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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


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


6 Things Leaders Should Be Thankful For Everyday

With Thanksgiving arriving soon, I thought I would share this article published on November 22, 2017 on jmalonde.com, written by Joseph Lalonde. Taking a moment to remember the little things can make a big difference, no matter how busy the holidays become:

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. Because of this, I wanted to reflect on 6 things leaders should be thankful for on Thanksgiving and every other day.

There’s a lot of pain that comes with leadership. Struggles no one else ever sees. Betrayals by coworkers and friends. Business failures. And so much more.

Yet there are also things leaders should be thankful for. Let’s take a look at these today.

6 Things Leaders Should Be Thankful For Everyday

1. Success:

Yes, be thankful for your successes. Your successes mean you’re having an impact on the world around you.

Don’t hide your successes. Celebrate your successes and be thankful for them.

2. Failure:

Hold up… You mean leaders should be thankful for failures? Oh yeah, leaders need to be thankful for failure.

Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. You can examine your failures and see why they didn’t succeed.

Learn and grow from your failures. They’re a great stepping stone to your next success.

3. Influence:

If you’re a leader, you’re influencing other people. These could be team members, customers, even your vendors.

Your influence is guiding and leading people. Be thankful for the influence you have on others.

4. Team members:

Your team is a valuable part of your leadership. From leaders in training to the people working on the ground floor of your organization, these are the people who are the foundation.

Without your team, there’d be a lot more work for you, the leader, to take on.

Be thankful for your team members. They take a huge weight off of your shoulders.

5. The organization:

Sometimes it can be hard to be thankful for the organization you work for. There comes a lot of stress and frustration when you lead an organization.

There are times when you feel unappreciated. You begin to wonder why you’re there when no one values the work you do.

This shouldn’t negate the thankfulness you feel towards the organization. You have the opportunity to guide, build, and lead the organization in a new direction.

Be thankful for the organization you work in.

6. Your family:

Sadly, I’ve seen families get passed over by leaders more often than not. The leaders dedicate themselves to leading an organization yet forget to lead the most important organization they chose to join: Their family.

Your family is part of your mission. You chose them. And they’re a godsend.

Be thankful for your family every day. One day they may not be there.

Joseph Lalonde created JMLalonde.com to help inspire current and future leaders. You can find this post here.

The opinions expressed here by JMLalonce.com columnists are their own, not those of JMLalonce.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


4 Ways to Kick Into Hyper Growth This Year

hyper-growth-blog-race-cars

With a new year on the horizon, I’d like to shift the focus to Leadership and share the following article by  Adam Fridman, Founder, MeetAdvisors,  published August 19, 2016 in Inc.com, which discusses what INC 5000 honorees are saying about what high-growth companies are doing to be competitive in this landscape with the tools we currently have available:

Every year around this time, the INC 5000 list comes out and our collective conversation turns to growth. And since the latest technology is always changing the way business is done and stories of other disruptors constantly fuel entrepreneurial creativity – the formula for growth keeps evolving.

Last year, Mintigo conducted a study to identify exactly what INC 5000 companies were doing to surpass their success metrics. Among the qualities of the fastest growing companies in America were: efficient use of technology, having an in-house marketing team, hiring with future growth in mind, and focusing on high-growth industries.

The findings of this study have become more and more relevant in growing startup trends – and years from now, those key elements to success will likely continue to be true (even in 2030 when hologram versions of our staff will be teleporting into work!). But let’s get down to the nitty gritty. What specifically are high-growth companies doing to be competitive in this landscape with the tools we currently have available? Here’s what some of the honorees said:

Focus on What You Really Do
In your first years of business, it’s easy to try to be everything to everybody. More services, more opportunities for customers, right? Not so much. It seems that if you want to grow quickly, you need to focus on what it is you really do.

Constance Aguilar, Co-Founder of The Abbi Agency believes that getting hyper-focused was her company’s number one growth driver. “We streamlined our departments, creating a 4-pillar system for business development, which put our leads into industry categories staffed and lead by experts in those particular areas of business,” she said.

Creating a framework for the agency allowed them to expand their marketing agency’s business in specific areas, rather than simply go after ‘anything and everything’. The result was the agency growing 191 percent over the past three years.

Don’t Skimp on Talent

You’ll see this recurring theme across the map with high-growth companies. While technology is great, it’ll never replace the power of human connection.

“High growth is about hiring the most talented team that shares a common vision. Our team’s collective vision is to change the way the world pays,” says Tom Villante, CEO of YapStone, a fintech company that powers payments for global marketplaces and large vertical markets. This past year, Villante added numerous seasoned executive to his team, hailing from companies like Twitter, Paypal, and Salesforce; YapStone was ranked in the list for the 9th consecutive year – having grown 136 percent over a three year period.

Revolutionize Your Customer Experience

Look, we live in a fast-paced world where consumers expect a certain level of customer experience. If they don’t feel taken care of – they’re not likely to darken your door again, no matter how much they need your service.

“We built a company that treats every decision for our customer as if we were making the decision for ourselves,” says Joe Pervan, Partner at The Fulfillment Lab, a fulfillment house that provides customized solutions for global companies. In an industry that is not traditionally customer-focused, this company went against the grain to create technology that fit each customer’s individual needs. A longer process, for sure – but at a whopping 1,735 percent growth in the past three years, they’re glad they took the time.

Anticipate Future Need

Our world is moving at lightning speed and what might be so relevant to your customer today, may not suit their needs tomorrow. This is why it’s important to constantly innovate new ideas that anticipate the future needs of your customer.

This is the 4th year that Madison Logic made the INC 5000 list, and this year they moved up 500 spots. “We attribute this to constantly innovating and staying ahead of the B2B marketplace, while also making it our priority to understand our clients’ needs and create products that help them achieve success,” says the company’s CEO, Tom O’Regan.

It has becoming increasingly clear that, like Madison Logic, we need to listen to our customers and have them tell us what they need.
Judging by these responses, it seems that true entrepreneurial companies are most concerned about creating something great and disrupting their market. In the entrepreneurial world, passion is power – and it seems that if you have that passion for greatness, the growth will come with it.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

 


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