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Encouraging Growth with Motivation and Accountability

Laws may hold us to a standard, but what is more important is the consequences they hold. Even more important is shaping motivation to work with the rules set in place instead of against them. Hamish Knox writes this article for Tanveernaseer.com as a way to show how all of these ideas can work in tandem.

The dominant perception in the business world is that the word “consequences” automatically means “you’re fired.” That’s like launching a thermonuclear weapon in response to getting into a fender-bender on the highway!

Consequence simply means “the result or effect of an action or condition.” There’s no moral judgment here. It’s just what happens as a result of something else happening – and consequences can be either positive or negative.

Here’s a thought: suppose you were to establish intentional consequences that came a step or two before, and even prevented, deeply unpleasant unintentional ones (like missing quota or getting in a fight with an employee over why they didn’t get a bonus).

Effective consequences, whether personal or professional, always relate to one of three things: time, money or recognition.

As calendars become more and more tightly scheduled, we find that time consequences are, as a general rule, more powerful motivators than money consequences. One of the most important points to bear in mind here, however, is that the consequence that motivates you is not necessarily the consequence that moves your direct reports.

Your challenge as a leader is to understand which type of consequence will motivate each individual on your team.

For example, you have three salespeople on your team. The first has a child going off to college in 16 months, the second is an endurance bicycle racer and the third is highly competitive with colleagues. The first is likely to be motivated by money consequences, the second is likely to be motivated by time consequences (e.g. more time off to train) and the third is likely to be motivated by recognition consequences (e.g. winning an internal contest).

In all cases the best way to uncover each salesperson’s motivation is to ask them with a caveat that asking the third salesperson “would you like to win a contest?” is likely to get a “yeah, duh” response, which doesn’t help you.

An open secret about human beings is we tend to be motivated to perform if we feel we have some choice in both how we will complete a task and the consequences for failing.

Using the example above, each salesperson was motivated by profoundly different factors. Addressing this reality is known as “situational management.” Instead of implementing consequences to a supposedly homogeneous whole, you tailor consequences for each department or member of your team.

That sounds like more work, but it’s not. That “extra” work happens up front instead of after the fact as part of regular employee interactions. It’s usually far less work than firing someone and securing a suitable replacement!

Traditional management implements accountability and consequences to the entire group instead of tailoring consequences to each member of the team. This makes about as much sense as putting pole-vaulters, shot-putters, and sprinters on the same weight lifting plan.

Situational management spends a lot of time setting up a sandbox for a team to play in. It then sits back and lets the team play, only getting involved when a team member strays outside the sandbox. It’s much, much easier than traditional management!

In our experience the most successful consequences are those set up by employees themselves.

Initially employees will resist helping you set up consequences, because they expect there’s going to be some dire outcome. The trick is to help employees understand that you are only having the conversation so that you never have to use the consequences agreed to. Once that much is clear, you will generally find that they will open up and your conversation will be more productive.

It’s best to have this conversation offsite, and to give each person involved at least a few days’ notice that one of your agenda topics will be consequences of failing to complete their goals each week. This prevents outside distractions and helps your team come prepared with thoughtful responses. “Springing it” on your team members may leave people feeling trapped and create unhelpful on-the-spot reactions when you ask for consequences.

Think of a consequence program as a ladder that you can move up, down, or off of completely, depending on performance.

Typically termination only arises upon the sixth (noticed) offense! That seems like a lot of second chances, doesn’t it? That’s intentional. It’s also intentional that each and every benchmark is created during a collaborative discussion with the employee.

Keep in mind, too, that accountability tracking is a weekly process, so a salesperson, for instance, could theoretically move from first offense to sixth offense and termination in less than two months. That’s pretty quick. Considering the cost to hire, onboard, and terminate an underperforming employee, which is estimated at somewhere between 4.5 and 6.2 times their salary, a co-created consequence program allows you to quickly terminate someone who just isn’t working out, saving time, money, and morale.

There are many variations on these discussions. For instance: can someone go from level four consequences to zero if he meets his goal targets for a specific number of weeks? You must collaboratively work with your team to set up these guidelines – and then you must stand behind them.

There must be no “mutual mystification” between you and your employees. Just as accountability can’t exist without consequences, accountability can’t exist with ambiguity!

Whenever an accountability program is implemented for a group of employees, some people will attempt to wear you down by asking you to deal with a host of “special” situations. For instance:

  • What happens if I don’t hit my targets because I’m on vacation?
  • What happens if I hit my revenue/project goals, but don’t reach the targets we set?
  • What happens if operations doesn’t deliver on time?
  • What happens if I hit my targets, but the rest of the team doesn’t?

Those are the most common “What if” scenarios, and you are well advised to prepare for them ahead of time. For your accountability program to be successful, you really must have fanatical discipline when it comes to inspiring people to stay focused and hit their targets daily, weekly, and monthly.

Remember that we are talking about collaboration here. The fact that you ask your employees to come up with their own proposals for their consequences does not mean that you will just rubber stamp each proposal. As their leader, you are well within your rights to push back, gently, on suggestions if you feel they are going too easy or aren’t taking the exercise seriously.

Accountability programs only succeed with transparency and clearly defined metrics that connect to both performance and consequences.

Hamish Knox is author of “Accountability the Sandler Way” and plays an important role in Sandler Training’s worldwide organization. He is a recognized business development expert specializing in executive sales consulting and sales productivity training. You can find this post here.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


Investing in your employees now for the road ahead

Making sure a business survives through the day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year can be a challenge, but how do you make the move from surviving to thriving? Mick Yates writes this article to explain how investing in your employees now can create a positive effect for your business for years to come.

It is not easy keeping up with the current business market. With millennials taking over the lead, employers and business owners constantly need to search for new ways to keep their employees motivated and therefore retain them. Opportunity for millennial’s success are everywhere and if they do not feel content on their current position, they will easily move on to the next opportunity they see. Young people are highly confident in their career goals, and they have no time to spare in a place which gives them no room for growth. There is no better way to keep your staff engaged and motivated than to help them thrive and improve their skills. Here are some of the reasons why you should start investing in your employees’ growth as soon as possible:

1. It Boosts Productivity And Morale

Employees want to be recognized for their own qualities and talents. When an employee is confident about their work and knowledge they own, it directly affects their productivity (or lack of). Investing in their career and knowledge will show them that you, genuinely care about them. It helps to build a healthy and motivated working environment. Giving them space to rise and shine is going to make them more confident in their skills. But not only that they will feel confident, they actually will have a pretty good reason for it.

2. It Keeps Staff Turnover At A Lower Rate

With options lurking everywhere, the easiest thing for one Millennial with no, to little experience, is to walk away and find a position where their needs will be properly met. Younger employees are hungry for knowledge and they tend to lose interest quickly if you do not provide them with a constant chance of improving. It is your job as a leader to be interested in your staff and in their needs. Investing in their skills will not only make them feel more confident, but it will also prepare them for more serious positions in your company. That way, you do not have to start from scratch every time you need a new manager or a leader – you can offer the position to one of your existing staff members that already know the job. Believe me, they will most certainly appreciate it.

3. Fewer Mistakes

If you skimp on your employees’ training, you are most certainly going to face their failure or lack of skill. Undertrained or unskilled staff members are always the ones making most of the mistakes. Thankfully, with proper training/programme, your staff members will feel more in control over their own work and they will actually know how to do it (properly).

4. The World Needs Leaders 

Investing in training and leadership development is one of the leading ways of keeping Millennials engaged and loyal. Who would want to leave the job where opportunities for growth are endless? But even if they do, it is not that big of a deal. The world is in the need for strong, and young leaders, who can offer valuable leadership skills to the world’s job market. One of the first countries that seem to realize this, are Australia and Canada. Providing leadership development in Australia became almost mandatory in some business industries, and for some, training is at least once in a few months.

5. Reputation Matters, A Lot

A good leader who left your company for another opportunity should never be underestimated. Millennials will usually wander off to another workplace after 18-25 months of the same job (and position). Remember, wherever they go, they will take your company’s reputation with them. For every good employee you lose, you may gain triple – but only if you put your effort into engaging with your team. If they remember your workplace as a safe place for growth, they will most likely even come back after they have satisfied their need for change.

Coaching programs and leadership development training are slowly becoming almost mandatory in this chaotic business market that is spinning 24 hours per day. Keeping up with the current trends is not even a choice anymore – it has become crucial for the success of any comp

This article is written by Mick Yates, an executive leadership coach who is the founder and CXO level consultant for LeaderValues. You can find this post here.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


The 2 Rare Skills You Need to be a Great Leader

 Looking to take the next step as a leader? Lolly Daskal writes this article for her blog where she lists two  of the skills needed to take your leadership abilities to the next level!

At some time or another, most of us have experienced a boss, manager, or leader who made us feel recognized and valued. And as a result, we were able to do more than we ever thought we could.

More than anything else, that’s the sign of a true leader—someone who makes you feel, think, act beyond the limits you imagined to your own capabilities and capacity. What’s more, they make you feel you are valued and that you’re part of something bigger than yourself.

What skills do these leaders have that allow them to help others become their best? Fundamentally, there are only two. Even the first is far from common on its own, and because the second builds on the first, it’s especially rare.

But here’s the good news: rare as they are, they’re attainable. You can learn them and practice them and master them, and go on to help and empower others to exceed their self-imposed limits.

First, great leaders have a strong foundation of self-awareness. All great leaders draw strength from a well-built foundation of self-awareness. To lead from within requires a comprehensive understanding of yourself. That includes the ability to identify your own strengths and weaknesses—in terms of skills, which you can leverage by hiring people who make up for your weak spots, and also in terms of emotional triggers. Managing these triggers  requires a high level of emotional awareness, plus the knowledge of how to be adaptable and the willingness to alter your behavior to be an effective leader. You have permission to be human—that is, sometimes flawed and vulnerable—but you must never allow inner turmoil to wreak havoc upon those you lead.

True leaders understand that their attitudes toward themselves set the tone to which others respond.

Second, they have the single-mindedness to instill power within others. It’s one thing to understand yourself and to be aware of who you are. But the highest leadership quality is knowing how to empower others. A true leader is able to inspire their team, to encourage them to go beyond excellence and accomplish far more than anyone expects of them—or than they expect of themselves. A good leader may take people where they want to go, but a great leader takes them where they don’t necessarily want to go but ought to be.

A true leader doesn’t create more followers; they create more leaders.

A good leader may ask, “Is this working for me?” But a great leader will ask, “Is this working for my people?”

Great leaders can change the world, but first they must learn to lead from within. It’s only after they’ve developed that level of self-awareness that they can they lead and others to greatness.

Lead from within: Leaders become great when they are able to find their inner power and use it to inspire, strengthen and empower others.

This article is written by Lolly Daskal, an executive leadership coach who is CEO and founder of Lead From Within. You can find this post here.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


Employee Engagement 101: Creating a Culture of Commitment Versus Compliance

Working at the “Happiest place on Earth” means more than just providing a warm atmosphere for visitors. Jeff James writes this article for the Disney Institute blog about employment engagement and what it takes to create a magical place for employee and visitor alike.
The term employee engagement is often used in business today as it relates to how we employ and motivate employees. At Disney, we like to think about engaged employees (Cast Members in our terms) as a combination of those willing to “go the extra mile” as well as those who are committed to the organization.
“Going the extra mile” is not about working harder or longer—it is about discretionary behaviors that employees want to do versus have to do. When you have to do something you comply, meaning you do it because it is required as part of your job or role within a company. But, when you commit (to an organization or company), you do things because you want to do them.
Most often, when you do something you want to do, it’s because there is an emotional connection that has been created and nurtured between you and the company (or its leaders) which makes you feel like you are making a meaningful contribution to the betterment of the company. As a leader, once you are able to instill this feeling of “family” or connectedness within your team, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can accomplish.
Sometimes leaders within an organization get concerned when they hear the word “discretionary” related to their employees’ abilities to satisfy a customer. They usually think of how much money “discretionary” could cost their company. But, what they may not be considering are the longer term implications of NOT allowing their employees the ability to do the right thing in the moment.
These moments of truth, when there is either a transaction or what we like to think about as an “interaction,” can create a lasting brand deposit (or withdrawal) depending upon how a customer has been treated.
Getting your company or organization to this state, to form this type of culture within your team, can take years of steady, hard work—something we know well at Disney.
In fact, our consistent business results are driven by strategically focusing on certain business functions and opportunities in which other companies often fail the see the value and potential—and that is a key source of what differentiates us. We have learned to be intentional where others may be unintentional. 
So, this raises the question, how can YOU be more intentional in creating the type of environment where your people “go the extra mile,” not just because they have to—because they want to?

This article is written by Jeff James, Vice President and General Manager of Disney Institute. You can find this post here.

The opinions expressed here by Jeff James are their own, not those of Disneyinstitute.com.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


The Difficult Day Every Leader Has to Face

Is this the year for change? If you can prepare for a move, then setting up the ground work can reduce the stress on you and your employer. Lolly Daskal writes this article for her blog where she lists the steps you need to take to prepare for a move.

At some point every leader has to face what is for many a difficult day—the day they are no longer the leader. Maybe they’re retiring or just slowing down or moving on to something new.

The reason for the departure isn’t as important as the work that precedes it. Every leader should have a succession plan in place. (Even if you’re young and plan to stay where you are, you should still prepare for the remote possibility of a sudden illness or accident.) If you haven’t yet made a plan, here are some guidelines that can help:

Take your time. A great plan can’t be put together overnight, but the time to start is today. Start by sketching out your areas of responsibility, the reporting and governance structure of your organization, and any parties—team members, colleagues, board members—you want to have input into your planning.

Groom those with potential. Identify the people in your organization you believe have the potential to be great leaders and begin to teach, coach and prep them. When you invest in your organization’s future leadership, your influence remains long after you’ve left.

Recognize your emotions (and understand they’re normal). As in many other areas, the best leaders are those who know how to manage their emotions. They don’t allow themselves to be blindsided; they give themselves healthy outlets for voicing and expressing what they’re feeling so when the day does come, the emotions aren’t overwhelming.

Map your second purpose. I believe our lives comes in stages. For many of us, the first purpose consists doing what’s expected of us, and our work life is driven by the arc of our career. When that stage is over we can move on to our second purpose, where things slow down and we spend our time on things that align with our values. It’s time to be intentional about where you spend your time and energy.

Let go and move on. Once you’ve decided to move on, the worst thing you can do is to not let go. Trying to keep hold of the reins leaves you—and everyone around you—in limbo. Especially if you’ve spent years or decades in control, it may be among the most difficult challenges of your life—that’s why you have to prepare far in advance.

Learn your lessons. Sometimes looking back can help you move forward. Reflect on all the struggles, the lessons you’ve learned, the strengths you’ve developed, all the connection and growth and regrets of your career as leader, and you’ll attain a greater awareness of yourself and where you’re headed.

When the day comes that it’s time to change seasons, it will be a much easier and more fulfilling transition if it’s handled with care for all concerned—yourself, your organization, and the new leadership.

Lead from within: Every succession plan will be different, but the only way to know what’s next is to be prepared long before the day arrives and it becomes difficult.

This article is written by Lolly Daskal, an executive leadership coach who is CEO and founder of Lead From Within. You can find this post here.

If you need help getting started in a new business venture, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

ABOUT GREG LEE


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