engagement.  People talk and talk and talk about it, but as Karen says, it’s “the single largest contributor to an organization’s success”.

This book is based on Martin’s extensive research and experience with a number of organizations.  She taught these organizations not to accept the chaos as a norm but to fall back to the fundamentals and open the curtains to improvement.

If you’re looking for some no-nonsense ways to get your organization on, or back on track, you need, The Outstanding Organization.

Author, speaker, and consultant, Karen Martin, provides practical strategies and tools for building an Outstanding Organization. The Outstanding Organization: Generate Business Results by Eliminating Chaos and Building the Foundation for Everyday Excellence is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Because . . .

Have you ever tried to figure out why your group, department, whatever is tasked with doing something and been told, “You have more people”?

Huh? What does that have to do with the price of tea in China, or anywhere else for that matter? Sure, there are cases where this may play out, but it should not become one of those “it’s the way we’ve always done it” type answers.

Example: One area has one staff member and another has two. You have a task that fully affects both areas but it’s given exclusively to the area that has two staff members because, “you have more people”.

Now, a good leader is going to think this through. Each one of these people has a job to do, projects to work on, goals to meet. Just because there are two people doesn’t necessarily mean they have more time to devote to this other task or any other.

The point is; catch-all reasons don’t create teamwork. They don’t create motivation. They don’t create production. Each task and assignment is an individual task and assignment in itself, and must be treated as such.

Take a look at some of those catch-all phrases that you’re using . . . write them down, study them, remember them . . . now burn them. Be admired and remembered as a great leader, not disliked and remembered as a run of the mill manager.