Archive for the ‘Company Culture Change’ Category


Monday, January 20th, 2014

In his landmark book Primal Leadership, Daniel Goleman reports on a powerful finding: a one percent improvement in culture results in an average two percent improvement in revenue. And the most direct way to build that culture is through a focus on appreciation.

Now when I say “appreciation,” you might be picturing a manager saying “good job” to an employee. That’s a good thing, of course. But the research shows that regular appreciation among teammates and peers actually has more impact on building confidence than appreciation received from a manager.

If you feel that your company lacks an atmosphere of appreciation, the answer is NOT to complain about it. The answer is to help create that culture. Express appreciation to 20 people around you, not just for what they do, but for who they are. Watch the faces of people whose days are made by your simple act of kindness. In no time at all, you will find yourself on the receiving end. When you help to create a culture of appreciation, everybody wins.

Appreciation has to be felt and reinforced on a regular basis or confidence erodes over time. Creating celebrations and high-fives around accomplishments of critical drivers builds confidence AND keeps team members focused on the right things.

Progress as Promised

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Everyone has had the experience of feeling like you’re on a treadmill, going nowhere, slogging your way forward through one day after another. Even writing that takes me back to the times I’ve felt that way. It’s HORRIBLE. There’s nothing more disheartening. Look at that word—disheartening—and you’ll see why the lack of a feeling of progress kills your inner work life, while an injection of progress and purpose quickens the pulse and gets you engaged.

The importance of feeling movement toward a tangible goal in our daily work is getting more and more attention lately. It’s called the Progress Principle, and it’s fast becoming a key element of workplace engagement.

But there’s growing evidence that management isn’t getting the memo quickly enough. When researchers at the Harvard Business School asked managers to rank the things that motivate employees, most gave the highest score to tangible things like higher pay. Others saw the value of recognition for good work. But very few ranked “a feeling of progress” as high as it should be, and many ranked it dead last.

That’s not good news. Studies are now piling up in support of that feeling of progress being at or very near the top, way ahead of traditional incentives like raises and bonuses. And that IS good news, because it means a feeling of progress doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Break large projects into smaller benchmarks, and celebrate each step as it’s achieved.

If you’re a manager, you have more influence than you may think over employees’ wellbeing and motivation. And if you’re not a manager, just a caring colleague who knows that leadership is not a position but a state of mind, you can have just as much influence on the inner work lives of those around you. And there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself, for your own goals.

Nurturing that feeling of continuous progress, including celebration of all the steps along the way, is a crucial key to the productive workplace, one we can ALL make happen.

It’s yet another opportunity for those who are paying attention to pull ahead of the pack.

What’s Good for the Company

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

I’m forever mystified when someone tells me they really don’t care much about the good of the company they work for. “It can fall into the ocean as far as I’m concerned” was one especially memorable one I once heard.

“Hmm,” I said. “Your paycheck is gonna get awfully wet.”

Companies are made up of people. What happens to the company happens to the people in it. If you harm a company, it doesn’t harm the building it’s in. It doesn’t harm the computer systems or the products on the shelves. It harms the people. And if you make a company successful, it’s the people who benefit.

A company is made up of individuals with their own hopes and dreams and ideas of success. But it only becomes a company when all of those individuals come together to put the critical drivers of the company first.

I can hear it now: I do have my own hopes, you know! Well of course you do—we ALL do. But a rising tide lifts all boats. And when all those individuals put self-interest aside and focus on the good of the company, the success comes back to them in spades.

It’s not a contest between the good of the company and the good of you. One leads to the other.

Focus your work on the key results and critical drivers of the business—because the success of the business is YOUR business.

The Caring Nudge

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

You’ve got a coworker whom you love dearly—or not—and that person has one personal trait that simply drives everybody UP THE WALL. It’s probably not intentional, but that doesn’t matter. It’s gone beyond annoying and is now affecting the mood of the whole place. You don’t want to poke a finger in her eye or make her feel attacked. That won’t help a thing. But leaving it alone just isn’t an option anymore.

So what on Earth do you do? You take the courageous step of being a peer. (more…)

On a 10-point scale, single digits won’t do

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Change CAN happen if just a few of your staff are on board. And cars can run on three cylinders—just don’t expect high performance.

Until an organization is filled with people who will pick up the hammer and ring the bell and commit to being a 10 on a zero to 10 scale, nothing great really happens.

No matter who you are, ask each and every member of your team to answer this direct question: On a scale of 1 to 10, how committed are you to a breakthrough? Most people will give an answer somewhere between 7 (“pretty committed”) and 10 (“committed out of my friggin’ mind”). A 7 from any member of your team might just as well be a 3 for all the good it will do you. Anything less than 10 gives that person a place to hide, an escape clause, permission to fail. “I wasn’t that committed anyway,” goes the tune.

And it just won’t do. (more…)