Monday, March 30, 2009

The Secret Behind Employee Engagement

Ok, no drama (its a blog for goodness sake right?), here it is = people are engaged when they work with other engaged people. Huh? In other words, top performers do well when working with other top performers. They raise each others game.

Here's the opposite. According to Leadership IQ - 87% of employees say working with a low performer has made them want to change jobs & 93% say working with low performers decreased their productivity. One more, 86% of employee morale decreases after their first 6 months on the job.

So as the aphorism goes "a rising tide lifts all boats". Build a team of 'A' players in every department and don't settle for less.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Skills or Competencies...

What's the difference? Skills are something that can be taught. Just go back to memories of school. Perfect, your there. They are also techniques - things like in selling situations, questioning techniques, Solution Selling's 9-box technique or Sandler Sales Training (favorite actually) of 'sinking the hook'. These are all great because they can take an individual to new and better heights in personal performance. Training is good but its really step #2 behind:


These are the things we excel at 'internally' as people. Stuff you can't immediately train to if at all. They are things which take either a long time to master or are simply an innate ability which comes easily. Examples would be the natural ability to lead, huge patience in a customer service role, or the desire and determination to prospect for business. These are things, which are made up of individual behaviors and traits that enable someone to be able to do it or not. Subtle difference - big difference.

When you are looking to see if your people have the right skills to perform amazingly....ask yourself if you're not thinking about competencies instead. The difference in your answer will determine which questions or tools you'll want to use to find out. Confused? to answer your question!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Confusing 'showing up' with 'winning'

We talk about linking people to performance - right? We talk about what makes someone spectacular in their role or job. Breaking down the essence of success, so to speak. Have we ever asked ourselves a really simple question? -- how many people in my company are just 'showing up' and going through the motions of work?

Today's economic climate makes everyone appreciate what they have, especially employment. But we also look at some scary statistics (thank you Gallup Organization) that says 29% of workers are really engaged, 54% are not engaged and 17% are actively disengaged (*checked out). So if the stat's are even a tad rusty by a couple points, the fact is that we're working with 2/3rds of our co-workers who are just 'showing up'.

What to do. Let me ask a question - do we really listen to what our people think? Not some softy-cushioned group hug stuff, but using REAL tools to probe, find and fix where people are dis-engaged? may have heard "people quit their manager before they quit their job" If you hear this from your people, doesn't it make sense to take some action with that manager? Obvious? Maybe.... Are you sure? (as us for some ideas on this).

Ask tough questions. Listen. And the biggest thing to remember is when you ask a question, you'd better have the answer ready to implement. Nothing fails people and hurts morale more than pretending to listen and not following through with real change.

Winning is about overcoming resistance. Think about anything worthwhile. I'm a runner and if I don't put in the time and break through that comfort zone, there is no chance at improvement. Don't just 'show up' - listen and keep score too.