Part 3 Accountability, Expectations, and Measures of Success Have No Standard
Growing up, my mom was the authority figure in our home. When I was young it seemed to me, she made the rules, determined what was considered success, and had sole discretion over accountability. The first created a consistent standard we all could easily understand, but the last two were not consistently applied or expected. Now, it’s not uncommon for parents to change standards and accountability from one child to the next. Diaper commercials love to compare the choices parents make differently between their first and second baby. Our issues arose the older I became, and the more often I recognized my sisters had the same rules, but were held to different standards, and exceptions were made on whim not reason. Now this went against what my mom was teaching me. I could not let the lack of accountability stand, and at a younger age than most, I began confronting my mom about these deviations. Once I recognized the first I saw inconsistency everywhere. It degraded our relationship, destroyed our ability to communicate with one another, and diminished the trust and respect I needed to feel confident and motivated to be successful by her measure. So I determined my own measure of success, and began working towards goals that had little or nothing to do with previous expectations. I determined how much effort I was willing to spend attending to her priorities. It wasn’t much. If I could get by with less than bare minimum I did. Protecting employees at your company from a similar fate, maintains productivity, reduces turnover, and creates loyalty. Whether an employee has a poor working relationship with their manager, or they have a great working relationship, at some point, and for any reason a new manager may need to step in and have control over that work environment. To continue momentum and growth this new leader should maintain the same messaging about goals and success to the team. It's to be expected personal preferences will change, but how the work should be done, and expectation of colleague and client interactions should remain virtually unchanged. Maintaining this standard ensures goals set previously, and measures of success remain attainable. Clients receive the same service and care, blissfully unaware of the transition. So often, new leaders are promoted or hired with skills that have yet to be tested within the company, and they need guidance to ensure they understand consistency and accountability are their biggest assets when it comes to leading teams to success. Spending the time to communicate expectations, procedures, and standards of accountability for leadership, creates leaders less inclined to define their own. In turn they train their people and their teams to follow and grow under these expectations, and you have gained control of the business culture within your company. Your clients will feel the change in the consistency of message and experience, and the same will ring true for your workforce, bringing growth from referrals, and talent attracted from competing companies. Creating the standard will also make it easier for you to identify those leaders who have taken their own direction, and address it proactively. You can now establish your company as THE leader in your industry! A name synonymous with dedicated and motivated employees providing exactly what you promise. You're protecting the integrity of your business by protecting and creating boundaries that reflect the promise of your company. Employee’s trust you’re motivated for them to succeed with the company, and loyalty grows. Clients who have the opportunity to work with loyal employee’s, become loyal customers who refer others, and these new customers expect same experience. You’ve done the work and can feel confident they will. How sure are you that your clients are receiving the same experience? How much is this inconsistency costing your company in return business? Are you seeing the referrals you expect? How many of your employees have determined their own measures of success in lieu of consistently attainable goals? If the answers to these questions are making you feel a bit queasy, don’t grab the antacid! Call New Era Consulting Solutions and unlock the potential on your payroll!
As children we are taught what it means to be successful. There are few and limited, collectively agreed upon paths that will make a child successful in life — school, sports, and social connections. Success can only be a motivating factor when it is agreed upon. Without that agreement, parents are left motivating with fear, punishment, and guilt. Although these can be successful motivators, it takes a great deal of additional work to gain similar achievement. Individually, we are all still driven to define and achieve success. When we feel there is something in our way, and no ability to remove it, our motivation to achieve that goal will wain, and attention is turned to more achievable goals. Each person at your company has a personal idea of success, including their own idea’s about how your company could help them find more success, and how their department could work together more efficiently. Providing the opportunity to be able to share their idea’s, often helps you determine more people feel the same way, and now those people are also being heard. Sharing idea’s in a positive environment with the intention to enact change, will change your culture for the better, and help you prioritize changes that will have significant impact, create built in buy-in, and establish accountability. When there is no space for people to express how they would change the daily processes to improve their mood, motivation, and increase productivity at work, they begin to express them in culture crushing fashion. As complaints, frustration, and discontent grow, motivation is directed towards personal goals or professional gain, but not productivity and success. Now managers are left to motivate with fear, guilt, faux competition, food, or favors. Without a system to address these roadblocks to personal success in a productive way, you effectively and systematically decreased the productivity of your company. Poor employees do not create solutions. Only employees invested in their own success and the success of the company would identify an issue, and search to create a solution. If it is never addressed, you undervalue your employee’s experience and their expertise within their own position at the company. Feeling undervalued is the main reason people decide to go job hunting, or respond seriously to the recruiters who have been contacting them. Trust in the people doing the work for you. Expecting that people share their obstacles and adaptations, for the greater good, and to aid the evolution of your company, will see it evolve faster, in ways that increase productivity, and growth. Creating a system and space for these conversations can seem daunting and tedious, but asking an expert to take it on can make it easier. Schedule a commitment free 30 Min conversation about your needs and I will share my best tips to get the ball rolling. When I speak with groups of people who are in the same position or working in the same department there are alway similarities in grievances. Even across different companies, employees have similar problems, and people who are working in a system that corrects the issue, are eager to share and express their relief. It is important the leaders in your company are listening to what their teams are saying would make their lives better, and bringing these to you with possible solutions. The true beauty of a successful business is all the work does not have to be done by one person to be done well, and a world of freedom opens up when you begin to integrate every employee in the creative solution work as well. People outside a field or process day to day are best at knowing the reason for a process, but the solutions are clearly seen by those doing the work. Their expertise is as valuable to your company as it is to your clients.
I have a very strong bond with my family, I love them, but I thrive beyond the confines of our family environment. The culture of love, kindness, respect, and independence was instilled in me very early, and I still hold myself accountable to these tenants. As I grew and learned to recognize my strengths, talents, and intelligence. Soon, I found my own way of achieving and providing love, kindness, respect, and independence, but there was less and less space for me to express them in my own way. Respect was held above independence in my family, as in many, and so I felt stifled by my inability to act independently, conflict ensued, and I found the first opportunity to leave. I was burned out. When I talk with people, many who are working in different fields at various levels, I often ask, “How do you like what you do, or, how’s work?” I get similar answers. I’d say close to 85% or more of the people respond with, “I really love the people I work with. They make it bearable. Or, "Eh, but I work with really great people.” These answers make it clear that the motivating factor getting most people out of bed and to work in the morning, is their need for a paycheck, and the emotional attachments that they've built with the people they work with. The reason these emotional attachments are so important, becomes more apparent as Americans are working more, and seeing the people that they work with more often than they see their friends and families. Especially as we talk about millennials, who have fewer face to face social connections, their work relationships really do become the first family of their adult life. Regardless of age, employees spend a huge portion of their life at work, so it's increasingly important to them that they enjoy the company of the people they work with. It is far more important than if they enjoy the actual work they do for your company. There is a popular phrase, “People don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers,” but I have met many managers who have strong bonds with their team, but still have high turnover that begins with burnout. Burn out is not a loss of that fire in the belly motivation to achieve, but rather a symptom of deeply motivated people, who feel their achievements are stifled by their work environment. Your company wants fire burning in the bellies of each employee. Your business culture is only as strong as it is maintained, and it is maintained by the intelligence, creativity, and independence of each individual you employ.Once in a while you may have to do a little work to re-ignite the flame, but creating space for independence and creativity will sustain it. Is burn out stalling your momentum? Do your employee’s love who they work with, but still take jobs with your competitors? Would you like to protect, maintain, and develop the talent and expertise within your company? I offer suggestions and solutions in every Free 30 min consultation. Call or click to schedule yours today!
Trust and Respect are two of the most vital connections between your employee’s and your business culture. Their motivation to deliver the experience you expect to your clients, is directly correlated to whether or not they respect your intent. That respect is earned through mutual trust. That trust is built by creating a transparent system of accountability for yourself, your employees, and the leaders within the company to hold the intentions of your culture above personal intention.
Trust is Tested
Trust is tested in every interaction. You begin testing your ability to trust in new hires before you offer the position, by holding them accountable to their resume and its map of their experience. You test their personal accountability by watching their timeliness, ability to maintain their own schedule, adhere to timelines, and work with others. The people you employ are watching you and your decisions with the same critical eye. Testing to see if what speak of with importance is reflected in the actions of your managers and seasoned peers. They are noticing the differences between how they are trained to do the job vs. how it is actually getting done, and deciding if you follow through on your word to hold others accountable. Every new addition to your work team is a new test. By comparing your current action with their memory, your employees are deciding if they can trust you. Without your trust they will never be able to work confidently, creatively, or independently. Without trust their you will never find loyalty.
Building a Culture That Preserves & Creates Trust
The strongest business cultures have process of accountability that preserve trust. These systems of trust provide simple reminders of what the culture goals are and the role each individual plays in maintaining it. Memories create an experience, and shared experience is what maintains a culture. They are processes meant to preserve the respect and human values your business strives to achieve, and ensure managers, supervisors, and executives know there job is not to facilitate productivity, but support those who produce, and be held accountable for the failure, but share the spotlight success. Sharing these expectations and responsibilities with your managers and employees who have asked about becoming managers, will go a long way to help you promote people ready, willing, and prepared to take on the challenge of leading and supporting their teams. Setting these standards for employee’s hoping to become managers helps create shared accountability. Don’t forget your employee’s are always looking for the ways you follow through on your word, so if you say the words, take action and follow through. That is what turns Managers into Leaders! Leaders acquire success!
Let’s Do This!
Do you want to build a system of accountability that preserves and promotes trust? Would you like to develop your managers into leaders? Do you need help repairing trust with your team or leaders within your team? I can help! Click here and schedule your free 30 min consultation!
We can discuss the issues on your mind, and I will be happy to share some tips and tricks to get you started without an obligation to purchase a service.
Did you leave your last team meeting feeling like you had identified plenty of issues, but decided on few or no solutions that worked for everybody? Do you feel like you have created solutions for each of these identified issues, but implementation of the solutions is not consistent? If you answered, Yes, to both of those questions, you’re leading a players conference instead of a team meeting.
Valuing your "Players" and their concerns
A players conference creates a platform for individuals to discuss and address their personal priorities and concerns. They are valuable because, in a group setting you and your “players” can identify themes and reoccurring/common issues. This kind of meeting lets everyone know they are heard and their perspective valuable. They keep the lines of communication open so the members of your team continue to confidently identify problems and proactively seek resolution. Here are some guidelines to keep this kind of meeting productive and valuable to everyone; 1) everyone has the same opportunity to speak. 2) The concerns addressed are business related not emotionally or personally motivated. 3) All concerns are recorded to ensure they are addressed. 4) The facilitator of the meeting stems personal attacks or complaints in the group, but makes time to address these issues privately.
Make your next meeting, a “Team” Meeting!
A team meeting is about getting everyone on the same page, but first you have to turn your “players” into a team. To create a true team, there has to be a common goal equally shared and important to every team member and your business. This can be difficult. As the leader it is your job to identify the unifying goal. Building belief and excitement around achieving this goal creates your team. Creating a successful team is where Business Culture Building comes into play. Successful teams fill positions with people who are confident in the role they must play to help the team reach the defined goal. As a team leader you have to, 1) learn about your team members, 2) recognize their strengths and area’s of opportunity, 3) define & praise how they use their strengths within their role and, 4) facilitate partnerships or mentorships to support the growth of the team as well as the individual. Facilitating partnerships and mentorships within your team rely’s on mutual respect and trust. Don’t miss next months Business Culture First Week Focus: Trust and Respect - Tested and Earned.
In 2015 Merriam Webster Dictionary found that “culture” was the most popular word of the year and, forbes.com published an article titled Culture: Why It’s The Hottest Topic In Business Today in which Josh Bersin discusses the importance of a winning culture to attracting the best talent. The article sites different software and programs businesses across the world have begun to use, hoping to improve their culture, drive growth, increase employee retention, and attract the most talented candidates to open positions. From employee engagement to workspace remodels, there is a shift happening, and it is based on the idea that building a winning business culture is the best way to create sustainable growth and success for any business. STOP! If you already feel like you’re in the weeds trying to understand what your business culture is or how to change it, you are not alone. Business culture is created by; 1) how clients feel and speak about their experience doing business with you, 2) how your employee’s feel about coming to work, 3) How they treat one another at work, 4) how motivated they are to do the work and, 5) how they speak about working for you. In short, Business Culture is the Humanity of your business. The People of Your Business Are The Business Culture. So…
Building a successful and winning culture requires you to create a work environment that supports your mission while building teams of independent, confident, and reliable people. This work environment has to stretch from the daily operations at the top of the corporate ladder, to the entry level new hire orientation.
Here’s the trick! It has to be established first from the top with transparent standards and accountability. If the leadership is only implementing standards within their teams to create a culture, it will lead to the burn out of your best employees. They have to be living and breathing the culture across their level of leadership, experiencing how it is adapted across departments, finding area’s where a standard is muddied by missing accountability, and actively create solutions in real time.
“How do I do that,” you may ask? Stay tuned for next months Business Culture: First Week Focus where I will be sharing how you can change the conversation at your next meeting, and create valuable partnerships within the group, turning your “players conference” into a “team meeting.”
Laura Wood loves creating teams out of a group of strangers! Enjoy her tips a tricks to building a culture that inspires your team to bring their best to work everyday!
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