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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


Stop Relying on Your Company for Career Development

As one holiday ends, another begins. The path to career advancement doesn’t slow down for Mike Guggemos though, as this week we will be looking over his article written for Fortune in March 12, 2017.

Stop Relying on Your Company for Career Development

You probably aren’t doing these three simple and easy-to-adopt professional habits to raise your visibility at work—but you should be. Despite being simple, these are generation-agnostic, can be tested by any person at any point in their career, and, for the most part, are universally applicable across companies and industries.

Take control of your own advancement

As part of my job, I look at employee surveys, and one thing that habitually comes up is people wanting more career development and advancement opportunities. This fascinates me, because a lot of people aren’t doing very simple tasks—which can’t be replaced with organized committees or training programs provided by the company—to advance themselves.

In fact, I make a point to have one-on-one conversations with people to better understand their point of view around this idea, and invariably it becomes obvious that they haven’t put the onus on themselves to go out and look for—or even create—opportunities to get noticed. To put it bluntly, that is backward, and it won’t get you where you want to go.

Taking control and creating opportunity does not have to be part of a grand scheme or something that will eat away at your productivity. In fact, it comes down to basics. Introduce yourself, shake people’s hands, and get comfortable with putting yourself out there. If you are interested in a particular area, even if it isn’t related to your education, background, or current job focus, find out who the manager is—and introduce yourself in person.

“Hi, my name is…” can go a very long way.

Learn the art of strategic exposure

If you really want to get noticed, you have to put yourself out there in strategic ways. Volunteer for work and new responsibilities—even if it means stretching outside your comfort zone or having to put in a few more hours of effort at night or on the weekends.

If you want to have your boss’s job or boss’s boss’s job, you need to show what you are made of to large groups of people. There are three ways to do this: Speak up in meetings; find opportunities to give presentations; and write emails that will be seen by either large audiences or key decision makers.

Here is the hard part: Make sure you are clear, concise, and emotive when presenting and corresponding. These types of interactions are how you build your personal brand and credibility within the organization.

Make sure to show up

It’s old news that many companies have embraced a heavy telecommuting culture. For example, here at Insight, about 80% of my team telecommutes. However, this means that showing up once in a while is that much more important to getting noticed. Even though it may not be mandatory, make the trip in once or twice a week. If that isn’t possible, find a schedule that works for you. Even great work can’t supplant a handshake or a face-to-face interaction with teammates and managers. Conversely, if you are in the office but work with teammates or managers who are remote, make sure to introduce yourself to them when they are in town or ask them to grab a coffee.

While there are easy things to do to get noticed, there are also a few easy mistakes that can be made along the way. In short order, don’t take too much of people’s time, don’t over-communicate—less is more when you are striking up that initial conversation—and do your homework so that you have the right information to be brief, but effective.

In the few times I’ve seen people put these best practices to work, I have not only been impressed by their behavior, but often have noticed their realization of career dividends as a result.

This article is written by Mike Guggemos, chief information officer at Insight Enterprises. You can find this post here.

The opinions expressed here by Mike Guggemos are their own, not those of Fortune.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


9 More Strategies for Successful Leadership (Part 2)

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Last week I shared a post written by Ed Shultek, Founder and Managing Principal @ Sandler Training, published on LinkedIn July 2016.  This week I’d like to share the follow-up post Mr. Shultek published on LinkedIn in September 2016 after learning of a study out of Duke University that found people were motivated more by pizza than a cash bonus.  These are 9 more strategies for successful leadership that you can implement today and start seeing results.

  • Do things that make subordinates feel good. Little things that show people how much you value them goes a long way.   People like to feel important. Oblige them and they will oblige you.
  • No promises allowed — Just deliver.  There is always a risk in making a promise. Either a fulfilled promise is expected or an unfulfilled promise can end a relationship. You know the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.
  • Don’t withhold information.  Information is on a need to know basis and employees always need to know what will help them in their job.   Employees are more motivated to perform at higher levels when they feel empowered with all the information they need to accomplish the organization’s goals.
  • Address disagreements honestly and with no judgment. Employees need to feel empowered by the independence in their roles. One should learn the results of their own conflict resolution style as well as the styles of others and deliver difficult conversations in a manner that best resonates with the communication style of the receiver.
  • Listen to your employees. All people want to be heard and they want to feel that what they have to say is important. Its an easy way to gain their respect and loyalty as well as learn more about what is going on within the team.
  • Provide honest and immediate feedback to each team member.  Not only does this set the expectations regarding their contribution but it tells them how well they are meeting your expectations so they can improve.
  • Reward loyalty and hard work. When you reward good performance, you can expect to see more of it. Don’t take their efforts for granted. The rewards don’t have to be grandiose. Remember the pizza study?
  • Encourage ideas and participation.  No one should ever feel that his or her idea wouldn’t be heard. Set expectations in meetings by rewarding all ideas and contributions.
  • Make time for team building. Encouraging active participation with team members is a great way to keep the team focused on the overall goals.

If you are in management, you have been tasked with the responsibility of achieving results through the efforts of others. Your efforts in making your organization a place where employees can grow should be a part of your own growth plan and is what will turn you into a leader and not just a boss.

Download the Step By Step Coaching Guide for Improving Revenue for quick ways to implement some of these leadership strategies.


Are You Always The Decider? That’s No Way to Grow

For this week’s Blog, I’d like to share an article by Peter Economy published in Inc. focusing on teaching your employees how to sharpen their decision-making and you’ll reap many rewards, including a better workforce.

Every day, you and the people who work for you need to make decisions. Many decisions. As the leader, you may take it upon yourself to make the most critical ones,but for the company to thrive you have to be sure that the people who work for you develop this essential skill. One of the best decisions you can make, therefore, is to devote time to helping your team improve their decision-making. Here’s how.

1. Encourage autonomy

If you have delegated authority to your employees and solicited their input, avoid dictating to them how they should do their jobs or micro-managing their approach to problem solving. Instead, spell out the goals or desired outcomes and then let them decide how to achieve them. When your employees know what is expected–and you give them the autonomy to develop their own solutions–they will become adept at making good decisions, even if that inevitably entails learning from bad ones. As your people learn how to make better decisions, they will build confidence and autonomy.

2. Be a good role model

The rapid demands of day-to-day operations often require managers to respond on-the-spot, but whenever possible take the time to make informed, intelligent choices.Model for your employees the way in which you arrived at an informed and timely decision by gathering facts and assessing the available data, always focused on what you think is best for the organization. If in doubt, or if the situation permits, make it a group exercise–and don’t be afraid to ask for plenty of input. But never lose sight of the fact that what you want to model is the importance of a confident, timely, well-informed decision.

3. Provide reality checks

As your employees learn and become more autonomous, offer timely feedback on the quality of the decisions they’ve made. Avoid the temptation to wait until you feel feedback is warranted, or to ignore it altogether (easy to do if the decision proved wise). Always be coaching. If the feedback is positive, tell them what went well and why you want to see more of it in the future. If decisions were less than optimum, educate them of the full consequences of their choices and ask them how they might do things differently in the future to avoid the same results.

4. Foster a sense of security

The whole point of encouraging your people to make decisions is to provide them with an environment in which they can learn how to think for themselves, and to take risks when necessary. If you don’t do this then your employees will constantly rely on you for direction. Your time will be under even more pressure, and your employees won’t be growing in their positions. When your people can make good decisions themselves, you win more time to do other things for your business and your employees become more responsible and more effective.

5. Reward the behavior You want

Get in the habit of praising employees when they make decisions. Be specific about how their efforts fixed a problem and benefited the organization. If they decided to reach out to a customer with an additional order update, for example, and you feel that that decision strengthened the customer relationship, let them know that they made a very good call. Virtually every act of initiative can be seen as a decision, so be alert to chances to praise good choices. When you do, you’ll see many more of them being made.

If you need help with making the most of your time and helping your team improve their decision-making, and you are in Chicago, Oak Brook or surrounding areas, contact us today if you feel you need some coaching on this topic!

Greg A. Lee is also available on Advicoach.


support staff

Gathering Your Support Staff

Today I’d like to chat about the different types of support staff you need and what makes them so important.

There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:

  • The Technician
  • The Manager
  • The Entrepreneur

All of these roles need to be played simultaneously by different people with the right talents. It’s all about balance.

The Technician

This person represents the present and all that needs to be done for the physical aspects of the business building process. They are the “doer”. This is usually the most visible person of the entire operation.

The Manager

This person represents the past and works to fix problems through learning from past mistakes. They are the practical side of the business and is in charge of putting together the business and overseeing the planning.

The Entrepreneur

This person represents the future and the vision for the business. They are responsible for the creative side of the business and are always considering ways to enhance products/service, business image, branding and more.

All three of these characters are essential in the success of any business and to build a solid foundation from the start, you need to work harder to find the right people to put in these roles. Obviously, you need to be one of these key people, but ensure you find the role that fits your skills and talents, not necessarily what you THINK you should be doing.

This may be a hard process for you as you will need to relinquish some control over the business and instill trust in people to allow them to do their jobs.

Remember, our business coaches can help you through the entire process of building a support staff, and teach you how to avoid falling victim to e-myths.


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