Providing a Winning Choice!
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Volume I, July, 2003 Issue
Providing a Winning Choice For Results!
T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S
- Providing a Winning Choice for Results.
- Meeting for Results
- Adopting Your "Team Battle Cry"!
- The Juice Bar
- Reader Meter
- Site News
Providing a Winning Choice for Results
"The only way to enjoy anything in this life, is to earn it first."
One bad apple can spoil the bunch! As a leader, we cannot allow "bad apples" to interupt our efforts toward achieving our goals.
Leaders can quickly lose credibility with their team when we don't quickly address issues that get in the way of the teams mission.
So how do we best address an issue with an employee that we perceive to be a "bad apple"?
First, we self-assess. Remember the three key leadership areas that we must consistently hold ourselves accountable to:
Teach - Have you, as the leader, taken the time to communicate your expectations clearly? Have you taught the employee?
Coach - Have you provided the one-on-one training and coaching to ensure the employee is capable of meeting your expecations?
Expect - Have you witnessed the employee doing that the task, or exhibiting the behavior you expect, so that you know they understand? Have you been consistent in your expectations so that you know that the employee could not have misunderstood?
Assuming you have met the above criteria, then the conversation with the offending employee can be pretty straight forward.
We never said it was going to be easy, but if you've done your job as the leader, the employee simply needs to understand his/her choices.
An effective leader understands the importance of acting quickly and fairly with problem employees.
To ensure fairness, leaders must remove their personal emotions from the professional issue at hand. Leaders must prepare themselves so that the entire discussion focused on two areas:
Stay focused only on Performance and Behavior when working through employee issues. Trust us, your Human Resources Rep. and/or any future Legal Rep., will love you for it.
Let's get clear here, because we just mentioned the possibility of legal consequences ie. someone suing you for wrongful termination. Serious stuff!
Be confident! Terminating someone due to their repeated/specific behavior and/or performance can be reasonably understood by a 12 person jury. Whereas, firing someone because "you just didn't like him/her" can raise doubt about the credibility of the manager.
So one last time. Keep comments (verbal and written) focused solely on Performance and/or Behavior.
Now let's get back to our "bad apple".
How a great leader can present a WINNING CHOICE to a bad apple:
- Communicate clearly your expectations in terms of Performance and Behavior.
- Communicate the rewards of meeting your expectations ie. job security, future opportunity, respect and credibility
- Communicate the consequences of not meeting expectations ie. looking for another role where he/she will find more fulfillment.
- Allow the employee the opportunity to choose his/her own path (one road leads to rewards, the other road leads to new adventures - probably working for someone else)
- Ensure the employee that you will support them in either CHOICE they make - but ultimately, the choice belongs to the employee.
- Confirm that the employee understands your expectations and that you will do your part by supporting them and holding them accountable.
Once you have had this discussion and placed the employee on a "Final Notice", you have truly empowered the employee to create his/her own destiny.
The actions of the employee, in terms of both Performance and Behavior, will soon signal to you their "choice".
Make sure you "support" the employee in whichever path they choose to take. Reward them for their progress, or release them from a situation that neither party is happy with.
Your team will respect you for your fair and decisive leadership. No, it's never easy to let someone go, but it is the right thing to do if that's their "choice".
Meeting for Results
Adopting Your "Team Battle Cry"
At your next staff meeting consider leading your team through the following exercise.
"Our life (and our reality) is what our thoughts make it.
-Marcus Aurelius Antonius
This workshop is focused on getting people to visualize themselves as a lean and mean TEAM-machine! A team working together, maximizing their talents and achieving outstanding results.
Anyone in marketing knows that a slogan or catch-phrase can be extremely important to a company's success.
For instance, when you hear "Just Do It", you think of athletes who are winners and associate that good feeling with Nike; when you hear "Quality is Job #1", you think of a quality automobile that will retain its value, and you associate that with Ford; when you hear the word "mlife", you think about mobility, flexability and personal freedom, and you associate that to AT&T Wireless.
Why not take this proven marketing technique and apply it to your own team?
Think about how the perfect catch-phrase or slogan could quickly benefit your team? What is your team all about? Even more importantly, WHAT WOULD YOUR TEAM LIKE TO BE ALL ABOUT?
Let's think of some words that your team might wish to be about: Sales, Convenience, Service, Leadership, Teamwork, Business Planning, Quality, Wealth Building, Freedom, Conservation and Volunteerism, other?
Whatever your team chooses to be about, help them to identify it in no more than 5 words. Here is a real example of how one team created their "TEAM BATTLE CRY"!
The group consisted of a region manager and five district managers that had 20 direct reports and about 200 employees in the entire region.
The management team felt like in order for them to succeed, it would require all 200+ employees to work together each and every day. After a lot of discussion, they identified their team with this phrase:
"Our Winning Way: Everyone, Everyday!"
Here are a few ways in which they shared their vision with their team, peers and customers:
- Formally introduced their "team battle cry" to all employees via teleconference, or rally.
- Provided each employee with an item or gift with the battle cry imprinted, so each person knew they belonged to this unique team.
- All employees included the phrase on their signature line with every email they sent.
- All formal communications included the battle cry (fax cover page, memos, letters, voice mail messages, etc.)
- Employees were asked to repeat the slogan often at meetings to ensure everyone had memorized it and knew the importance of striving to meet this vision.
So, what is YOUR team all about? Have fun finding out.
The Juice Bar
"A pessimist makes difficulties of his opportunities:
An optimist makes opportunities of his difficulties."
- Harry S. Truman
Not sure how to "juice-up" your next office meeting? Try this and see how easy it is to get your team energized.
Identify a skill that is needed by your workforce in order to complete their job.
For instance, if you are a bank teller, you become proficient at counting cash quickly. If you are a grocery store clerk, you become proficient at bagging groceries or memorizing produce codes to input into the scanners. If you dig ditches, you become proficient at that task, right?
Okay, once you have identified a task that your people have become proficient at, make a challenge to the team by saying that you can do that task faster (with accuracy). Let your team pick their representative, who will compete against you.
Spend time building yourself up as "THE FASTEST" (remember to stress the importance of accuracy). Embellish a little or alot, have fun telling stories of how things were so much more difficult when YOU were doing this task.
Stick your neck out for the sake of your employees seeing you having fun. It's important for your team to see you having fun.
Once the team picks their representative, then determine what the stakes are. Perhaps it is donuts for the staff the next morning? Perhaps it's a round of drinks after work? ("round" is singular, not plural. haha) Maybe it's extra time off with pay? Whatever the prize, make it a Team prize.
That's if THEY win, right? So what if YOU win? Then perhaps you get to increase their goals? Sounds fair doesn't it?
Sidenote to the LEADER: The goal for you here is NOT to win. The goal is for you to LEAD your team in a fun activity that gets them engaged and rooting for their teammate.
Okay, let's just say it - plan on losing. Humility is good for the soul. Make it a two out of three competition if you must show that you are capable of winning. But in the end, award your team for putting their trust in their teammate.
This will be the talk of the office for at least the next week. Guaranteed!
"Man is born to live, not to prepare to live "
- Boris Pasternak
June Was Huge!
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