3 Factor – Employee Engagement

engagement

3 Factor – Employee Engagement

I recently attended a talk by Sir Harry Burns the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland around his study around early intervention with young people in order to empower them to turn their lives into something more positive. He is a fantastic presenter and the evidence he has collected around brain development and what can positively or negatively affect it is fascinating and made me think about how leaders could adopt this to enrich the life’s of their employees.

I love simplifying things and what I took away was 3 things that help empower people are

Control – having a real sense of control over their working lives, the how, what, when etc

Sense of Purpose – knowing that you are making a difference or heading towards a worthwhile goal

Community- seeing that you are part of the team, company,organisation etc

So how do you do this, well you can hold back on  the fancy questionnaires and start having conversations with your staff around these 3 pillars and really listening to them and empowering them. As Sir Harry Burns talked about, this is not about doing things to people it’s about enabling them to do it for themselves.

Here’s a crazy idea, you could do it in 30 days. Here’s a Ted talk about just that

Let me know what you think about employee engagement in the comments section below and if you would like to read more about how to build the 3 factors into your working life.

Mindfulness starts with monotasking

 Mindful Leaders or mindfulness in leadership is seen as the current leadership behaviour most in demand.

‘Some of the recent difficulties of Hewlett-Packard, British Petroleum, CEOs of failed Wall Street firms, and dozens of leaders who failed in the post-Enron era are examples of this.(lack of mindfulness)’*

Q: What is mindful leadership, and what are its benefits?

A: Mindfulness is a state of being fully present, aware of oneself and other people, and sensitive to one’s reactions to stressful situations. Leaders who are mindful tend to be more effective in understanding and relating to others, and motivating them toward shared goals. Hence, they become more effective in leadership roles.*
Mindfulness isn’t new, many cultures have used it for hundreds of years and even in western businesses it has been celebrated. Daniel Goleman wrote about it in 1990 although he called it Emotional Intelligence and many now see this as more important in a leader than IQ.
Now cast you mind back to your working day; did you or people around you?
  • check emails when talking to someone on the phone
  • constantly think about all the work you had to get through when you were at a meeting
  • do work when on a conference call
  • Flick between tasks due to interruptions
  • eat lunch,work, text, check social media
  • MY FAVOURITE sit in a course or meeting glued to your blackberry only engaging when it suited you

This is not an exhaustive list of multitasking, please add your own examples

What’s more is that Clifford Nass, a researcher at Stanford assumed that those who multitask heavily will nonetheless develop some other outstanding skills. He thought that they will be amazing at 1. filtering information, 2. being very fast at switching between the tasks and 3. keeping a high working memory.

He found that none of these 3 points are true:

We were absolutely shocked. We all lost our bets. It turns out multitaskers are terrible at every aspect of multitasking.

People who multitask a lot are in fact a lot worse at filtering irrelevant information and also perform significantly worse at switching between task, compared to singletaskers.

Now most studies all point towards the fact that multitasking is very bad for us. We get less productive and skills like filtering out irrelevant information decline.

So before you book your meditation classes (I thoroughly recommend meditation but that’s another post). its back to basics. Plan our tasks. Be present. Complete one thing at a time and do it well. Pay attention to the people around us that we are interacting with…really listen and observe before taking action or speaking.

The number 1 complaint I have on Change courses is that people don’t feel they are being listened to. Such a simple habit / behaviour to help people through change.

If you would like to know more about mindfulness you could start here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wherever-You-There-Are-Mindfulness/dp/0749925485

* extract from HBR

Let me know your thoughts in the comments box

A great TED video about monotasking is below.

Vampires attack on change

Vampires attack on change – a leadership express halloween special

‘its not that people don’t like change they don’t like uncertainty’…. Vampires in your orgainisation will drain the life out of your change process using the fangs of uncertainty.

Below is some things to think about with your Stakeholders to beat the Vampires!

V- Vision, have a clear vision of what it will be like after the change and talk about this often

A- Acknowledge the past -What was right and what is wrong

M- Mediums of communication – Leaders and managers need to have many ways of communication e.g. face to face,in groups, regular 1:1’s, listening sessions. It has to be two way and actions must be taking on the back of this;then communicated. N.B. Vamps love change emails so use them sparingly

P- Process of change – ensure you communicate why it is happening, what will happen,when it will happen, how it will happen, who needs to do what, where it will happen

I- Increments of change – break down the change into small chunks then it won’t feel so scary

R- Recognition of the efforts of colleagues in the change process as you go along

E- Energy – leaders and managers should ensure that their energy and drive for the change is positive and help things to keep moving

Strength Based Development for Managers

Strengths based development is nothing new in sports coaching and development; you don’t train someone with a talent for sprinting, how to be a marathon runner. You identify what someone is good at then in the case of a sprinter you develop and coach them to get better in order to get quicker.

Yet as leaders in business, we have possibly all been managed by someone who will look at a development plan as an instrument to develop weaknesses! This flies in the face of research that shows that when you manage people who are using their strengths they will be up to 23% more productive, they are more likely to stay with the company and be true advocates for that company. If they are more productive and engaged they are less likely to be absent from work. All of these things have the potential to add to your bottom line.

If you don’t believe me, simply reflect on what percentage of your strengths you use at your work then think about what you could do at work if you used more of your strengths.

Ok, you say thats great in theory, but how do you do it?

Get to know your team

1. Use a Type indicator e.g. MBTI, DISC etc. They give an indication of how people like to communicate with the world, what energises them. They aren’t about skills you say, and you would be right, however, it will help you and your team enhance how you understand and communicate with each other, but also what gives them energy and energy at work is golddust!

2. Find out what their values are, not the companies. People are more and more looking at the purpose of their / their companies role over and above the ‘widgets’ they produce. This is especially true of Gen Y and they are if they are not already the future of your company. Help them link their values to working in your team.

3. Get everyone to do a SWOT analysis and do one for the team. Strengths, Weaknesses (what they are not good at but can do) Opportunities (strengths they haven’t as yet been able to utlise in the team) Threats (things they don’t like doing, arent that great at doing and developing these skills will be a waste of everybodies time)

4. Development plans – Concentrate on developing Strengths and Opportunities. Only develop anything under the other two headings if they are crucial to the role.

5. If you can allocate work according to strengths then do so in a fair way.

6. Review, reflect,give and receive feedback on a regular basis about how it is working.

It would be great to hear your thoughts on Strength based development, so feel free to comment.

Hope you have a fantastic weekend

Finally, as a tradition on my site I like to add a TED video.

Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?”  His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers

If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” (Simon Sinek)

The Positive Functions of a Team

My last post was about high performing teams, however I wanted to talk about teams that aren’t at that stage or are having challenges.

Patrick Lencioni’s Book the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team is an extremely useful reference, however, one slight issue is with its termanology when used with in a session. As soon as the word ‘dysfunctional’ is used with a team you can almost see the barriers coming up.

So flip it around and talk about the Positive Functions of a team

  • Building trust— how to be vulnerable and offer support within the group
  • The impact of constructive conflict—seeking constructive passionate debate
  • Personal commitment— Exhibiting true buy-in for group decisions with action and advocacy
  • Transparent accountability— Agreeing team behavioral values and robust roles and responsibilities
  • Celebrating / Enhancing results—focusing on personal success and team success / As a group indentifying what needs to be better and how to take action as a team

Some businesses will build in Key Performance Indicators etc to try and remedy this and some success can be gained from this, however, it can be seen as a tick box exercise at reviews or traded against other performance results e.g. I am the top salesperson…

In order to see a profound effect actions and agreements need to come from the team also:

  • Any discussions / exercises need to be explicit that this is not about blame it is about taking the team to the next level
  • A skilled impartial facilitator will help discussions; where possible it shouldn’t be the boss facilitating
  • Confidentiality within the team must be explicit
  • Make it interactive with short sessions
  • Give yourself more time than you need and ensure that each area gets the time it needs, however ensure that discussion doesn’t go round in circles
  • Agree rules of feedback and format e.g. has to Balanced, objective and specific, (hotseat feedback on the day or confidential questionaires before event)
  • Ensure clear and measurable actions are captured
  • Review impact regularly

Tips - Just a few free ideas to get you started on addressing the different elements.Full explanations of how to run these would take a few pages!

Building trust— how to be vulnerable and offer support within the group

Get team to do personal SWOT analysis (anomously, number each one) and ask the team to match up their perceived weakness and threats with strengths and opportunites on other SWOT sheets

The impact of constructive conflict—seeking constructive passionate debate

I really like Thomas Klinman Conflict styles as it raises awareness of personal conflict styles

Personal commitment— Exhibiting true buy-in for group decisions with action and advocacy

Ask team to write suggestions on post its of how remove ambiguity and make better decisions that gain commitment

Transparent accountability— Agreeing team behavioral values and robust roles and responsibilities

Get the team to write down their top 5 personal values at work e.g. honesty, trust etc

Then get them ‘grafitti’ style to write them on a flipchart then task them to List the group top 7 or 10 values in the team. Then discuss how they can bring this to life in the team

Celebrating / Enhancing results—focusing on personal success and team success / As a group indentifying what needs to be better and how to take action as a team

Ask the team to come up with 5 commitments that will help them focus on personal and team results

Always happy to hear comments around your own experiences or thoughts on the post.

Hope you have a great weekend

Some helpful links for 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

http://www.tablegroup.com/

https://www.cpp.com/pdfs/mbti-lencioni-guide.pdf

www.tablegroup.com/dysfunctions/the_five_dysfunctions.pdf

High Performing Teams – My Top 12 Characteristics

 

 

 

There are many versions of what makes a high performing team and I thought I would write down my top 12. I plan to expand on the characteristics in another post

If you want to use this at a team meeting, let me know and I will also explain how to do an exercise in a future post.

Let me know what you think – what you would add or subtract from the list?

  1. Shared Goals, Vision & Rewards
  2. Open communication
  3. Detailed Responsibilities
  4. Feedback given and accepted as the intent is to make things better
  5. Awareness of individual values and respect shown for these
  6. Awareness of each individuals skills and how they can be utilised within the team
  7. Sharing of business network and knowledge base
  8. Individual autonomy to make decisions
  9. Innovation, creativity given equality with process and detail
  10. Agreed methods for conflict resolution
  11. Positive outlook
  12. Participative Leadership Styles

You know I love TED videos so I have attached:

At TEDxUSC, David Logan talks about the five kinds of tribes that humans naturally form — in schools, workplaces, even the driver’s license bureau. By understanding our shared tribal tendencies, we can help lead each other to become better individuals

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not about the coach

 

When running and observing coaching sessions I am asked ‘what would make me a better coach?’. In the majority of the situations I give the feedback… listen more, use silence more and stop asking leading questions which lead to the coach giving advice.

This usually happens as the coach is a leader or manager and they have an agenda, genuinely want to help or dare I say it… let their ego get in the way

Direct or Push style coaching can be useful if the coachee is inexperienced, however too much use of this style can result in:

  • Coach becoming a ‘knowledge crutch’ for the coachee; with the coach / manager being continually asked for advice when the coachee encounters challenges
  • If the advice doesn’t work out the coachee can blame the advice rather than the way it was put into practice
  • As coaches we cannot know all the answers so it puts pressure on us to be the expert

So to increase the effectiveness of your coaching try a few things

 

  • 70 / 30 or 80 /20 percentage of the coachee talking
  • Hold back on suggestions unless the coachee asks you directly for them
  • The coachee tends to have lots of ideas on how to improve, take time to explore these so they have a plan b or c if the plan a doesn’t work out
  • The coachee may have a reflective personality so let them think in silence, dont assume that you need to ask another question or offer an answer
  • Let them take responsibility, replace ‘we’ with ‘you’ e.g. what can you do to….?
  • If asked for feedback, reverse the question and ask them what they thought of their performance
  • At suitable stages in the session get the coachee to summarise the points coverred rather than you do it.

 

To identify what your style of coaching is, have a look at the coaching spectrum below and note down the techniques you currently use. Try using some of techniques you dont use when applicable.

 

 

If you have any questions or want to share your thoughts on coaching, feel free to use the comment box below.

 

 

Motivation in the workplace

Traditionally, many managers use the carrot and stick motivational techniques

‘do better or I’ll get someone else’

‘sell / do more and you’ll make a bonus’

Research has shown that incentive type rewards will only work in ‘mechanical’ type jobs as soon as rudimentry cognative processes are required monetary rewards actually get in the way.

If you want to help motivate people then you need to find out what really motivates them outwith monetary reward or benefits. Hetzberg referred to them as satisfiers.

So when you are having 1:1’s or team days take time to ask your team what these are and ask them about how you can help bring these into their work life.

Or if you are de-motivated at the moment do the exercise yourself and talk to your boss about how you can do this.

For a slightly different slant on motivation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

For apple users (or if you fancy a change from the normal TED presentation) who can’t see TED videos on my blog try here on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc

Let me know your thoughts on motivation, hope you have a great weekend 

 

Top 10 characteristics in a great boss?

I have been lucky enough to have some great managers in the last 21 years and I thought that I would capture what made them great bosses in a top 10, because by understanding what makes a great leader for me will ultimately help me be a better leader.

1. Took the time to get to know me and my motivations and aspirations and linked these to work I was asked to do

2. Treated people in the orgainisation as peers; everybodies job was important and contributed to the success as a whole from cleaners to CEO’s

3. Set down clear expectation around my role and targets and then gave me the autonomy and trust to go and do it, however, they were there if I needed support

4. Introduced me to their network. They always looked to work across departments in a collaborative way rather than view them as competition.

5. Encouraged discussion, feedback and new ideas

6. Forgive and forget – if I made a geniune mistake I received support to fix it and it was never cast up again.

7. They had my back and had little toleration for disfunctional behaviour against a member of their team

8. Encouraged me to develop myself

9. Helped me see the positive in situations and the value of positive thought in life

10. Let me know the big picture and what was my part in it

How do you rate yourself against this top 10?

What would you add to this list?

What would you take out?

I would love to hear your comments, hope you have a great day

Change Implimentation – A New Hope

Change is a massive part of our business lives and I wanted to take a light hearted look at Kotter’s 8 Stage model.

Note to any true Star Wars fans, I have used some poetic license so please don’t take offence.

Establishing a Sense of Urgency

  • Examine market and competitive realities, and identify and discuss crises, potential crises, or major opportunities

Princess Leia learns about the Death Star being built and sets out to tell other people of the coming threat.

What would have happened if Leia had decided to ignore the construction of the Death Star, all this new technology is just a passing trend, it won’t be popular, and there is nothing we can do about it.

How many businesses ignore the threats of new technology or competitors?

Creating the Guiding Coalition

  • Assemble a group with enough power to lead the change effort, and encourage the group to work as a team

Ok so Leia got captured by Darth Vader, however she already had started the process of creating a guiding coalition by bring Obi Wan into the mix as she knew that he could help and had the power to make a difference.

In business terms when we are going through change we get a group together, however we need people who can make decisions and have other important contacts that have experience and knowledge that can help with the transition.

Developing a Change Vision

  • Create a vision to help direct the change effort, and develop strategies for achieving that vision

Now this is where I probably get into trouble with star wars fans…

Obi wan Kenobi upon learning about the death star helps Luke see what could be and formulates a plan to change the situation. He uses language that talks about what was and what could be. He engages people’s values and gives hope.

Ok so he doesn’t have a business vision statement so here’s what Kotter’s says about visions

  • Imaginable: They convey a clear picture of what the future will look like.
  • Desirable: They appeal to the long-term interest of employees, customers, shareholders, and others who have a stake in the enterprise.
  • Feasible: They contain realistic and attainable goals.
  • Focused: They are clear enough to provide guidance in decision making.
  • Flexible: They allow individual initiative and alternative responses in light of changing conditions.
  • Communicable: They are easy to communicate and can be explained quickly.

Communicating the Vision for Buy-in

  • Use every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies, and teach new behaviours by the example of the Guiding Coalition

The rebel alliance didn’t just send out a boring inter galactic email! Everyone involved was talking to other members of the alliance, person appearances, and rousing monologues

Here’s what Kotter says

In communicating the vision for the transformation, there are some things to keep in mind. The vision should be:

  • Simple: No techno babble or jargon.
  • Vivid: A verbal picture is worth a thousand words – use metaphor, analogy, and example.
  • Repeatable: Ideas should be able to be spread by anyone to anyone.
  • Invitational: Two-way communication is always more powerful than one-way communication.

In pursuit of simplicity, fewer words are better

Empowering Broad-based Action

  • Remove obstacles to change, change systems or structures that seriously undermine the vision, and encourage risk-taking and non-traditional ideas, activities, and actions

When they reach the Death Star Obi Wan left Luke, Han and Chewbacca to rescue Leia rather than micro manage and tell them what to do as he knew that they could do it and he was better placed to shut down the shields. They then had to think creatively to do this, take risks but they had the authority to take action for themselves.

Kotter talks about

Removing as many barriers as possible and unleashing people to do their best work

Typically, empowering employees involves addressing four major obstacles: structures, skills, systems, and supervisors

Generating Short-term Wins

  • Plan for visible performance improvements, create those improvements, recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements

The hero’s in star wars didn’t just fly to the death star and blow it up; they became motivated and bonded through short term wins. These were communicated throughout the alliance to raise moral and give hope that things will turn out ok.

Kotter talks about

For leaders in the middle of a long-term change effort, short-term wins are essential. Running a change effort without attention to short-term performance is extremely risky. The Guiding Coalition becomes a critical force in identifying significant improvements than can happen between 6 and 18 months. Getting these wins helps ensure the overall change initiative’s success. Research shows that companies that experience significant short-term wins by fourteen and twenty-six months after the change initiative begins are much more likely to complete the transformation.

Never Letting Up

  • Use increased credibility to change systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit the vision, also hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision, and finally reinvigorate the process with new projects, themes, and change agents

Blowing up the Death Star was not the end of the Empire after celebrating success the alliance had to re-group, re assess what this meant for their vision, and recruit new members to the alliance.

In a successful major change initiative, by stage 7 you will begin to see:

  • More projects being added
  • Additional people being brought in to help with the changes
  • Senior leadership focused on giving clarity to an aligned vision and shared purpose
  • Employees empowered at all levels to lead projects
  • Reduced interdependencies between areas
  • Constant effort to keep urgency high
  • Consistent show of proof that the new way is working

Incorporating Changes into the Culture

  • Articulate the connections between the new behaviours and organizational success, and develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession

So after the destruction of the Death Star, the alliance celebrated and some people were given promotion, acknowledged the losses, Luke went off to Yoda for further development

This is why cultural change comes in Step 8, not Step 1. Some general rules about cultural change include:

  • Cultural change comes last, not first
  • You must be able to prove that the new way is superior to the old
  • The success must be visible and well communicated
  • You will lose some people in the process
  • You must reinforce new norms and values with incentives and rewards – including promotions
  • Reinforce the culture with every new employee

Tradition is a powerful force. We keep change in place by creating a new, supportive and sufficiently strong organizational culture. A Guiding Coalition alone cannot root change in place no matter how strong they are. It takes the majority of the organization truly embracing the new culture for there to be any chance of success in the long term.

If you would like more information on Kotter

http://www.kotterinternational.com/kotterprinciples/changesteps

Oh if you want to know more about Star Wars http://lucasfilm.com/

Remember this was a galaxy, a long time ago, so I am not advocating, storming your competitors’ premises and dispatching them with light sabres and blasters!

Please use the comment box, I would love to hear about experiences of change or if you have any questions