3 Requirements for High Employee Engagement

Sustainable Engagement

Are your people really engaged in their work or not?  What does current research tell us? What are the implications of the results?

Falling levels of engagement are leading indicators that your business is likely to experience a fall in productivity, a decline in customer service, and increasing rates of absenteeism and employee turnover.

Disengagement, in all its forms, is a real risk to the organization’s productivity and performance. This is especially important in increasing competitive and volatile times, especially as organizations downsize with reduced workforces having to do more with less.

The 3 Elements of Sustainable Engagement

Tower Watson describes sustainable engagement describes the intensity of employees’ connection to their organization, based on three core elements:

  • The extent of employees’ discretionary effort committed to achieving work goals (being engaged)
  • An environment that supports productivity in multiple ways (being enabled)
  • A work experience that promotes well-being (feeling energized)

Traditional engagement

  • Belief in company goals and objectives
  • Emotional connection (pride, would recommend employer)
  • Willingness to give extra effort to support success

Enablement

  • Freedom from obstacles to success at work
  • Availability of resources to perform well
  • Ability to meet work challenges effectively

Energy

  • Ability to maintain energy at work
  • Supportive social environment
  • Feelings of enthusiasm/accomplishment at work

How Engaged are You & Your Team?

A study by Towers Watson in 2012 shows that only one in three employees are highly engaged – the rest are unsupported, detached or disengaged.  These types of engagement and whether people in each category are engaged, enabled or energized is shown below.

Types of Engagement & Attributes Mix

Types of Engagement & Attributes Mix

Global Levels of Engagement (Tower Watson, 2012)

2012 Global Levels of Engagement On average, only one in three of your employees are engaged – the rest are not sustainably engaged.

About one in five is engaged but lack the necessary support to perform and/or a feeling of achievement and support at work.

Nearly one in five is detached – they have the support they need to perform, and the feeling of achievement and energy, but they are not aligned and engaged with their work.

One in four is disengaged – they are not engaged, energized or enabled in their work.  As such they are unhappy in their work, and use your business as the means by which to share their unhappiness to other employees, clients and others.

What Does This Mean for Organisations?

Organisations need to take the time and make the effort to understand their people and where the engagement gaps are that need to be addressed.  To help engage people, and to create performance and the realization of the right outcomes and productivity you need to ensure:

  1. You have the right people
  2. Who are using the right tools, who have
  3. Access to the development of the skills and behaviours they need

So what are you going to do, and where can you work first to have the greatest impact?  Your people are your biggest asset not on your balance sheet – so invest in them!

Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

3 Ways to Meet the Faster Pace of Business

It.is not how fast business goes that matters, it is how and if you can keep up!

The pace of doing business is speeding up not slowing down.

Each year the pressure grows on all areas of a business including its people, cash-flow, leadership, innovation, business models, technologies and ability to implementation strategies successfully. This pressure can lead to issues arising across the business that ultimately impact its overall growth and profit potential.

Standing back from all the specific issues stemming from this ‘high pace’ of doing business most can quickly be related back to the in-ability to implement ‘change’ successfully.

So what does a business leader or owner do? What are the strategies that should be implemented to ‘adjust’ the business and its people to this NEW normal environment for doing business?

Here are three strategies that can assist businesses and teams cope with the high pace of doing business:

Strategy 1 – Focus on Micro tasks
Think back to the last planning session you had or project team you were involved in. What was the nature of the strategies / actions that were set? Were they quite broad or were they very specific outlining the steps that need to be taken. Too often planning sessions lead to broad statements such as: ‘Do a marketing plan’, ‘Refine our sales process’ or ‘Fix that problem’ but rarely outline HOW to achieve those outcomes or the micro steps / tasks required. This leads to teams either heading down the wrong paths or not starting to change at all.

The simple solution when you see this occurring is to keep breaking down the broad task into micro tasks that highlight the HOW and the steps required to reach the desired outcome. Try this simple strategy in your next planning session and you instantly see the benefits.

Strategy 2 – Provide just-in-time learning
Sending teams to two day residential training sessions to learn new skills are slowly becoming a thing of the past. There is certainly still a need to hold those types of events in specific situation but 5-7 years ago every training event was a two day off-site with little accountability to the new learning acquired or how it would be implemented. The retention of new learning was thus very low and too often forgotten (until a need arose and the learning had to be acquired again!).

To obtain the skills to address specific issues in this fast paced business world you need to shift the thinking of your people to ‘just-in-time’ learning. This means that as a need arises to address a specific issue (such as understanding the strengths / weakness’ of your competitors as part of a marketing strategy) the focus should be on putting time in your schedule to learn that skill in 30-60 minutes via an online learning platform or quick internal training session and then applying it in the field quickly. The retained learning is much higher with this approach as there is immediately application of the learning. Best of all a solution to the issue is provided straight away to allow momentum to continue with the desired ‘change’ or ‘new strategy’.

Strategy 3 – Capture and track your strategies / actions using innovative technologies
How often have you gone to reflect on a strategy you development months ago and then had to spend hours searching through your emails, journals, files or go and follow-up a team member to get yourself up to speed again with the discussions that occurred and actions that were confirmed. Even if you have a good discipline of having ‘One Page Plans’ operating in your business (and even pasted to your office wall) it can still waste many hours in your day searching for the detailed plans you have developed or putting yourself back in the same ‘head-space’ you were in to reflect on the next steps you should take.

To assist this process and speed up your pace of implementing strategies it’s critical in any modern business to be using the latest cloud technologies / applications to help you track projects and tasks. What are you currently using in your business? Nothing? There are a lot of great, cost-effective options available. The time savings and productivity gains will be felt immediately and free you up to be focusing on the growth and profit of your business.

While these three strategies are not a magic bullet they do help you adapt both you and your teams approach to allow you to implement change much more effectively in this fast-paced business environment.

To assist this process we provide all our clients’ access to GPS-Mindshop Online. GPS-Mindshop Online allows you to capture and track in one location all your strategies, actions and professional development which are only visible by you and your advisor. Your advisor can then provide confidential support and solutions drawn from hundreds of tools, courses and resources within GPS-Mindshop Online.

GPS-Mindshop Online is a fantastic way to help leaders speed up their pace of implementation to give them back valuable time to focus on the growth and profit of their business.

If you would like to discuss how we can assist you implement change more effectively in your business please email us to arrange a call or meeting. In the meantime, check out the overview videos for GPS-Mindshop Online at http://www.business-gps.com.au/gps_videos.

 

Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

How to Change Challenges into Questions to Find Solutions

The power of changing your challenges into questions

Tell me:  “What challenges do you face currently?”

Challenges AheadThis is not a rhetorical question, think about it and spend 5-10 minutes writing them down.  Do this with your colleagues.  As a group defines what your top 3 challenges. Only then read on. It will be worth it.

You now have a list of key challenges.  Look at them.  My money is on that most, if not all, of your challenges, are “out there” and not “in here”.  For example, we have challenges to do with the market, with senior management, our reports, our suppliers, our customer’s etcetera.

Funny that – have you noticed that we are never part of the problem?  If this is not ringing alarm bells for you then it should.  If we see our challenges as external to us then we are admitting two things:

  1. We lack ownership of the challenge and we are prepared to abrogate our responsibility in taking on the challenge, and secondly,
  2. We are adopting a fixed mindset in that it is the external factor that needs to be changed, not us.  As such, it reduces our opportunity to learn and develop from the situation, and to realize the associated benefits.

So how can we turn this around?

Using Questions

Take your top three challenge statements and change them into questions.  This has two powerful and helpful effects:

  1. Asking questions elicits answers – and within those answers are strategies for actually carrying out the work.
  2. Questions inspire thoughts about our intrinsic motivations for successfully meeting the challenge.  As such, intrinsic motivation is more powerful than extrinsic incentives in moving people and driving results or outcomes.

To do this is not as easy as it sounds, and it often takes longer to do than expected as there is a much sharper focus on the issue at hand. It also makes us responsible for the challenge and to identify, develop and implement the solution.

Question-Goals – Identifying Solutions, Not the Problems

Challenge Statement Challenge Question
Difficulty in retaining key skilled staff How can we use the skills of our key people so that they are engaged, challenged and contribute to our business goals?
We have too much to do, and too little to do it with What are our customers’ key needs and how does that affect our priorities?
Difficult to plan in such an uncertain business environment What are our core skills and competencies and how can we employ them effectively in a variety of alternative scenarios?

So, start the year, and continue to review during the year, by looking at your challenges and turning them into questions.  Cascade this approach throughout the business and you may be surprised at the impact!

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The Coaching Matrix – How to Manage Delegated Work

How to Manage Those Delegated To

by Andrew Cooke, Growth & Profit Solutions

This looks at how to assess what are the best ways to manage those doing delegated work.

delegate effectivelyThis follows on from a previous article – The Art of Effective Delegation – which provides a 5-step process for effectively delegating work.

Now you have delegated the work, how can you best manage those to whom you have delegated the work? Different people have different requirements and need to be managed in different ways.

Although the content of the work will vary, there are two key factors which can be assessed for each individual – their enthusiasm to do the work, and their level of skills.  This can be seen in the Coaching Matrix below.

Coaching Matrix for Delegated Work

Coaching Matrix

Assessing each individual for each delegated piece of work allows you to do two things: firstly, to identify the coaching method that will work best for each individual in doing the delegated work and; secondly, to identify what needs to be developed with each individual in order to move them to a position of trust.

The 4 Coaching Methods                               

1.      Supervise – Low Enthusiasm/Low Skill.

Here the individual has low levels of enthusiasm and skills in doing the delegated work.  Here you need to regularly review the work they are done and whether it is up to standard, and find out what motivates them.

2.      Motivate – Low Enthusiasm/High Skill.

The individual has low levels of enthusiasm and a high level of skills in doing the delegated work.  They are able to do the work, but are rather complacent or lazy about doing this.  You need to help them motivate themselves by enabling them to understand how they can benefit from doing so, or by creating peer pressure (e.g. ‘everyone at your level does this’), or having a suitable blend of carrot and stick.

3.      Instruct – High Enthusiasm/Low Skill.

Here the individual has high levels of enthusiasm and low skills in doing the delegated work.  They need to be instructed on how to do the work, this may include pairing them with someone who is skilled in doing this, or taking them through the task into separate stages and reviewing the work with them at each stage and checking their understanding.

4.      Trust – High Enthusiasm/High Skill.

Here the individual has high levels of enthusiasm and high skills in doing the delegated work.  This is the ideal place for a person to do the delegated work to be.  You can leave them to do the job and review once it has been completed, or just have them tell you when the work is done.

The Coaching Matrix for Delegated Work allows you to assess how you can best assist those to whom you have delegated the work, based on their levels of enthusiasm and skills for the work.  People, dependent on the work, will often be in different quadrants – so this helps you customise your approach to help them develop as necessary to get the work done effectively.

Use the worksheet below to help you determine what is needed for whom.

Delegated Work Worksheet

Delegation Worksheet

Remember, delegating effectively allows managers and leaders to free up time; ensure the work is down to the right person at the right level and on-time; helps to develop people and their capabilities, and allows the managers and leaders to focus on what is important – not just what is urgent.

So what are you going to delegate, to whom and how will you coach them to do the work effectively and to grow personally?

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3 Steps for Overcoming Change

70% of all change initiatives changing, why is this and what can we as leaders do about it?

by Andrew Cooke, Growth & Profit Solutions

change resistanceIn business, as leaders and managers, one of the hardest things is to engage others in achieving the business’ goals.

One of the hardest things for leaders and managers to is engage people to willingly work to achieve the business’ goals.

Succeeding in doing this makes all the difference. For the employee, it’s the difference between being micromanaged and being self-motivated. For the organization it’s the difference between passive resistance and energized alignment. And for you, the leader, it’s the difference between frustrating exhaustion and inspired collaboration.

The job of a leader or manager is simple: to influence people. And there’s one defining idea we have in our heads that makes that job harder – we believe that people resist change.

So we do all sorts of things to counter that resistance. We try to motivate or coerce people to change.

But instead of breaking through resistance, we create it. People resist being controlled. And so 70% of all corporate change efforts fail.

Here’s what’s interesting: people freely choose to make major life changes every day. We move, get married, start families, face challenges, learn new technologies, change jobs, and develop new skills. Not all of these changes are smooth. But most of the time we seek those changes ourselves and make them successfully.

So why are people willing to change in one situation and resistant to it in another?

Because people don’t resist change, they resist being changed.

In their personal lives people usually make their own choices. But in organizations they feel coerced. And so they use the only power they have to regain control: resistance.

So how do we avoid or overcome the problem of resistance? The answer is simple – give them control. Let them make decisions. If you offer them two choices and they pick a third you have the opportunity to cede control to them as long as their choice achieves the outcome acceptable to you. Then they own their decision and are happy with it because they made it themselves.

The key is to make it real or you will lose credibility. You have to actually give them some control, while keeping some for yourself, because as a manager, you’re always accountable for the outcome.

So here are the three steps:

  1. Define the outcome you want.
  2. Suggest a path to achieve it.
  3. Allow people to reject your path as long as they choose an alternate route to the same outcome.

By ceding some control, and allowing people to make their own choices, they are motivated and take ownership for achieving the outcomes.  This enables them to actively embrace the change, creating an aligned future for both themselves and business.

Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

How to Retain Future Talent

Keeping top young managers – your future talent pipeline – is hard.  Find out what they are looking for so you can retain them for longer.

You have spent a lot of time, effort, resources and money in getting the best young managers – but are you managing to retain them?Recent research shows that often they are thinking about the next step, even if they seem fully engaged.  Furthermore, it seems that employee-development programs aren’t delivering what is needed to make them want to stay.A survey cited  in HBR found that of young high achievers – 30 years old, on average and with strong academic records, degrees from elite institutions, and international internship experience – found the following:

  • 75% sent out résumés, contacted search firms, and interviewed for jobs at least once a year during their first employment stint;
  • Nearly 95% regularly engaged in related activities such as updating résumés and seeking information on prospective employers
  • On average, they left their companies after 28 months.

So why is this?

When surveyed (see below), the biggest discrepancies found are those that cost the resources and time – namely coaching and mentoring where the largest gaps.  The need for personalized development and support for the high achiever’s professional and personal ambitions are key – especially in the case of a competitive market for these skills, and where a lack of such skills are being cited as one of the biggest barriers to business growth.

The Career-development Gap

Young managers were asked, on a scale of 1 to 5, how important are these items to them and to what extent their employers provided them.

Source: Monika Hamori, Jie Cao, and Burak Koyuncu

Why is there this disconnect? Formal training is costly and can take employees off the job for short periods of time. Employers are understandably reluctant to make big investments in workers who might not stay long. But this creates a vicious circle: Companies won’t train workers because they might leave, and workers leave because they don’t get training. By offering promising young managers a more balanced menu of development opportunities, employers might boost their inclination to stick around.

The reality is if you train them you have better opportunity to retain them for longer.  If you don’t then they may move or, alternatively, they may “quit and stay” – becoming disengaged and impacting others with their negativity.

Business is about people first and foremost.  If people are truly your greatest assets, and you believe it, then you need to invest in them to help them produce a greater return.  Look at how you can help them help you by sourcing a customized approach to coaching, mentoring and developing their leadership, management, and commercial skills to grow your business

How do you develop and nurture your high achievers?  What has worked for you and what has not?

Share your ideas, insights, and experience!  Share the knowledge, share the wealth!

 

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Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.

Don’t Give Advice, Offer Experience

Leaders – Don’t Give Advice When Asked!

How executive coaching can help you in your business

by Andrew Cooke, Growth & Profit Solutions

Advice - at your own riskLeaders and managers often need to give feedback to their teams and staff. Usually it is in the form of advice rather than feedback. Why is this? Advice can be packaged more easily, especially when you are dealing with a sensitive situation and/or individual, rather than feedback which is often perceived as being more critical in its nature. So how can we improve.

The Pixar Story

Virtually everyone knows Pixar , the animation studio that made Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Cars, A Bug’s Life, and which grossed more than $6 billion, and has won 24 Academy Awards. Here is the question for you – how many flops has Pixar produced? The answer is none!

One reason for it is that within Pixar they give brutally honest feedback.

Brutally honest feedback

At Pixar, when a director hits a snag on a film, they immediately call in the “brain trust.” This is a group of brilliant senior filmmakers who come in, look at the film in progress and give brutally honest feedback for about two hours.

Normally this is an uncomfortable process and, at best, only partially effective. But it works for two reasons:

  1. No authority – the “brains trust” has no authority over the person to whom they are giving feedback. It is up to the recipient of the feedback to do something or not. As such they are not under any obligation to take the feedback, and because of that they often do.
  2. No advice – people do not tell others what to do, they don’t offer advice; they offer experience. As such the recipient can learn from others, and can choose what to do or not.

As such, the less authority and power you have the greater the influence you can bring to bear. And the lower the requirement to act on the experience shared, the more likely people are to do so. This creates the opportunity for learning, development and innovation. Counter-intuitive? Yes, but it works. Share your experience – but remember we don’t have to learn from it, but then we probably will!

Click here to find out more about Andrew Cooke and Growth & Profit Solutions.