1. Stakeholder Surveys – You must determine a base line for your employees. You should conduct a series of surveys designed to find out what your employees know, what they don’t know and what they think they know. First, do they understand the true mission of your organization? If you think so then think again, because making money is not the mission. The mission is providing a product or service that customers will buy. Do they know the vision or the mantra of the owner(s)? These questions will take careful crafting before you distribute a survey of any kind. I do recommend that this first survey be done anonymously online, through a service like (Survey Monkey, Constant Contact, etc.) You must learn your employees, no matter how many you have. (1-1000).
2. Communication Development – We think communication is easy. We speak and they listen. No, they may hear, but are they really listening? Furthermore what are they hearing? What do you think they hear and what is really received is most often not even close to the same thing. Studies indicate that communication is the number one problem in any organization. It is also the number one solvable problem in organizations. Communication is simple, but it is not easy to improve communication. Communication is hard work. Communication is the hardest work. We have the spoken word. We have the intent or the philosophy behind our words and we have the unspoken or nonverbal communication that occurs. There is also an organizational culture that defines what it all means. Sometimes because of lack of follow-up or follow-through our words become meaningless. Have you ever heard another co-worker say “just wait on doing that-the boss will forget all about it in a day or two”. You probably said this about your parents. You have e-mail communication, memos, policy manuals, and customs. Do you really expect your staff to analyze this data? There is not a chance this will occur. Simpler is better. Drill down to the core values you wish to transfer and make all your communications validate this.
3. Positive Attitude Development – You may be asking yourself how you can develop someone’s attitude to make it more positive. Well, you can do this by training, coaching and rewarding the types of behavior that reveal the attitude you want from your employees. Stop rewarding bad attitudes. How can I do this you might ask? Well attitude is revealed by behavior and job performance. It’s true you can’t write someone up for their attitude, but you can deal effectively with the undesired behavior that reflects their attitude. Bad behavior must be unacceptable in your organization. First, if an employee has had such a bad day, week, month or even life, they must be prepared to turn on a “Happy Face” and act out the part they have been hired and are being paid to play. Consider for a moment a visit to Disney World. They do not hire employees, they hire actors. They have casting calls. Cast members must be willing to take on a roll and play their part at all times. “Mickey Mouse” never has a bad day. If he does he is likely to get fired. You see we have been wrongly taught that when “OLD JOE’ has a bad day, we must accept it. This is wrong, and a you don’t have to accept this bad behavior anymore. I am not saying you can’t empathize with an employee who may be going through a rough time; we all have or will at some point in our lives and careers. But we are not getting paid to have these bad days at work and if they are so bad we cannot play our part, we must ask to take the day off and come back ready to play the part we are being paid for.
4. Career Development – 50 percent of preparation for career opportunity and advancement is the responsibility of the employee. 50 percent of preparation is the employers responsibilities. If one of these parties does not live up to their part, who will suffer? If you said both will suffer, you’re right. But ultimately your life and career is your responsibility. Have you ever heard someone make the statement “If they wanting you to get that training they would send you and pay for it?” Of course you have, in fact you may have said it yourself. It’s a lie. Don’t let someone else or even your organization decide your future. They may pick a more popular person to send to training and where will you be. You must be prepared to get the desired or needed training on your own and often on your own dime if necessary. I have done this all my life and career and until a few years ago I never really gave it much thought. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. Often you are preparing for a career change or role change that doesn’t exist today. This happened to an ex-employee and close friend of mine. He had volunteered for grant writing, inventory control duties (boring) and other projects that most would not volunteer for. A brief number of years later I found a position that would fit him perfectly; that he not only did not know was available, but he would not have been looking for. He agreed to apply for the position. He was selected out of all the candidates and now has nearly doubled his salary. He is the director for a growing nonprofit organization. He is heralded by the board of directors as an excellent Executive Director. By the way, this organization had 7 seven directors in 7 seven years. He is the first male director and the first director to last more than 12 months. Let me give you this disclaimer; I am not saying anything negative about female directors, I am just pointing out he was the first male director-that is all. So always be mindful that volunteering to take on NEW roles may pay dividends in the future. A future not yet visible to you now. I know this very well myself because after 20 twenty years as cop I became a Chief Of Police, a Chief of Field Operations, and later a Vice President of Sales and Marketing and finally I now own my own Employee Training and Business Consulting Company. Several of these roles did not even appear on my radar in advance.
5. Leadership Development – It is positive connotation to be called a leader isn’t it? But always keep in mind that there are two types of leaders. The GOOD LEADERS and the BAD LEADERS. David Koresh, Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein were all leaders, but they were not the kind of leaders you should model yourself after if you wish to be successful in the long term. First, leadership requires reciprocal trust from you to others and from others to you. Think of leadership like building a “Trust Bank”, one deposit at a time. If you were to open a bank account today with $100.00 and then tomorrow write a check for $500.00, you would overdraft your account and be seen as a fraud. But let’s say that you had this bank account for several years and then one day you wrote a check that went over the cash you had on deposit. The bank would accept that you are a legitimate customer and that you simply made a mistake. You had built trust with them overtime. Trust is not something that you purchase, acquire or even belongs to you permanently. You must foster trust day in and day out with family, friends, co-workers and sometimes yes, even strangers. So begin today and show proof that you can be trusted.
6. Process Improvement – As soon as you believe the processes in your organization cannot be improved, you are obsolete. Processes can always be tweaked. Even if you don’t see a way to improve them at the time, failing to always be looking for improvement is a major mistake. Processes can always be improved upon. Sometimes a set of new eyes looking at an issue can help. You may even need to let someone outside the department, or even outside the organization ask questions to those close to the issues. These questions might even spark more ideas. Some processes can even be determined to be obsolete themselves. We found once for example in an organization that we were doing 3 forms when only one form was necessary. Wow, a big reduction in work load just by someone asking the right questions. Oftentimes we do what we do because that is what we have always done. Does this sound familiar? Consider this scenario and I will move on; a daughter asked her mother why they always cut off the ends of the ham before she cooked it. Her mother replied; that’s what my mother did. She then asked her grandmother why she cut off the ends of the ham. Her grandmother said; I don’t know why your mother does it, but I did it because my oven was too small to fit the entire ham, so I had to cut off the ends to make it fit. Seems to me a whole lot of ham has gone to waste because no one asked the right questions or was afraid to ask any questions at all. What do you think?
7. Coaching and Support – Coaching and support requires follow-through and follow-up. There are some questions you must ask about each and every one of your employees. First, is the employee a good person? Second, does the employee usually do a good job? If the answer to both questions is yes and the employee is currently having a performance problem then you have a coaching concern-not a discipline problem. If the answer to one of the questions is no, then you have a discipline concern. If the answer to both questions is no-then you have a discipline concern up to and including resignation or termination. Let me also say that to determine these answers you must have spent some time around your employees. You could not successfully answer these questions if you have no personal knowledge of your employees.
Here are few final thoughts; If you are the CEO, you are the “Head Coach” in your organization, like it or not. If you don’t like it, then find someone else who will coach for you. Coaching will have to occur if you want to take your organization from the “Status-Quo”, (surviving) to “High Performance” (thriving). Over 90 percent of organizations are in the status-quo or survival mode. They may be surviving but they will never thrive through High Performance without following these 7 tips. Now go coach your employees or find someone who will.
Sam Slay is a Motivational Speaker, Author, and Trainer with over 20 years experience. For more information on “Bridging the gap that exists between employees and their employers through non-traditional training and coaching.” Visit http://www.357Solutions.com Sam can bring his programs to you. You can even get FREE seats or cash by hosting one of his programs. You can purchase his NEW book “The Masters of Success” co-authored with Ken Blanchard (Author of the “One Minute Manager”). Sam is also the owner of an Employee Training and Business Consulting company, 357 Solutions, LLC. Consider inviting Sam to speak or provide training at your next event. He is only an e-mail or phone call away. He travels from Panama City, Bay County, Florida. Would you like to have your own micro-site and business referral membership? Visit: http://www.WorkJockey.com