A recent article from Gallup Management Journal on What Really Drives Financial Success? reminded me how valuable the book First Break All the Rules is for determining strength in the workplace. If you employ five or more employees I strongly recommend you pick up the book or its more recent version 12: The Elements of Great Managing. It reveals the following 12 rules as being critical to having a well engaged and performing workplace:
Patrick Lencioni, Aubrey Daniels and several other human behavior experts and authors have pointed out the value that a well engaged employee base can provide for your business. In fact employees who are excited about their work and the company that employs them perform at a 40% higher rate than the average employee. Sounds like something worth working on doesn’t it? Liz Wiseman’s Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter suggests leaders can increase their subordinates’ performance. Gallup research has found that organizations with more than four engaged employees for every one actively disengaged employee saw 2.6 times more growth in earnings per share than did organizations with a ratio of slightly less than one engaged worker for every one actively disengaged worker.
A year ago one of my clients, an attorney in California, informed me of the success his daily huddles were having and the reporting that has transformed his staff from underperforming to exceeding his expectations. One of his people developed an Excel spreadsheet that quantifies their billable hours on a daily and weekly basis. Each day the staff reports on how many billable hours they worked the previous day as well as how far they are toward reaching their performance levels for the week. The result - unprecedented improvement. At the time what had been a company concerned about its economic future and cash flow turned into a company that is growing and focused on its future.
Ralph C. Stayer & James Belasco, in Flight of the Buffalo, said it best, “Do the people in your company know how well they’ve done before they go home every night? People perform what they measure – help the performers to measure the “right” stuff."
Remember Pearson’s Law? "When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates." Roger Vorhies of Schaus Vorhies Construction recently told me that if I ever needed a testimonial for this principle he’d be glad to speak to anyone. He seen the dramatic impact measurement have on his staff and work environment.
"The good thing about engagement right now is that it's one of the few things employees and managers can influence," says Tom Rath, global practice leader and coauthor of Strengths Based Leadership. "We can't necessarily control pay or job cuts or workflow. Engagement is one of the only things that a manager can influence, and it's also one of the best ways to increase productivity and profitability."
You can choose any of the Q12 [Gallup’s hook for these 12 engagement questions] and begin to work on them to improve engagement and the strength of your workplace.
The reality to do so requires discipline. The kind of strategic discipline that means determining priorities, developing metrics and establishing meaningful meeting rhythms. How important is discipline to your success? We’ll examine fundamental principles of discipline from Good to Great in my next blog.