Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thank You!

It seems these days my apologies and Thank You's are bed mates. I have a pedigree about me that is in equal parts inspiring and puzzling (from what I gather). Much of my time is met with furrowed brows but most all of my conversations conclude with a faithful nod. Indeed, to love me is to deal with me....so thanks to everyone who has been bold enough to try.

"we're too much a lot alike while all we do is try....carefully" - Tim Delaughter

I will shamefully admit that my greatest moments are spent in a coffee shop at 5am: coffee by my side, head phones on, lap top fired up. It may seem a sad & lonely existence, but it is merely the 2 hours a day that I escape from my perfect life. It is so very hard to welcome people into one's world...and I am responsible for so many of them.

"so let's dim the daylights for the sweethearts that we are...some times I find myself, still lying in your arms" - Ryan Adams  

I've got the greatest wife in the world: as the scoreboard goes, she may have seen the worst of me more often than she's seen me at my best. My father is simply the world's kindest man. My mother has been sick since I was in High School, I'm certain I've seen her at her worst more than either of us would like to admit. My daughter has her mother's skin and my eyes, she has more determination than anyone I have ever met. My son, like his Grandfather, genuinely cares for people in a way I could never fathom. More than anyone, my sister has taught me to become the person I am today, she gets no credit and expects none.

"comes a time when the blind man takes your hand and says, don't you see...?" - Jerry Garcia

I've been a champion, a captain, a president, a king, and so much more....forgive me for ignoring humility, but I consider none of it luck! You see, I've never been afraid to lose nor have I been afraid to be embarrassed and as a result neither has happened very often.

"make me something somebody can use" - John K. Samson 

In my mind there is a rolling credit...the humble ending to a wonderful movie...with the names of all those who have put up with me over the years. The sunset illuminates the beach, the leaves shimmer like tambourines, and we live the story of our lives.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, November 18, 2013

The Heart of Motivation

Are you striving to get closer to success or further from failure?

In the world of workforce motivation there seem to be 2 extreme camps:
1. Those who measure success only by performance metrics
2. Those who believe value contributing behaviors are equally essential success

Year of arrival on earth, organizational department, gender and/or title may play into which of the above mentioned groups one may fall under. There are those who think a job is a job; they get their work done and go home. Are they actively disengaged or simply content to work in their bubble? If we are competing only against ourselves does that make us any less competitive? Do performance results correlate to engagement? If you are a top performer but a terrible workplace citizen does that make you an asset or a liability? Should we look up to star performers based only on their performance metrics? If I am at 80% of my quota (but consistently willing to step outside the realm of my job responsibilities to help others) am I really under-performing?

What if I told you that you could crush your number and still be an admirable co-worker.

Why You Need Positive Reinforcement!
In years past, we've seen rewards and core values dismissed as "fluff". Still today, leaders are posturing that the new generation of workers shouldn't be rewarded for just showing up. However, the rise of corporate citizenship cannot be overlooked. Companies like Zappos and Toms have built their corporate mission on active value-driven participation. Community service is personifying collaborative corporate energy. Charitable contributions are now being given by employees in place of personal accolades. We've discovered that others don't need to lose for us to win. Internal competition is now being looked down upon as fuel for the entitled. Badges of goal attainment are certificates of learning more than trophies.

The premise is simple: you cannot wish to see repeated what you do not recognize!

We now know that our workforce is best served when we are humble in victory and accountable in defeat. We should reward in public and discipline behind closed doors. Rule by intimidation drives away top talent and kills company revenue. Empowering micro-manager's heavy handed tactics only entitles mediocrity.

Results Through Behavior Enhancement!
If we only reward based on statistics, two things happen:
1. The culture is built only on tactical efficiency.
2. Those who we prop up as leaders may not be the best influence on our rising stars.

Performing your job well is your first obligation to your organization. We seem to assume that if we recognize individuals for business critical behaviors they will stop accelerating. Wrong!

That which we do not recognize will not be repeated!

The top performers in most organizations are self-centered. They have to be laser focused on their personal track to success. This tends to make them disengaged co-workers. Too often, those who express the greatest self-focus do a poor job promoting the organization's collective mission.

Sustainable Success
If money is all you have to offer your employees they will leave when a better offer comes along. If your organization promotes something bigger than the individual; employees develop a belief system. You cannot measure belief: it is not a commodity that can be boxed or sold. Belief is a sustainable organic lifeblood that is hard to contract but highly contagious.

If I'm arriving only for a pay check, I will punch-in and punch-out.

If I believe in the cause, my office is everywhere!

Don't Forget to Remember!


Monday, November 11, 2013

The End of the Good Ol' Boys Club

There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, "Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!"
- an excerpt from Aesop's Fable: The Boy Who Cried Wolf

A recent incident of harassment within an NFL organization has brought about consideration of age-old traditions in the workplace. There are those who consider certain rituals a right of passage and others who see no value in maintaining the way things have always been.

The world is changing. People are no longer comfortable with authority for the sake of authority and what has always been is being challenged. Tradition is giving way to innovation. This does not mean loyalty is dead, it means content is king. Information is now so readily available that it can no longer be protected. The silos are burning.

Rule #5 of the New Rules of Engagement: Be Boldly Transparent!

In this day-and-age of social media, privacy is at a premium. Why not act accordingly?

I sat in church last week while the Priest confronted the men in the audience. He posed questions to us to analyze our character. I was able to look him in the eye with great certainty. I'm far from perfect but I'm not hiding anything.

At least 2 NFL players have had a criminal past exposed this season. People have lost their jobs for protecting the entitled behavior of outstanding performers. To allow people special treatment because they possess a divine skill is no longer an option. Performance reviews in organizations are in equal part considering corporate citizenship alongside core skill metrics. Organizations are valuing collaboration over competition. Arrogance is being trumped by humility.

In 2013, I have been part of a speaking series called "HR as a Business Partner". We have discussed strategic organizational initiatives and HR's critical participation in change management. I want to believe that designing strategic programs, innovation strategy, culture building, and social citizenship are key HR directives; but I might be wrong.

Half of the workforce may now be viewed as irrelevant. Will they expose themselves by clinging to tradition? Will the explanation of its always been this way become an excuse for lack of inventive thinking?

While we strive to be a strategic business partner, HR may be spending a great deal of the next decade pondering the legalities of off-boarding workforce veterans. There may be an abundance of organizational psychology needed from Human Resources to battle the swift tide of this workforce succession.

If you are afraid to collaborate, you've never had a good idea!
Have you ever heard the saying, "its not what you know, it's who you know". I hate that saying! We cannot dismiss people's lack of ability simply because we love them.

I had to re-evaluate my professional life when I realized that I could not climb the corporate ladder. The people who were deemed "leaders" looked down upon this because they had backed their way into their titles by doing the safe thing. I lost faith in everything I always wanted......

Stop Protecting Mediocrity!
It does not matter when you were born, what cost center you fall under, or the distinction of your title.

There is 1 simple rule:
Let Your Awesomeness Shine!

There is no intricate performance management system necessary. It is not about who you know. If you are great at what you do you should have greater influence. If your content has no merit you can pretend for the sake of preservation but is that really how you want to represent yourself?

Success is a collective action. There are no winners when spite is the motivator.

Don't Forget to Remember!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Disengagement: I'm Not Buying It!

Gallup released it's "State of the Global Business" report for 2013. The results are unbelievable.

According to Gallup:
    1. Worldwide, only 13% of Employees are Engaged at work. 
2. The Actively Disengaged outnumber the Engaged 2 to 1 in the workplace.

So, if 2 of every 10 of your employees are engaged you are an above average organization?
More people hate their job than those who love it?

Are you willing to accept that? 

...because I'm not!

How Do You Define Engagement?
The concept of Employee Engagement has been tied to Employee Recognition. They are not one-in-the-same. For instance, a plaque in recognition of 20 years of service may loosely be viewed as a benefit but it certainly isn't a strategic engagement tool. In the classes I have facilitated in the HR space this year, Baby Boomers are consistently pushing back on offering programs that afford the "trophy generation" a trophy for just showing up....but, then....isn't a service award the same thing? 

Gallup measures absenteeism (or lack there of) as an engagement metric. Really? Talk about rewarding people for just showing up. There is no such thing as being absent from work. We are working all the time. The problem is that certain organizations are choosing to measure engagement by the wrong metrics.
What's Your Currency?  
Rule #3 of the New Rules of Engagement is: Make Money a Non-Issue. What? We shall not work pro bono....what's in it for me? Guess what, fewer people are asking that question in today's workplace. 

In 2013, more people have used their recognition currency to support charities. More people in this day-and-age attend company sponsored community development events than ever before. A company's competitive advantage is now measured by how collaborative they are. 

Susan Andrews recently explained Citi's Innovation Strategy. This is a person who left the world's most innovative company to work for a bank. Why? Because it's easy to move forward at a forward-thinking company. Those who really want to make a difference take on seemingly insurmountable organizational roadblocks with a sledge hammer and a lot of conviction. 

We cannot create engagement by duplicating best practices. We have to explore and re-align to what will only work at our company. A vendor cannot sell us engagement, we have to create what is genuinely ours and use that as a strategic cultural advantage.
I Like Our Odds!
Engagement is the act of catapulting every employee to Self-Actualization. We don't believe that is possible because we lend too much credence to surveys, pay attention only to the squeaky wheels, buy one-size-fits-all programs from uninventive vendors, and think technology can solve human problems.

I'm not willing to accept 20% engagement as a standard for efficiency! We should all seek to be excellent not average. We should invest in our people by listening to and rewarding their ideas. We should kick down the boardroom door and put our plan on the table.

The professional world is shifting. If we don't change the way we design organizational initiatives (and promote those initiatives to tomorrows rock stars) we will drown on the ship called "Efficiency". Being average is not good enough. We need to stop relying on the turn-key stop gaps and seek to change the world.

We can change the world....one employee at a time!

Don't Forget to Remember!