Archive for the ‘Employee Engagement’ Category

Spice It Up!

Sunday, August 11th, 2013

Stuck in a rut? We’ve all been there.

You wake up and eat the same thing, tasteless but sustainable. You walk into the office, casually greet the same people, and continue on, hardly listening to what your coworkers have to say.

You work all day at the usual tasks. You go home. Fix dinner. Eat dinner. Watch TV. Go to bed. Then you wake up and do it all again.

Routines keep us grounded to a certain extent. There is comfort in having a sense of your life’s direction—even if that direction is circular. But it can also become a soul-deadening treadmill.

But why not spice things up? You don’t have to changes jobs or move to New Zealand to get out of that rut. Recognize that a lot of your routine is a matter of daily choice. You have a dozen options for breakfast, but you choose the same thing as yesterday because it’s easy and familiar. That’s fine, until it’s not, at which point it’s time to mix it up.

When you walk into the office, instead of dully saying, “Morning, Bob,” like you have a thousand times, throw him a high five. Heck, make it a behind-the-back high five!

Instead of reading the paper during your lunch break, like you have a thousand times, grab Chris, the new guy that you haven’t spent much time with. Chat him up a bit!

Take a new route home. Listen to a different radio station. Go out for dinner to a restaurant you’ve never been to before.

You’ll be amazed at the shift in attitude these simple changes can make.

Connecting Engagement to the Bottom Line

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Still not convinced that employee engagement is the key to success?

As if the evidence wasn’t already overwhelming enough, the numbers keep flooding in connecting employee engagement to the bottom line. Last year, companies with high levels of employee engagement reported an average improvement of 19.2 percent in operating income, while companies with low levels of employee engagement declined an average of 32.7 percent!

So what’s it gonna be—19 percent up, or 32 percent down? The choice is yours.

Don’t think for a minute that you don’t have the budget to make engagement happen. It doesn’t take a massive investment to reap big rewards.

A Work Foundation study showed that organizations that increased practices related to engagement by just 10 percent increased profits by an average of $2,400 per employee per year. And the engaged organizations grew profits as much as three times faster than their competitors.

So what if your leadership isn’t on board? Get going without them. One person can radically change the engagement of an organization. Leadership is not just a position—it is a way of being. Get the ball rolling, then bring your team along. It may save their bonuses, raises and even their jobs.

Remember, engagement is just a decision. DECIDE to be happy where you are—and you will be.

Normalize the Impossible

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

In the early 1950s, one sports barrier seemed completely unbreakable—running a mile in under four minutes.

Both the scientific and athletic communities had deemed it impossible. But on May 6th, 1954, Roger Bannister proved the world wrong, running a mile in 3 minutes 59.4 seconds, Bannister broke the four-minute mile, crushing a world record that had stood for nine years!

That’s a spectacular feat, of course, made possible by Bannister’s unwillingness to accept that it couldn’t be done. But even more stunning is what happened next. Less than two months later, a runner named John Landy also broke the “unbreakable” four-minute mile. In the following three years, a total of 16 runners did so, even shaving additional time off the record.

Had the human body changed? Nope. Had the track shrunk in size? Nope.  A mile was still a mile.

So what had changed? Runners now believed it was possible! Once Bannister shattered the record, it lost its power to deny the achievement. This limiting belief, this psychological barrier, had held others back for years. But one after another, runners began to believe.

The world record is currently 3 minutes, 43 seconds. Imagine that.

It’s amazing how real our mental barriers can be. So what barriers have you constructed in your life? What have you deemed as impossible? Imagine infinite possibility. Disallow psychological barriers. Normalize the impossible.

How can you break the four-minute mile in your life?

Change is About People

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Remember during the presidential campaign when one of the candidates said, “Corporations are people”? He got a really hard time for that. Of course there’s more than one way to read that sentence, and in at least one of the ways…he was absolutely right.

Corporations are made up of people. What happens to the company happens first and foremost 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.

Companies undergoing major change programs know that these are the times that try people’s souls. And just as with any influence on the company, one of the most important things to remember in a change program is that change is about people – not systems, not hardware, not products. People.

I love to tell the story of Burt’s Bees, a company that did this right. When they were poised to make a huge international expansion, CEO John Replogle decided to put his employees’ happiness first. He made a conscious decision not to turn up the pressure any more than absolutely necessary. Instead, he focused on culture, creating an environment that was much more likely to see them safely through. He asked his managers to talk to their teams often about the company’s values. He also held a half-day company-wide workshop on happiness. Not productivity, not efficiency—happiness.

At every step, he fostered positive leadership, which kept his managers and employees engaged and cohesive as they made their successful transition to a global company.

In addition to learning about happiness and reinforcing company values, the employees at Burt’s Bees felt like they were important, like they were the key to the company’s success in this venture. That’s good—because it’s true. And that feeling propelled Burt’s Bees into a very successful expansion.

Engagement and involvement of the people involved in a major change are critical for success. How critical? A PWC study found that nine out of ten of the key barriers to the success of change programs are people-related.

So if that’s the case, why does management usually spend 90 percent of its time in a merger or expansion talking about the impact on systems and hardware instead of the impact on the living, breathing people who actually make up the company?

It’s no wonder 76 percent of private sector employees think change is managed badly in their organizations.

Be the exception. Remember that change impacts people most of all, and that putting your people first isn’t just nice—it’s also the best thing for the company itself.

Put On a Happy Face

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Did you ever have someone pass you in the hall when you were having a bad day and say, “Smile!” You probably wanted to put out your foot and trip the person. THAT would have made you smile, right?

Not so fast, grumpy. By encouraging you to brighten up your outlook, that person might very well have been doing you a favor.

Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism, has done profound research that shows that optimists tend to be far more successful than those who interpret events as negative.

His research shows that successful people explain good things as positive and permanent:  “That’s how it always is for me.” And they describe less optimal results as not likely to happen again: “That’s just not like me.”

Most conflict in the workplace, in marriages, and in any relationship is a result of someone’s filter that hears the worst possible interpretation and then fights against the other person as if they actually said it—even when they didn’t say it and moreover, don’t mean it!

The great thing about your attitude is that you can change it for a powerful shift in results. There is no longer the need to hear the worst, imagine the worst, and therefore, fulfill the promise of making the worst come to be.

As an experiment, set the intention that whenever you hear a request or a thought from another person, you will run it through the best possible filter, the one that says they are on your side and want the best for you.

You can even make it systematic. For one day, for every substantial conversation you have, write down the exact words the person said. Go back to the person and ask, “What I think you said was xyz. Is that right?”

Then tell them what you thought they meant. Ask if you interpreted correctly or if there was anything that you added that wasn’t there. When they make adjustments, repeat those and ask if you heard them correctly.

Make a log of the findings. You will undoubtedly find a pattern. For example:

  • You wrongly assumed they didn’t like you.
  • You wrongly assumed they were saying you were doing something wrong.
  • You wrongly assumed that they were trying to say something to hurt you.

Reset your programming so that whenever you hear a request or a thought from another person, you will run it through the best possible filter, the one that says they are on your side and want the best for you.

Then notice that life just became infinitely better.

Quick tip

The next time you find your temperature rising after someone makes a statement, take a quick minute to find two other ways to interpret it—including at least one positive way.