Monday, June 11, 2012

Meet The Ables

The Ables are not just a family from Oklahoma. They are the functions of what empowers talent in your organization. I was conducting a thorough organizational assessment for a large company recently. One of the organization's leaders explained to me that she did not have the luxury of examining every area of her organization. There is no luxury in Leadership! We have to find time for the things that matter and minimize the priority of those that do not. Every great organization has an engaged culture. Creating and developing an engaged culture is not a turnkey transaction. It takes investigative commitment!

At the very least, every organization needs to meet The Ables:
Are your action items, actionable?
Are your core values, valuable?
Is your culture, engagable?
Are your program initiatives, measurable?

A Meaningful Path to Success
Very often an organization creates an employee recognition program from the top down. A CEO voices his/her opinion of how people want to be rewarded and a program is announced. Employee eye brows might raise when you are telling them how you are going to incent them without gathering their input.

The key to producing successful individuals (and thus furthering organizational success) is creating organizational initiatives applicable to employee preference. Programs designed for employees by employees produce enhanced adoption, engagement, and collective success. Top down programs often only produce lapel pins in desk drawers.

Words on a Wall
Integrity is a word used as a core value of many companies. Decision making rooted in integrity is vital to the success of any individual (and the organization they represent). But, what does integrity really mean? If I tell someone they acted with integrity today, their chest will swell. Teaching someone to qualify decisions at every project milestone develops a tactical skill set.

Core Values are only valuable when we dispel their ominous grandiosity. Organizations need to design initiatives that develop employee skill not just pat them on the back. If strategic organizational harmony is at the core of all employee actions, collaborative success is inevitable.

Too Cool for School
Our employees don't care to be recognized. I have heard those very words from a Vice President. A couple of thoughts:
EVERY employee wants their effort recognized and rewarded ....
ESPECIALLY those who say they don't want to be recognized!

The above mentioned point does reveal that organizational standards created by Abraham Lincoln may not be applicable in today's workforce. Leadership does not have to be a one way street. Directives for success don't have to be created and promoted in top down fashion. Employees want to be part of something bigger than themselves...a collective they helped create. The best recognition company leaders can give their employees is to listen and take action accordingly.

The Danger in Quantifying Human Effort
Show me the ROI...we hear it every day. Executives want to know that if they invest in a program they are going to get their money back. As if to say, I don't care how much you like it, it needs to produce revenue. I want you to take people's lives, make them numbers, and put them in a proposal for me. This request creates a hurricane of salesmanship mired in inconclusive evidence.

Let's simplify the process....

My mom used to want me to eat broccoli and I consistently left it on my plate. Occasionally she would shove it down my throat (not literally) and my night would be ruined. Then one night my mom put the broccoli on the plate and pulled up a bowl of Bearnaise sauce. She told me to dip the broccoli in the sauce. I did, I ate it all, and we enjoyed the rest of the night as a family. Would it have been better to leave the broccoli on the plate and to watch TV in separate rooms as life passed us by?

Your employees can grow to love broccoli. You just have to allow them to choose some sauce to dip it in.

Don't Forget to Remember!



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