Tag Archive for: performance

Q12 Engagement Survey: Who is Responsible?

The Q12 Talent Engagement Audit

The Gallup Q12 (https://q12.gallup.com) is a survey designed to measure employee engagement. The instrument was the result of hundreds of focus groups and interviews. Researchers found that there were 12 key expectations that when satisfied, form the foundation of strong feelings of engagement. So far more than 90,000 work units and 1.7+ million employees have participated in the Q12 instrument.

Comparisons of engagement scores reveal that those with high Q12 scores exhibit lower turnover, higher sales growth, better productivity, better customer loyalty and other manifestations of superior performance.

The Gallup organization also uses the Q12 as a semi-annual employee engagement Index – a random sampling of employees across the country.

The engagement index slots people into one of three categories:

  • Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their organization and their work.
  • Not-Engaged employees are essentially “checked out.” They are sleepwalking through their workday. They are putting in time, but not enough energy or passion into their work (“Quit and stay”).
  • Destructively Disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged co-workers accomplish.

The Q12 Index

  • Do you know what is expected of you at work?
  • Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?
  • At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
  • In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  • Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
  • Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
  • At work, do your opinions seem to count?
  • Does the mission/purpose of your organization make you feel your job is important?
  • Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?
  • Do you have a best friend at work?
  • In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
  • In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?

The limitation of the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey (https://q12.gallup.com) is that it only measures half of the equation: the manager’s responsibility to build an engaging relationship with their employees and to foster an engaging workplace culture. The Q12 Talent Engagement Audit below, adapted from Gallup’s Q12, measures the employee’s responsibility to build an engaging organizational culture.

Take an honest inventory of yourself in the following areas to assess your level of personal responsibility and commitment to do your part as an employee to build a workplace culture that is worth working in.

  • Have you clarified with your boss what is expected?
  • Have you clearly and respectfully asked for the resources you need to do your work right?
  • At work, have you created the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
  • In the last seven days, have you given recognition or praise to your colleagues for doing good work? How about to yourself?
  • Does your supervisor, or someone at work, know that you care about them as a person?
  • Is there someone at work who you encourage in their development?
  • Have you earned the credibility so that your opinions seem to count?
  • Does your own personal purpose make you feel your job is important?
  • Are you committed to doing quality work?
  • Have you taken the time to create a good friendship at work?
  • In the last six months, have you taken the responsibility to talk with your boss about your progress?
  • In the last year, have you had created opportunities to learn and grow?

What do you need to continue doing to sustain your commitment to 100% responsibility for the culture you work in?

What do you need to start doing to take more responsibility for the culture you work in?

What support do you need? Who will help hold you accountable?


Protecting Your Employee Talent: New Challenges For Organizations

As the economy turns, how do you protect your employee talent asset? After eighteen months of layoffs, wage freezes and increased workloads, employees are feeling tired and disheartened, ready to jump ship for better opportunities.

According to a recent survey by Right Management Inc, six in ten employees intend to pursue new job opportunities somewhere else in 2010, and another 21 percent say “maybe” and are already networking toward it.

This is a time you have to be conscious of and commit to re-earning trust. Even your engaged workers are aware of opportunities elsewhere, and your best employees are mobile. People are always attracted by career development opportunities, attaining work/life balance, or working for a creative culture. If leadership doesn’t provide these things, then workers will seek them elsewhere.

Although there is a sense of entitlement with these demands, the good news is that this pressure can push our organizations to be better places to work.

How are smart employers going to inspire workers to stay and be engaged? By being in touch with employees. Here are a few ways to establish and rebuild trust.

Pay attention to your top performers – those that you want to keep – and don’t take them for granted:

  • Provide meaningful work. Restate the organization’s vision and how the contribution of these leaders – regardless of their position – is connected to the overall organizational goals.
  • Seek their input on how they feel about their job, management, and the organization itself.
  • Find out what they need to move from being worried to being completely engaged. Listen carefully to their ideas for making this a better place.
  • Support them to determine their future goals and highest aspirations; what matters most to them, and provide action plans to help them reach those goals.
  • Help them take on responsibilities that are aligned with their talents and passion.
    Recognize your key people. Make it a point to let them know how much they are valued and how much value they bring.

Be transparent:

  • Share corporate and financial information at monthly meetings.
  • Have “up close and personal” sessions, giving staff company news and updates, and allow time to field questions on any topic, from the organization’s growth to peoples’ vacation plans.
  • Let people know where you stand and why decisions are being made – enlist their input.
  • Get your key employees involved in critical decisions and discussions wherever possible. Help them feel they are a part of something and are needed to succeed.

Ramp up your commitment to mentoring, and ensure that people are getting the support they need to succeed, grow, and develop pride.

Expose your best employees to senior leadership through opportunities for mentoring.

Consider job rotations to give employees experience in other areas.

Allow high-potential workers to handle special projects or work on high-potential accounts.

Support your best people in taking risks.

Reconsider rewards.

If your company was forced to implement pay cuts or a wage freeze that you can’t afford to reinstate, find other ways to compensate staff: days off, flexible working hours, or even product discounts. Get to know what motivates individuals, and do what you can to show your commitment to them.

Remember that your best people are the ones that can always get a job anywhere, but if they trust you to have their best interests at heart, they will be committed to the organization. More than anything, people want to belong and contribute to something that is lasting. The payoff is that as you see signs of life in the economy, you will see signs of life in your employees. It is inspiring to have people wanting to step up, rather than step out.

Succeeding At Succession: The Ultimate Test Of Organizational Success

Successful succession is the ultimate test of organizational success. At its core, succession is about culture and values. What you are ultimately building and sustaining into the next generation, is your culture. Don’t leave succession planning to chance. If you are committed to sustaining your culture into the next generation and beyond, you have to be intentional about it.

Succession planning is not an event; it is a generational process, integrated deeply into your leadership culture. It is not transactional; it is transformational. To do it well, succession can take upwards of twenty years to come to fruition. It takes painstaking learning and patience.

Ten Steps To Successful Succession Planning

  1. Appoint a Succession Planning Champion – A person who is ultimately accountable for the succession success of the organization:
    • A leader with a vision and passion for culture (a “monomaniac with a mission”)
    • Someone who has earned respect and credibility throughout the organization
    • A person with the positional power to make the required decisions
  2. Define your cultural vision and values. Clarify the vision and the kind of culture and leadership you are committed to build and sustain into the next generation. How do you currently hold people accountable for living the values?
  3. Build a vision for future leaders. Based on your vision and core values, assess the kind of leaders you will need to take your organization to the next level in the coming generation – well before beginning a search.
    • What kind of leader do you want?
    • Where are the core areas that need immediate attention?
    • What are the key essential positions?
      Note: As you assess your leadership needs, be sure to remain open to the kind of culture you are committed to create, rather than simply “settling” for what you currently have.
  4. Honestly identify the strengths and gaps of your organization. Take the time to rethink what kind of organizational structure you will need in the future.
  5. Have open and honest conversations at every level with every employee:
    • Every employee needs to have a say in their own aspirations and have organizational support to align their passions, unique talents, and goals with the needs of the organization (Authentic Alignment). Remember: horizontal growth can be just as valuable to an organization as vertical growth. The vital questions are: 1) Is it authentic to the employee and to the organization? and 2) Do your systems support this?
    • Every employee should have an understanding of how they are perceived by the organization – so there are no surprises in the succession process.
    • Every employee needs to know what the organization expects from them, as well as what they can expect in return.
    • Every employee needs to take accountability for their own Authentic Alignment (ensuring that the expectations and needs of the organization are met and are aligned with their authentic self).
  6. Provide a fair and realistic assessment. Using your cultural values and the corresponding behavioral definitions, measure and assess people’s fit for potential successful leadership.
  7. Build your talent pool. Make your intentions clear with your positional leaders. To avoid destructive personality conflicts and “replacement planning” mentality, use an Acceleration Pool System that develops candidates for leadership positions, rather than targeting one or two hand-picked individual for each leadership role. “Pool” members are offered opportunities for learning, visibility, and accelerated individual development. Candidates are supported to find a mentor, and are offered coaching and training. After a careful assessment of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, you develop a tailor-made plan for their capability development together.
    • You may find it valuable to categorize the potential leaders as: i) Ready immediately; ii) 1-3 years away; and iii) 3-5 years away.
    • Those doing the assessing will need a clear, justifiable rationale for why these individuals were chosen for the talent pool (based on organizational values), and be prepared to openly share their reasons for choosing them.
    • Obviously, the potential leaders must have a choice about whether they accept being included in the talent pool.
    • You need to be very explicit right from the beginning, that being chosen for the talent pool does not guarantee promotion to a new leadership position in the succession, but only a commitment to an accelerated leadership development track.
  8. Make selections for various senior positions from the talent pool as needed.
  9. Current leaders must develop a plan for letting go. This is about making room for new growth to emerge. Just as potential leaders must plan their development to be ready to meet the challenges of a new leadership position, the current leaders must plan:
    • What they are willing to give up/let go of.
    • How they will let go.
    • How to make room for new leadership to emerge. Often coaching and mentoring can be useful to support leaders with the letting go, a “making room” process.
  10. Monitor your progress.

Employee Engagement Surveys Are Not The Whole Story

I’m not against employee engagement surveys. I’m just not in favor or our over-reliance on them for an accurate picture of what’s really going in a culture. Reading your employee engagement surveys is like reading a newspaper or watching the news. It’s interesting, but it’s not the whole picture.

It’s a small spectrum of what’s happening. You get a sense of what’s going on, but you always have to go further if you want an accurate picture. There are very reputable organizations, like Hewitt Associates for example, that help provide a rigorous outside perspective of  your culture. Here are some suggestions for getting a more accurate, complete temperature reading of your culture:

  1. Don’t rely on surveys alone to do the job. You also have to get out of your office, wander around, and be in touch with people. Ask people how they’re doing. Ask people what they need. And then listen to what they’re saying. If you use the excuse that “people aren’t honest with you when you do that,” that’s a good indication you haven’t been out of your office enough to build trust. Tom Peters had it right three decades ago when he wrote “In Search of Excellence.” Leaders need to be out of their office about 50% of the time or they just aren’t leading.
  2. Shorten your surveys. People are getting surveyed out. I’ve seen employees answer inaccurately because they are angry about having to do so many surveys! Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne (www.eepulse.com) is designing employee engagement and 360 Feedback surveys that take three minutes to complete. I believe that you can get pretty much all the information you need in about three minutes. Dr. Welborne might just be on to something.
  3. You don’t have to survey everyone to get an accurate picture. Television ratings are not determined by calling every single person watching TV. Pick a good cross section of people to survey and give people a break. Switch it up so you aren’t addressing the same people every time you hand out a survey.
  4. Never ask a question about something you don’t know how to fix and/or you aren’t prepared to fix. Every survey question implies a promise that  you are going to take action based on the answers you get. And if you break that promise, things will get ugly. I like Mark Murphy’s (Leadership IQ) experiment as an example of how this works. Tonight at home, make some popcorn. Then ask your spouse if they want some and when they say “yes” just ignore them. Now multiply that by a few thousand and you’ll see what we’re talking about.

What’s your experience with employee engagement surveys? I’m open for learning.

5 Steps to Creative Leadership

Creative leadership is a mindset and a process you need to implement on a daily basis. Creative leadership can help stop you from slipping into a mundane  routine and it can challenge you and your organization to explore exciting possibilities. Just like business magnate Donald Trump, finding your creative edge can lead to the best business and leadership decisions.

For a leader seeking the best opportunities, creative leadership techniques allow you to initiate successful endeavors. It’s more about positioning yourself to think correctly so that you can find new ways of being a leader.

Here are five steps for you to begin implementing creative leadership in your life, along with some tips from Trump himself.

1 – Meditate each day.

Start with meditation. Just 15 minutes a day of conditioning yourself to be quiet can start your imagination flowing. Think about things as they are – not as they were or as they might be in the future—and allow your mind to expand and explore. It is in this exploration exercise that you can begin to open yourself to something new on the horizon.

Creative leadership through meditation enables new methods, new ideas and new processes. Meditation helps you to think differently, to approach problems from a different perspective. Trying something new just for the heck of it is dangerous, but using mediation allows you to sort out the junk from the treasure. For a creative leader, something new may be just what you are seeking.

Trump Tip – “It’s the great business person that can decide between practicality and creativity.  You have to be able to strike a balance.  If you don’t strike a balance, it’s not going to work.”  – Donald Trump about creative leadership

2- Exercise your skills as a visionary.

Within you lies the ability to construct the future long before you ever arrive physically. Challenge yourself to see beyond what is currently in front of you. Creative leadership needs vision to help direct ideas to their best use.

This does not necessarily mean looking for something on the horizon that you have never seen before. Instead, you might want to look at something old in a brand new way. You can do an excellent job of constructing your vision of the future based only on materials, skills and attributes present in your current reality.

Visionary leaders tend to think more about where they want to end up rather than the path to get there. Using creative leadership ideas with your vision gives you many paths to reach that vision.

Trump Tip – “A good leader has to be able to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of employees.  A leader has to be able to see who is really strong – where, and if they don’t do it, it’s not going to work out very well for that leader or for that company.”  – Donald Trump about creative leadership

3 – Look beyond your own circle of peers.

It’s natural to surround yourself with people that are like you, but consider expanding your network of reference. This will broaden your horizons and challenge your thought processes. Individuals not in your field of expertise may be just the ones to propel you toward your future.

Branching your creative leadership out to new people gets perspective from multiple views. However, you aren’t really looking for confirmation of your ideas in a new circle. Instead you are looking for people with different experiences – people who approach tasks with varied mindsets.

Creative leadership is fuelled from finding more than the standard methods of leading. If you are a group effective leader, look for sharing ideas with thorough leaders who get it done and vice-versa. If you are a forceful leader, try exploring how persuasive leaders put feelings before tasks and vice-versa. Finding people outside your regular circle enables a larger scope for creative thinking.

Trump Tip – “In business it’s important to adapt.  If you don’t adapt, you’re never going to be good in business and you’re never going to be successful.  Show flexibility.  Be able to make a change.”  – Donald Trump about creative leadership

4 – Lead by example.

No matter where you find yourself in the hierarchy of the organization, the opportunity is yours to be creative. Once you have a vision of your desired future, step out of your everyday routine and begin planning how to bring it about. Your creative leadership will garner attention and inspire others to set their sights on the future.

Creative leadership by example, enables others to find new areas of expressing themselves, if you lead them to that approach first.

Trump Tip – “Leadership is very important in business.  You have to inspire your staff.  You have to really make them respect you.  People like working for the Trump Organization because I make it fun.  I make life interesting.  It’s always different.  It’s always exciting.”  – Donald Trump on creative leadership

5 – Deal with conflict.

There might be those who don’t agree with your vision of the future. Dealing with conflict can be difficult. However, if you implement creative leadership skills, you can bring about a positive outcome. One of the most important things to remember is to focus on similarities first. Look at what it is that both parties desire and focus on the good points of each side. From this vantage point, it will be easier to understand the other person’s point of view.

Most leaders have to deal with conflict all the time, internally with employees and externally with clients. Tapping your creative leadership helps you bring the other side’s perspective of the conflict into consideration. Practice coercing others not by force, but by thinking outside of your box, putting yourself in their shoes and finding common ground.

Trump Tip – “Getting along with people is very important to success.  If you’re not going to get along with people you may be successful, but it’s going to be a lot harder”  – Donald Trump about creative leadership

The picture has been painted in your mind. It’s your dream; make it come true. Creative leadership starts with you stepping out of your comfort zone – whether you are Donald Trump or Jane Doe, it’s something you can make happen.

Accountability Quotes: A Request Is Not An Agreement

For more than thirty years, I’ve been helping people be more accountable. As a family therapist in the 1980s, I discovered that accountability – the ability to be counted on – is not just the foundation for succeeding in the marketplace; it’s the foundation for succeeding in your life. Developing accountability with kids is a top priority for parents because when young people are accountable they will be employable. Earning credibility with yourself and others, being known as a person who keeps their promises, who goes the extra mile to get the job done, and who does what they say they’ll do, enables you to reach your full potential, personally and organizationally.

List the people in your life who are accountable, people you know you can count on. Think of what it’s like to be around people who keep their promises, who see blame as a waste of time, who stand up and take ownership for problems, who have no time for excuses, who make sure the job gets done. These people bring energy to a relationship. They make trust and creativity possible. They don’t waste time with regret; they put their energy into solutions. Accountable people put a higher value on character than on comfort. They have the courage to meet the demands of reality – without any room for criticizing or fault finding. Accountable people make integrity real and produce results.

Accountability Quotes

Here are some of my favourite accountability quotes that I have written – or collected -over the years:

An agreement is defined as anything you have said you would do, or anything you have said you would not do. Successful living, working, and leading, depends on learning to be accountable, to make and keep your agreements. Accountability is what makes integrity real.

Accountability is the keystone on the bridge of trust.

If you want someone to be more accountable, start by encouraging them to be more passionate. If you aren’t accountable, you haven’t found enough reasons to be accountable. Vision and Passion precede accountability.

If people don’t own it, they won’t do it.

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.” ~ George Bernard Shaw, Irish playwright, philosopher, and co-founder of the London School of Economics

It’s not greener on the other side of the fence. It’s greener where you water it. Now get busy and turn on the hose.

“Where does change begin? It begins in this room. Why? Because this is the room you are in.” ~ Peter Block

How many of you have ever thought less of a person because they put up their hand and said, “I’m accountable for that?”

If it is to be, let it begin with me.

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who make things happen and those who complain about what’s happening.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

A request is not an agreement. Accountability starts with an agreement. It ends by keeping that agreement, regardless of whether it’s difficult, uncomfortable, or  inconvenient.