Hey Leader: Whose Expectations Are You Trying to Meet?

Expectations

Sometimes, a question can strike you with such clarity that it remains with you for life.

The following question was posed to me early in my management career and is one that has provided deep insight up until this day:

“Whose expectations are you trying to meet?”

The Super Syndrome

After another exhausting week, I attended a community seminar based on the Superwoman Syndrome by Marjorie Hansen Shaevitz. this seminar’s topic referred to women holding themselves to unrealistic expectations to simultaneously be the best career women, mothers, spouses, community members , etc.

Today it could easily be the Superman & Superwoman Syndrome as advertising and media routinely throws images of being the best parent, partner, leader, global conscious servant, etc. Just look at Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

If they can raise their kids, solve world issues, be block buster professionals and stand by each other why can’t we all?

Just forget that they are exhausted and have a few personal challenges.

Getting Really Real

Eventually Something Has to Give

At work everyone wants something from you: your boss, your peers, internal customers, external customers, the Board, the stockholders.

They all act as if “No” is not an option.

But in the real world, if you treat all their expectations as equal, then you will most certainly burn out and never meet many of your stated goals. The old adage “you can’t please everyone” is true.

If you try to meet everyone’s expectations at least one of those attempts will result in lower than anticipated quality and both of you won’t be feeling too great about the outcome.

If you can’t physically and mentally do it all, what is going to move to a lower priority? If you let your stakeholders define this for you, you will continue in the land of the tyranny of the urgent. Whatever is the next thing screaming for attention will get your time.

Gaining Real Focus

Stop the Spinning

If you are already spinning from the long list of things you supposedly “have to do,” then your response to my advice to take time to analyze your work is going to be “but I don’t have time.”

Which is more painful; making time to narrow your focus and be able to say “no” to some requests, or continuing to spin at the pace you are at?

In all likelihood if you continue without taking a more strategic view your pace of spinning will increase because the number of people asking you for support will increase. By always saying “yes” you have reinforced them and others that you will always be there to help regardless of the request.

You have essentially created your own problem.

Getting Real Results

Get Out the Pen and Paper

List all the activities you are doing and the ones you anticipate doing this year.

  • Which of these services, products, activities are essential to the company meeting it’s vision?
    • Which of these am I the sole source for (no one else in the company can provide this)?
  • Which activities, products, services are not related to the vision?
    • What drives me to provide each of these activities, products or services?
    • What could happen if I stopped providing these?
      • What would really happen if I stopped providing these (75%+ confidence that it would occur)?
    • What could I, my key stakeholders and my company gain if I stopped these activities?
      • Which of these gains are of higher value than the activity itself?  (this will serve as your compelling reason to stop offering this service or support)

Gaining Real Perspective

Letting Go

If you are still reluctant to take something off your plate that is not of high value, ask yourself these questions:

  • What personal need(s) does providing this service or activity fulfill?
  • What makes this need so compelling for me?
  • Is there another way to fulfill this need with the more critical activities, products or services?

Here is a great example:

Jack is in a support function. He spends 2 hours each week in one of his key stakeholders staff meetings. He started attending to learn more about the stakeholder’s business and to be present in case some need related to his function was raised. Rarely does this need show up. He already has learned about his stakeholder’s business but he keeps attending for reasons of visibility, status and perceived customer service.

After doing the exercise he realizes that spending the 2 hours each week on the projects directly tied to the vision, will bring him greater visibility. He talks to the senior leader about his rationale for no longer attending and offers to sets up a 15-minute monthly check in meeting to ensure their needs are met.

Three months later, Jack’s increased quality and creativity on the strategic project is gaining him visibility at the executive level and meeting his personal desire for greater status.

Gaining Real Satisfaction

Expectations vs. Vision

Shifting from trying to meet everyone’s expectations to meeting the company’s vision and your personal vision will keep you a valued asset to the business and yourself.

Whenever someone asks you to do something, instead of immediately answering yes, respond that you need time to assess priority.

So how has this process, or something similar, or something different helped you to manage your time and energy? Have you changed to become more realistic in setting appropriate expectations? What can you do in the future to better examine your personal set of expectations and use that model to better understand and help others? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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———————–
Carlann Fergusson

Carlann Fergusson is owner at Propel Forward LLC
She provides seminars and consulting on Strategic Leadership Challenges
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Skype: carlann.fergusson

Image Sources: nathanjmorton.files.wordpress.com

Leaders: It’s Not All About the Money

Obsessed with Money

It is time that all of us get into the 21st Century about motivation and driving high-performance in the workplace.  

Over 20 years of research about what motivates people and teams to perform at their highest levels, have consistently shown that it is not money.

What Motivates Us

Yes, it’s true.  Money is not a primary motivator for a highly engaged and high performance workplace.  There are many Organization Development, Human Resources, and other professionals that understand this fact.

The research that leads us to this conclusion includes, but is not limited to:

Research from the Daniel Pink’s book, Drive:

  • Autonomy – the desire to direct our own lives.
  • Mastery— the urge to get better and better at something that matters.
  • Purpose — the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves; not money.

Research conducted by, The Coffman Organization:

As a matter of fact, it is likely that the pursuit of money alone is a motivator that leads people and organizations down the wrong path (see EnronWall Street, Jimmy Hoffa, etc.).

It could be why leaders layoff instead of innovate, or why employees skip safety for speed.

 Is money important?

Yes, but it will not encourage those elements that turn into an organization’s strategic advantage(s).

No Money?

Money plays a factor only in that people need to be paid a fair wage.

If employees are fairly compensated for the work they do, and it is clear that this is the case, it generally is not a primary motivator.

The underlying issue regarding money and pay is that people really base what they believe about pay in relationship to those around them (or in their industry).

If you are paying one engineer $10 and another $100 for doing the exact same job, then money is a demotivator.

However, if everyone is equally paid, relatively speaking, then pay alone is not going to make people work harder, smarter, or produce more results.

 So Now What?

The solution is not as simple as pointing out that money is not a motivator to an engaged and highly productive workforce.

There are some awesome lists of actions to take created by some excellent organizations based on heaps of research.

I encourage leaders and companies to do some or all of the things they suggest.

Here are three things to keep in mind:

1. The Money Cop Out 

Do not let managers/leaders say that the reason people don’t perform is their pay.  That is a cop out.  It is a way to say its not their fault when in fact they are the people that can create a motivating environment.

2. Meaningfulness

Make sure that every single person understands what he or she does to gain and retain customers.  They must have a clear line of sight to the end customer to understand their impact.

3. Make Sure Money is Not a Factor

Calibrate pay against your industry and ensure that you are paying employees fairly.  Make that known. Do not ask about it on employee engagement or opinion surveys.  No one thinks they are getting paid enough. It is not a differentiator between low and high performance teams.

Once money is off the table as “the reason teams aren’t productive” or “the reason morale is low” the real work of creating a highly engaged, productive, and profitable organization can begin.

How do you deal with the question about money as a motivator?  What have you seen as factors in highly productive workplaces?  Let me know!

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———————–
Anil Saxena
 is a President & Senior Consultant Cube 214 Consulting
He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | (847) 212-0701

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Win the Rat Race: Taking 6 Steps Back

The Rat Race

Remembering that “everyone running the rat race is still a rat,” I have lately been watching some beautiful 1950’s black and white films to hearken back to a slower time. I’m particularly drawn to their lavish sets, dramatic dialogue and most desirably, the simplicity of life. 

It was a time of a slower pace and more peaceful rhythm to life:

  • A time when “9 to 5″ was actually 9am-5pm!
  • And people had balance…
  • And the word ‘stress’ could not be found in any dictionary…

Ahhhhh….Those were the days!!

Back to the Present

Well, as my life goes on in the present, things are moving quickly and I am getting a lot of stuff done.

Life at work is wonderful at the moment:

  • We continue to love our clients
  • Our clients are achieving their goals
  • We have achieved 100% growth this year (which is pretty staggering)
  • We have an amazingly talented team!

Caught in the Rat Race: Run Forest Run

But that sort of growth comes with a cost. Enduring hours and exhaustion are normally the first signs.  After a while you tend to notice relationships can become officious, mistakes and cracks begin to appear, work in places ceases to be fun, and then your body retires you through illness.

In September I spent only three nights during the working week in my own bed.

The rest of the nights was spent in various hotels working with my team and our clients.  Little to my surprise, I feel ill during October.  It was something I was expecting because of the pace at which I was working. At the time, I simply put it down to ‘self-premeditated collateral damage’ – I brought it on all by myself as I knew I would!

Finding a Cure

Being ill gives one time to think. And think I did! I thought about how I had been trying to get stuff done at a such a frantic pace that I didn’t even realize that I had become a scampering rat trying to win the race. Although I did get most everything done, it had come at a big price.

I realised I had developed fantastic time management skills – I can do more with less – But had forgotten how to lead my time.

Back to the 50’s in 6 Steps

I wonder how many of us get caught up on the ‘busyness treadmill’ and do not even realize it? I am not really sure, but I can imagine it is a large percentage of working people who do.

I also am determined not to end up on the treadmill again!

So to make sure I could take off my rat suit for good, I took the time necessary to revisit the wonderful work pioneered by Roger Merrill (author of Connections and First Things First – Co-authored with Dr Stephen Covey) by applying his 6 Steps to Life Leadership:

  1. Connect to what matters most
  2. Review your roles
  3. Set goals
  4. Plan weekly
  5. Implement daily
  6. Evaluate every week

Connect to What Matters Most

Get clarity on what matters most to you.  Your purpose is something you detect, something you must spend time thinking about.  Once you decide upon what truly matters to you it becomes very easy to say no to the unimportant!

Review Your Roles

THIS IS THE MOST NEGLECTED AREA OF TIME MANAGEMENT.  Spend time identifying what roles you have.  When I did this earlier this month I did it in the context of my business role and found it simple – Business Director, Business Innovator, Coach, and Account Delivery Director.

Once you outline your key roles you can consider who the key relationships are with and what your key responsibilities are.  This in itself is pretty illuminating – for a lot of us, we may find there are some key responsibilities and relationships we are neglecting!

The other major benefit of doing this is it gives you a good understanding of how ‘balanced’ you are across your roles.    Note for my team who’s reading this:  Sorry about neglecting my coaching role – I’ve got a new plan and focus!

Set Goals Based on Your Roles

After you do this you may find there is a lot you need to do!  Don’t worry, prioritise what matters most.  Keep your goals simple, practical and motivating otherwise you won’t engage in them.  That way, it’s easy to make your goals wildly important.

Plan Weekly

Now’s it’s time to translate the goals into clear action plans.  You can do this by simply asking, “What is the one thing I do this weekly to take me closer to achieving my goal?”  Then schedule it.

Implement Daily

Do it.  ‘Nuff said?

Evaluate Weekly

Hold yourself accountable by reviewing your week.  Review how you did and reset for next week’s goals.

I know this could sound like a chore but it’s not.  It is paradoxically the opposite – because it enables you to prioritize the things that matter most in a structure that brings more leadership into your life rather than another list of actions that may or may not be important.

So, how caught up are you in your own personal rat race? What are you doing that is impeding your true level of influence that can be changed for the better? How can you get off the treadmill and properly reflect on your next steps so that you can get your head on straight? Can you take the 6 steps toward a more reasonable and reasoned future?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Brad Waldron is Director at Intelligent Inspiration Ltd
He serves his clients with results-driven productivity training & development
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Web | Profile | Blog

Image Sources: motifake.com

On Leadership and Santa Claus, CEO

Be Wise, Prioritize!Have you ever run into a leader who had no daily strategy; no plan; no focus; and no idea how to approach getting organized at all?

Yeah, me too…

Working without a strategy is like setting sail across the Atlantic Ocean with no charts (or GPS) and no idea what your destination looks like, and no sense of how long it will take.

Here’s a Secret from Kringle…

A few years ago, I was surprised to receive a book in the mail called, The Leadership Secrets of Santa Clause, by Eric Harvey, David Cottrell, Al Lucia, and Mike Hourigan (Walk the Talk).

My first thought was, “okay, cute gimmick,” and I quickly stuck it on the book shelf. It sat there for a year or so before I finally cracked it open. Once I started looking through it though, I realized the basis of the book, and that is this:

No matter who you are, you are running a business (department, etc.).

And because of this, there are certain things that you must do in your leadership role no matter where you are. You must prioritize  and navigate.

Track Santa in 2011 Here!

North Pole, Inc.

Santa is no different from any other “CEO” (. . . well, maybe he is a little different.) But as far as leadership goes, he has the same types of problems and issues as we do.

So what does the big guy do to get everything done on time and within budgetary constraints?

He follows simple, but effective strategies. One of Santa’s eight leadership strategies is this:

Make a list and check it twice.

Sound familiar?  This is one of the most basic things that leaders need to do, yet something that often gets overlooked.

To Do Lists

The first thing Santa has bulleted under Making the Most of Time is this:

“Prioritize tasks (do the most important things first) and use “to do” lists to organize daily activities.”

  • Lists are goals and strategies; you have to put them into perspective
  • Prioritize your tasks from most important to least important
  • Once you have taken the time to prioritize, stick to the list
  • And remember, you made the list for a reason

Santa has been around for years . . . and years. He has seen leaders come and go over hundred’s of years. Just remember what he says – “plan your work and work your plan”.

A Modern Look

Lets take a look at a different perspective with something a little more current. I saw writer/speaker Larry Winget for the first time on FoxBusiness’s Happy Hour program. I was immediately intrigued by his attitude towards business life.

He writes/talks about business in a straight forward, to-the-point manner.

It is said of him that he

“…tells the truth and doesn’t give a damn if you like it or not.”

The first book of his that I read was called, It’s Called Work for a Reason. I found a fantastic idea in the first few pages. In his book Winget suggests that you get rid of your “Things to Do” list and replace it with a “Things That Have to Get Done” list.

Are you getting everything delivered on time like Santa Claus? If not, then ask yourself this:

How many times have you taken time to make a “to do” list and only partially gotten any of it actually completed?

Git-R-Done

Herein lies the problem with the typical lists.

According to Winget:

  • Your “to do” list is nothing more than a wish list
  • Your “Things That Have to Get Done” list is more focused and concise; it acts as an action plan for your day

The second list has a more psychological effect on how you approach your priorities and plans of execution. Lists that you make up of things that you need to accomplish are part of your time management. By making a list you hope to be able to accomplish more.

But if you’re constantly only getting bits and pieces done, you’re not really accomplishing anything. It is time-consuming to manage time.

Winget says that:

“Everyone should forget about managing time and should instead focus on managing priorities. When the right things get done, time takes care of itself.”

Focus on what has to get done, not what should get done or would be nice to get done.

Roy E. Disney once said that:

“When priorities are clear, decision-making is easy.” Set the right priorities and everything else follows.

How is your strategy working for really getting things done like Santa? Do you make lists? Are you checking them twice for what really is important? How do you prioritize? Or, do you prioritize? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development at Florida Blood Services
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog |  (727) 568-5433

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Office – Part 1 Denial

Not Funny Businessman

Recently I was reading yet another news story of how radically the world had changed in past few years and how it may be a long time before things get much better.

Another story was about how unhappy most employees are but how they cannot leave their current jobs because of the fear generated by the high unemployment rate.

These stories make me realize we are now living and working in a “new normal” very unlike what we had become accustomed to in days gone by.

 A New Frontier 

We have now arrived on an unknown and unpredictable new frontier where our desire to be safe and comfortable no longer matters in light of the global issues playing out around the world. Just consider some of the global changes that are happening as we sleepwalk through our normal days in our state of magical thinking believing we will just wake up one day and everything will back to our old normal.

We now live in a world characterized by:

  • Deteriorating environmental conditions
  • Population growth approaching seven billion people
  • Serious energy challenges
  • Unsustainable consumer trends
  • Governmental overspending
  • Institutionalized greed and corruption from DC to Wall Street and throughout the world
  • Rampant outsourcing of jobs we need at home
  • Endemic poverty
  • Entitlement attitudes
  • State terrorism and continued middle east madness
  • New emerging economies that could overtake ours soon
  • Revolutions and unrest in large parts of the world
  • Local, state and country governments bankrupt or on the edge
  • Unemployment levels and mortgages failures at record numbers
  • The gap between the “haves” and have-nots” growing wider each day…

Latte anyone?

A New Dawn

So if even half of what I have described is real, we can say goodbye (maybe for a while and maybe forever) to a work world and way of life that we have all become all too comfortable with.

Is leadership part of these problems or part of the solutions?

Are we all (perhaps unconsciously) colluding in a functionally blind game that insures nothing much of substance will result from our efforts?

To quote Dr. George Odiorne’s Law

“Things that don’t change remain the same.”

Surely there is some good news here that our leaders can point to as signs that we know what we are doing.

Anything, anyone?

Seeking Solutions

I read somewhere recently that there are over 10,000 books on leadership with more arriving each day.

If that is true (or even in the ball park,) and you add in all the:

  • Leadership articles
  • Academic research papers
  • Blogs
  • Newsletters
  • Daily quotes or lessons of inspiration
  • e-zines
  • e-learning courses
  • Executive education programs
  • Professional coaching certifications, etc.,

…then you have to ask yourself how much more information do we need to resolve the leadership crisis that has been so richly documented by a large number of respectable academic and media experts and companies?

I can also refer to the multitude of surveys that strongly support this argument by highlighting survey results about how unhappy, dissatisfied, frustrated, devalued, etc. the majority of the workforce is feeling today.

It just doesn’t add up, does it?  So much for all our previous efforts and “transformational” techniques, programs, etc.

Agree?  Or, is it those pesky others again?

Tired New Day

It appears that we are solidly stuck in the old paradigms of leadership, company, and culture building as if we are unaware of how radically the world (including work) is changing today.

 Dr. Ellis would note that this is predictable because he believed that:

“Insight is generally meaningless to human beings.” 

Since we all have areas in our life and work that we would like to change (many for some years) and that we have not done much, if anything, to change them, it would be hard to argue with this wise psychotherapists.

So what is going on?

Have we quietly retreated into our comfort zone cocoons where denial and self-deception protect us and tell us go through the familiar motions each day?

We may prefer to walk around the big dead elephant (of a radically changing world and workplace affecting every area of our lives) and act out a business as usual persona.  It is easy to do because our myopic beliefs are readily reinforced by our own experts and helping professionals who continue to rely on PR programs to sell us the same repackaged products and services.

New Tools

They know we have always been satisfied treating symptoms and pretending we have effectively resolved the company’s (or an individual’s) significant problems.

It seems like is is just more of the popular-activity-versus-results-game.

I say this because, if you ask these consultants, teachers, expert’ and coaches, etc. where are the new tools, methods, practices and maps designed to allow us to deal effectively with the complexities of today’s work world, they don’t have them.

They may not even believe they are needed.  Many of these folks have so much invested in their current products, x step programs, and models that they have not even thought about the fact that generally these products don’t work at a deep enough level to institutionalize the learning needed to insure success today and create fitness for future actions.

As a result, they cannot possibly help us succeed in our radically changed new world.

But do we really understand what is happening?  As a friend of mine’s wife would say, “Never under estimate the power of denial.”

“Denial has always been a problem, what is different today is that the cost of denial has become so high.  We are living in a less forgiving world than we once did.”  Richard S. Tedlow

To be continued… (See A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Office – Part 2 Losing Our Purpose)

——————–
Doug Ramsey is Managing Director at Designed Management, LLC
He helps with Performance Improvement, Change Mgmt Consulting & Coaching
Email | LinkedIn | Web

Image Sources: businessinsider.com


John Wooden’s Winning Principles

Coach John Wooden

I have always been a BIG follower of John Wooden!

I have read every book on him and have worked to apply his principles to my business, my relationships, and my life.

A Standard of Excellence

I recently came across this INCREDIBLE strategy of standards of excellence and code of conduct to find happiness. I now read it every day before I leave the house and before I rest my head on the pillow.

It has helped make me not only a more effective coach and leader, but also a better mom, wife, friend, and contributor to this challenging but wonderful world we live in.

What a Wonderful Life :: Video

Get Your Happy On

Coach Wooden said happiness comes from making and keep nine promises:

1.    Promise yourself that you will talk health, happiness, and prosperity as often as possible.

2.    Promise yourself to make all your friends know there is something in them that is special that your value.

3.    Promise to think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best in yourself and others.

4.    Promise to be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

5.    Promise yourself to be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

6.    Promise to forget the mistakes of the past and press on to greater achievements in the future.

7.    Promise to wear a cheerful appearance at all times and give every person you meet a smile.

8.    Promise to give so much time improving yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

9.    Promise to be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit trouble to press on you.

A Look in the Mirror

I hope you will take some of these wonderful pieces of wisdom and look at yourself with true introspection. If you do, I can promise you that you will gain some of that happiness that Coach Wooden promises!

Hopefully these nine promises will have the same effect on you as they did on me. I would love to hear about how one or all of these nuggets helps you. Please share as we all learn how to support each other in increasing our happiness in these challenging times.

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——————–
Kristi Royse

Kristi Royse is CEO of KLR Consulting
She inspires success in leaders and teams with coaching and staff development

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Leadership Follies – Avoiding the Customer at All Costs

Apathy

“What does it matter? If I get it done by Monday, that’s not going to make or break us.”

In the hyper-competitive world of work, it does not seem logical that anyone would not feel a sense of panic or anxiety when it comes to customers.  Based on the recent economic downturn, people should see the costs of not paying attention to the customer.

And yet, the notion of understanding the impact that each employee has on gaining and/or retaining customers is foreign to many.

But why?

Although I am not a trained Harvard or University of Chicago economist, I feel it is same to assume that the key to business success is gaining more new customers and retaining more customers than your competition.

But in a recent studies, the evidence is:

  • 50% of professionals survey felt like retaining customers was not part of their job and;
  • over 75% of those same professionals indicated that gaining customers was not their job.
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Everybody’s Job

So the question is, whose job is it?

Companies have dedicated sales and customer service departments, so that must be the answer, right?  Not so fast, if it is true that the most important aspects of business is to gain and keep customers, how can it not be everyone’s job?

Many highly successful companies know this to be true.  Every person in an organization must take the customer into account when completing tasks, developing projects, giving evaluations, etc.  Why?  If employees are clear about how they impact the customer, they will be inclined to drive towards high performance AND hold others within the organization to a higher standard.

How do you get people to see that?

That is the $64,000,000 question.  Over the years executives have stated concerns about getting employees into the conversation about how to gain/keep customers if they are not directly involved with them.  Hogwash.  It has been shown that employees that feel as if their work is meaningful are more productive and actively increase organizational profitability.  Employees want to make a difference, they want to work hard to produce results.  There are two tactics to unlocking this potential and make sure employees see their impact on the customer.

Line of Sight

Line of sight is the straight line that each employee has to gaining and retaining customers.  Regardless of the role, each employee needs to see that impact.  Understanding the impact their role has on the customer adds context to their actions and decisions.

Think about it like this:

Purpose

Great managers not only tell their team a task/project that needs to be done.  They tell them why it should be done at all. What is the greater overall impact, how will if affect other teams and ultimately the customer. Knowing the purpose ensure that employees don’t feel like just another cog in the machine, but an important part of the overall strategy.

Clarity

Great Leaders provide role clarity to the folks on their teams.  It is not enough to simply be clear about what a team provides to other teams, but how they impact the customer.  Whether a janitor, programmer or marketing executive each person plays a role in gaining and retaining customers.  Some roles are more direct than others, but all have an impact.  It may mean that leaders need to do some digging themselves and determine  that path.  But each person needs to see it.  Understanding the impact on the customer will add meaning and credibility to their role and the tasks associated with it.

Outcomes

Once teams (and employees) are clear about their path to the customer and the purpose of their roles it is time to turn them loose.  In Daniel Pink’s latest book Drive, he states shows how Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose enables huge positive impact on organizational outcomes.  Since purpose has already been discussed,  let’s spend just a moment on Autonomy and Mastery.

~Autonomy

Within reasonable boundaries, employees should be able to carry out their roles (tasks and projects) in the best way to support gaining and retaining customers.  Creativity stems from the autonomy to develop, think and sometimes fail.  When held to outcomes, specifically those related to gaining and retaining customers, employees will strive to do more.

Therefore, it is better to allow employees to try, experiment and possibly fail than do the same thing that has worked (or not) for the past number of years.  It s vital to get work done, but unless you are working on an assembly line, they is probably a number of different and valid ways to get things done.

~Mastery

Employees should be pushed to pursue mastery in their role.  Mastery is all about engagement. It is immersing oneself into a particular role, task or project.  Although mastery of anything is nearly impossible, the journey towards it is enlightening and enlivening.

Now what?

As a leader, there are three steps to providing line of sight for your teams and employees:

  1. Learn and explain the purpose of each project and task as it relates to the customer.  Link actions back to impact on the customer.  This may take a bit longer and may mean a little digging, but it is well worth it in the end.
  2. Understand the link between what your team does and the customer.  Present that to the team and discuss what that means.  How will that impact their actions?  Make it a visual that can be seen by everyone on the team.  Start to ask the question – “How will this action impact the customer?” or  “How will this help in gaining and retaining customers?”
  3. Stress outcomes.  Evaluate performance on outcomes.  In the context of supporting gaining and retaining customers, people will generally do the right thing.  Focus on what they accomplish and not on the steps taken to get there.  Allowing for autonomy and focusing on gaining mastery will enable teams to do what is best for the customer in the long run.
  4. Encourage employees to talk about how they impact the customer.  Employees need to understand the link between what they do and the customer.  Encouraging them to find out on their own increases the likelihood of it sticking with them and informing their future actions.

Companies that don’t focus on gaining and retaining customers are doomed to not have to worry about either sooner than they think.  How are you going to clarify the line of sight for your teams?  What other actions can you take?  Please let me know.

——————–
Anil Saxena is a Senior Consultant and Business Partner with Coffman Organization
He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | (888) 999-0940 x-730

Image Sources: crunchgear.com

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