24 Ideas to Create Organizational Loyalty (Part 2)

Last week I posted the first twelve ideas. Was astonished at how quickly readership grew. Here are the remaining twelve. Why not go back to evaluate how many are present in your organization. A bit short? Begin a plan now to increase employee loyalty. That is a win-win proposal.

Share the credit. It isn’t only about you getting the glory. Let employees “shine” in the limelight of their accomplishments: It’s in giving that we receive. It’s is sharing credit that we gain the funds of glory. Great leaders find much pleasure watching someone they’ve mentored succeed. Don’t be a glory hog, it’s not becoming and you’ll just become fat with self-righteousness.

Make communication open, candid and truthful. Don’t keep employees in the dark. Keep secrets scarce: Employees are not mushrooms. They need the light of an open, candid and truthful leader. Share everything you are able to share. Don’t hold anything back except those things that must be kept out of the light of day. The more you can share, they more you will build trust and followship.

Be someone employees want as their leader. Model the behavior you expect of your employees: Don’t do as I do, do what I say isn’t the mantra of a caring leader. Consistency of behavior equals consistency of followship. Be willing to do what you ask others to do for you. Anytime the feelings of employees contradicts that sentiment, you’ve lost your leadership position.

No one appreciates a micromanager. Trust employees will do their work well:If you delegate responsibility, get out of the way and let employees do their tasks. Yes, people will make mistakes. But, it’s impossible and improbable that you can do everything. A leader needs followers and help in bringing vision into reality. Don’t meddle or create murky waters for employees. Give them a clear vision, clear instructions then clear yourself out of the way.

Hire employees with a value system similar to the organization: Leadership needs congruency within the ranks of employees and the focus of the organization. If congruency is missing, the effect weakens the organization. Match and win. It’s the best strategy.

Allow employees to have a life outside of work responsibilities. Balance is beneficial: Leaders must understand employees want a life outside of their work. Yes, there are times when the commitment requires long hours. But, as a whole, give employees time to enjoy their family, engage in social activities and get a break from the pressures and requirements of their career. Balance energizes productivity and desire to succeed and contribute.

Demonstrate integrity with every action you take: If integrity is missing, your leadership is lethal. It will kill everything it touches. This is the # 1 trait of successful leaders, period!

Be willing to stand behind an employee when they need defending: Don’t allow other leaders to needlessly attack your employees. If they are right, defend them to the end. If they made mistakes, admit them, institute corrective action and mentor to avoid a future occurrence. Employees need your support and you should strive to always make that your strategy.

Match employees with a mentor or serve in that capacity yourself when possible: We all need help at one time in our life. In a career, having someone with experience and superior knowledge be there to help, is a critical component. Identify employee skills needing to grow and find someone to help achieve that end. As the leader, don’t miss opportunities to mentor. It feels good and your employees will appreciate you for doing so.

Employees many not necessarily like you but you must earn their respect:There is a professional obligation to develop followship from employees. But, there are times when you will not be the beloved leader. That’s OK so long as you maintain their respect.

Align corporate goals with personal goals: Again the idea of congruency is important. The closer the alignment of corporate to career goals, the happier the employee will be. Seek to find ways to create congruency and you lessen the possibility of creating a casualty.

Address all compensation complaints with truth and respect for employees. Offer fair compensation matching the deed: We all wish to make a decent salary worthy of our contributions. When monies are plentiful, share some of it. When employees see you are generous with compensation across the board, they will appreciate you. Consistency is key on this point.

Well, how did you do? Remember nothing changes if actions remain the same.

24 Ideas to Create Organizational Loyalty (Part 1)

Many people in my generation went to work for an organization with the intent was to stay until retirement. Such loyalty and commitment are no longer part of the workforce culture. Rather, time spent working with an organization is dictated by one of the many factors that create loyalty and/or remove it from the work place. Here are a number of ways loyalty can be infused into your work culture by your managers and leadership teams. How many does your organization have in place?

An appreciation of ideas shared by employees. One of the greatest resources of an organization is the collective brains of people working with you. Be open to their suggestions and ideas. Don’t be dismissive. If you cannot use the idea, share why. Most employees just want to have the opportunity to input their thoughts. Open that door whenever possible.

 Educate everyone about the “big picture” focus of the organization: When employees have no idea why they do their work, loyalty is apt not to grow very well. Let people know how their role fits into the overall success of the organization. The more employees know what is going on, how what they do fits the overall corporate purpose, the more they have the potential to contribute. You never want to close that door.

 Offer training to enhance employee growth and job skills: Learning something new is an opportunity career minded individuals appreciate. Build confidence and competence with focused, specific training initiatives providing employees the opportunities to grow their skills and careers. While I profess my bias for training, I do believe my training opportunities were critical for building a successful careers. I always strived to keep this pathway open to me and those working with me.

 An appreciation for the people that work for your organization. Express and display gratitude they work for you: We all love to be appreciated. When I left the teaching profession for a private sector position, I remember the manager telling me he looked forward to my joining the company even before I went to work for them. That really made an impression on me. Gratitude for a job well done or appreciation of employee contributions are winning strategies every outstanding leader understands and uses.

 Create the “emotional” bond rather than an atmosphere of entitlement: When we connect at an emotional level that becomes the glue keeping people together. In marriages, emotions bond husband and wife. At work, emotional bonds to the culture and atmosphere of the organization and its employees can eliminate or dramatically slow down employees leaving. No one is entitled to have a job. But, emotional ties builds enthusiasm, energy and excitement to be a part of something good.

 Share a genuine compliment whenever appropriate. Generosity and sincerity work well with compliments: Words of appreciation go a long way towards keeping employees happy and productive. Don’t miss an opportunity to express a sincere compliment to a deserving employee or peer. This is not the time for “phony” but it is the time to let people know they’ve done a great job.

 Create a “team” atmosphere: Youngsters participating in athletic events get exposed to teamwork early in life. They come to understand everyone needs to contribute and be given an opportunity to do so. There is no “I” in teamwork. It is a “we” thing! Teams create a synergy that trumps the power of one. Teach people to work together and give them the independence to do just that.

 Respect employees: Aretha Franklin had a hit entitled, R.E.S.P.E.C.T. It’s hard to beat being respectful. Whether one is displaying sound manners or appreciating what others do, respect is an integral part of the process. Lose the respect of employees and you’ve lost the process of leadership. Give respect and it will be reciprocated to you. Respect begets respect!

 Help them achieve something extraordinary: We enjoy being a part of something special. Managers and leaders creating a department or organization that is exemplary, build pride in performance and accomplishments. That creates a special feeling ordinary doesn’t create.

 Whenever possible, give employees a voice regarding organizational decisions: When you involve employees, getting buy-in is a natural outcome of the process. Tap the knowledge base available to you. The ideas employees can offer sometimes exceeds expectations and produces unexpected outcomes. Use people power for sustaining success.

 Be honest, consistent and competent in dealing with employees: Miss using one of these items and you’ve created a hole in your success pattern. Employees want and need, honesty, consistency and competency from their leaders. They want to know what is going on, want to have a predictable leadership style and want to know their leader has the skill set to lead.

 Create a sense of belonging: A leader cannot afford to create an atmosphere where people feel alienated from what is going on. Satisfaction comes from being a part of a process. Create enjoyment, gratitude, dignity and self-respect in the work place and everyone becomes a winner. Few things beat being part of a winning, cohesive atmosphere.

Five Key Responsibilities of a CEO

As the corporate leader, the CEO is the key player driving the direction of the organization. While there are many duties this individual must perform, here are five I’ve found are key to their personal success for “delivering the goods.”

Hire the right talent: Like a successful sports team, the organizational team a CEO puts together will make the difference between success and failure. When the right people are in the right positions, you will win more than you lose. Start the hiring process with identifying outcomes and then match the skill set of employees with the needs of the organization. The closer the match between these two factors, the quicker the organization can move forward.

Understanding what to delegate; what to eliminate from the agenda and who he/she must serve: No one is all knowing and all doing! You cannot do everything needed to make the organization a success, no matter how skilled one is in leadership. As CEO, you can ill afford to not focus on the most critical components—things that drain resources (company and personnel) impacting the bottom line. Determine who can help, share responsibility with them and build a focus to improve deficiencies. Delegation doesn’t relieve you from responsibility but it does free time to concentrate on critical components that create conquest.

Understanding the culture and the impact it is making on organizational behavior / success: The organization plays a more significant role in performance and behavior of an employee than the behavior of employees to each other. Thus, the organizational culture is the most influential entity affecting organizational behavior. Don’t like what people are doing? Why not examine the cultural factors driving their decisions? That search just might be a revelation proving to be a catalyst for greater achievements.

Keeping the focus on people: A great CEO never forgets they are in the people business, not the service or widget manufacturing business. It’s always about the people being the most import asset of the organization. Great leaders don’t forget this fact and concentrate on building the contributions of employees. Leadership expert, John Maxwell, said, There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.

Setting the expectations for everyone within the organization: I often ask leaders I train to think about the worst employee working for them. Normally, identifying this individual is quick. Then I “surprise” them by saying, “That employee represents your lowest tolerance level.” Many leaders, including CEO’s, don’t think about this fact. They prefer to believe it’s the individual behavior that is to blame, not their behavior. Sadly, that premise is false. Leaders must be very clear about the performance expectations of employees. Certainly, those factors can change as the organization changes. But what must always change is a blurred view of expectations by employees.

The Secrets to Getting Promoted and Staying Employed

In today’s fast paced work environment, job security is almost a thing of the past. Downsizing, re-engineering, layoffs, mergers—these trends are re-shaping modern day employment. How then does one survive in this chaotic atmosphere? Here are three tips that can make a difference in your career path and make you a more valuable commodity in the marketplace.

Look around your workplace for a responsibility you can do. It must be something that needs to be done not now being done by anyone. Ask permission to do it or, if possible, do it! This process is so simple; most never grasp the significance it offers. No matter where you work, there are important tasks, when done, will help propel the organization forward in a positive manner. Walk around your department with a pad and pen. Study processes in place and focus your thinking on the missing elements. Ask questions to clarify your thoughts. Then, examine the list and pick the item fitting your skills. Start small and work your way up. It’s important to let your supervisor or manager know what you are doing. Sell the value of your idea and the notion this is something extra you are willing to undertake. This attitude alone will separate you from the masses and make management look at you in a different light. Your challenge here is to find that item in the next week and take action to begin doing it.

Begin a self-improvement program. No matter how well educated you are, school is never out. Every day information changes impact your future. We are clearly in the information age and we must keep up. Today’s learning curve is steep and rapidly climbing. If you don’t strive to learn events moving your industry, your specific career in that industry, and what future trends will affect both, you are creating growth obstacles and increasing the possibility of becoming obsolete. Earl Nightingale maintains if one read one hour a day about their industry and career, within five years that individual could become a national expert in their field. Recent research concluded it takes about 10,000 hours to build an expertise or twenty hours per week for ten years. How much time are you committing to become an expert in your fiend> Additionally, read self-improvement information on such subjects as time-management, relationship building skills, leadership, strategic planning, communication (writing and speaking well), investment strategies, and whatever else interest you. These subjects make you well rounded and increase your value in the marketplace.

Plan your career. Most people get a job, find out what behavior doesn’t “rock the boat” and then proceed to conform to the norm! Conformity has its merits but daring to be different has greater rewards. Don’t be content to settle into a career mapped by someone else. Develop your own game plan. Learn new skills, increase your formal education, and ask questions. Seek to control your destiny rather than being controlled. Once you’ve mastered the skills of your entry-level position, look around for your next step. Determine what skills are needed to advance your career and set about acquiring them. If your current employer doesn’t offer you the options you seek, you must be ready to move on. That’s risky but often necessary for career advancements. By fully doing the activities advocated in the previous paragraph, you greatly lower the risk and greatly raise the possibilities of greater job opportunities coming your way.

Building a successful career should be a well-planned activity. Have you taken the necessary steps to keep yourself employed and advancing? If not, why not?

 

 

Is Your Culture Creating Cash?

“The ‘blanket’ of culture covering an organization can make it a success or a failure.”

One of the most significant factors that dictates your level of productivity, employee engagement and customer service, is the culture established by the organization. In simplistic terms, culture can be defined as the way we do business around here. Thus, it becomes the dominant influence for employee behavior.

Culture can be broken down into (1) Values, (2) Beliefs, (3) Attitudes, (4) Policies (5) Expectations / Commitments and (6) Climate. As a leader, do you have an in-depth understanding of these six components? From my experience as a speaker / trainer for corporate clients, I find values the most significant component. Where there is a congruency of values, it’s easy to develop an outstanding employee and organization. However, when values are incongruent, there is trouble on the horizon.

When hiring employees, look for an alignment of values. Such alignment is paramount for the long-term success of the organization. The closer the values alignment, the better the employee participation. When there is a wide gap, employees either become disillusioned and quit or cause disruptions affecting all facets of the culture.

Corporate values form beliefs. Beliefs create attitudes. Attitudes are the foundation for the development of policies. In turn, expectations / commitments grow out of corporate policies and ultimately are responsible for the type of climate created.

All of the components of culture form institutional habits. Therefore, controlling the habits practiced by employees can lead to a stronger organization. If corporate habits run amuck, the chaos created weakens the organization. Thus successful organizations are willing to do what unsuccessful organizations refuse or cannot do.

Controlling the culture can reduce cost, raise productivity, employee engagement and heighten the commitment to serve customers. Alignment of the cultural components will produce a positive bottom line. Getting the proper alignment means leaders must know what is happening in the organizational culture and be ready to re-align and re-focus employee efforts. This is a situation where ignorance is not bliss but bedlam and disorder and disarray become the diets of the day.

Determining the exact state of your organizational culture takes time, talent and tenacity. Shifting to a winning culture means leaders must remain focused on the important values, beliefs and attitudes present in the workforce. They must be able to determine how their policies are affecting employee performance, corporate efficiency and customer satisfaction. Leaders should clearly define their expectations and commitment to organizational success so there is no misunderstanding by any employee and everyone can be held accountable.

When these “stars” align, profits grow and your culture is now producing cash. Who wouldn’t like that in their organization?

Turn Yourself into a Valued Employee

In today’s volatile work environment, there are days when you just might question if you’ve made the correct career choice or if your chances of surviving another year are good. There are techniques you can use to enhance your position in the workplace and, at the same time, bring a more enjoyable feeling about being there. Look at your workplace and see how many of these ideas you can implement.

Continuously learn new skills. If you still perform at the same skill level you did a year ago, why should you get a raise? Think about that statement as you evaluate your growth in the last year. Determine what you need to learn to strengthen your job security and skills. Enroll in seminars, college courses, or technical school training. Buy books and read about skills that will help you do a better job. Staying fresh with new knowledge makes work interesting and challenging. It also can add security within your company or add to your job skills should you need to seek work elsewhere.

Learn to work well with your boss. The long and short of it is that you must study his or her personality, expectations and approach to work.  The more you learn about what makes your boss “tick,” the greater your chances of promotion and survival. And, the real benefit is you learn to enjoy working with your boss-a real survival skill.

Don’t bring your work to lunch or to your home. I’m sure many of you will disagree on this point. However, we cannot think about work every minute of our day. We need a break to help us relax and rejuvenate our spirit. Don’t eat your sandwich while reading your department report. Put work issues aside and enjoy your nutrition break. When you leave your office or workplace, start thinking about your family and non-work activities. The constant pressure of work issues can build dangerous stress and potentially create serious health issues. Understand that work will still be there in the morning no matter if you take it home with you. When you are at the office, work. When you leave, forget about it. If you knew you only had one hour to live, I don’t believe you’d ask to take one more look at your latest project.

Avoid the “Bitch Pit.” Every workplace has the complainers who never have anything good to say about their boss or the company. They see nothing beneficial in their career or their lives. They don’t enjoy living! A constant diet of this kind of thinking will affect your own attitude. Stay away from people or environments supporting this kind of thinking and talking. Make your workplace friends the kind of people you enjoy being with-the kind of people who brighten a room when they enter, not when they leave. A positive attitude makes for positive events. Chronic complainers cause cancer of the mind-a deadly disease.

Learn to work well with everyone. You are in control of your thinking therefore how you feel about people you interact with is totally under your control. Be a source of strength to those around you both as a friend and as a co-worker. Be someone that can be depended upon to help and cooperate. You never know when the person next to you might become your boss. Establishing yourself as a team player early in your career is a great dividend builder. Why not take another look at individuals in your workplace that you don’t like or know well? Seek ways to build a stronger relationship and watch what happens.

Help build others. If you are in management, why not do all you can to build the skill level of those who work under your supervision? The stronger your team, the stronger you appear to those evaluating your performance. Share knowledge, responsibilities and opportunities to shine. Let all know you have great workers who can be counted upon to do the job. Building others makes you stronger. That’s just the way it works.

Lastly, cultivate your talents. A point I often make when conducting training or keynoting a conference is that we are happiest when we are maximizing our talents and skills. The happiest worker is one who has the opportunity to display their skills. Is there a skill possessed by your workers that is untapped? Look for ways to incorporate these skills into the workplace. Do the same for yourself. This is the best way I know to make your job a happy one.

Everyone needs to engage in constant improvement to avoid career stagnation. Use your skills to turn into a happy employee and, more importantly, a productive one.

Rejuvenate Your Job With a Plan

There is nothing like “January” to make one feel refreshed and motivated to start a new direction. Unfortunately, for many, the January energy fizzles out before the month is over. The big obstacle to change is keeping the momentum going throughout the entire year. Here are some tips to help achieve that outcome and hopefully help you achieve your plan for 2015.

  1.  Start by only listing things you truly want, not faintly desire. Be passionate!
  2. Remember, it’s not the number but the accomplishment that’s important. Limit yourself to less than three items. You can always add a goal once one is achieved.
  3. Be realistic. You can’t go from poverty to prosperity in any area of your life overnight. Change takes time and commitment. Don’t try to change too much too fast.
  4. ID steps you need to accomplish in order to achieve your desires creating small steps rather than gigantic moves. Set short term intermediate goals.
  5. Put your plan in writing and review the list every morning and the last thing before going to bed. You can also create a “picture board” showing how achievement will look to you. Visualization is powerful. Use it to “see” the end results of your effort. Begin with the “end” in mind!
  6. Track your progress and adjust your plan as needed. Remember, it’s about accomplishment, not just effort.
  7. Create a “Victory List” of past accomplishments. Review the list when your will power begins to fade.
  8. Don’t be a quitter or self-talk yourself into giving up because achievement looks too difficult. Remember, you climb Mt. Everest one step at the time.
  9. Be willing to be accountable to yourself, and, if you are comfortable, accountable to someone you trust will help to keep your momentum going. Failure is never an option for those committed to achievement.
  10. Lastly, don’t neglect the spiritual side of the entire enterprise. Pray that you recognize your choice is right and good for you. If it is, pray for a bit of spiritual power to see you through rough moments. There is something comforting when you lean on God for help.

 

What To Do When You Are Out of a Job

I recently received a call from the President of a firm with whom I worked as a consultant for a team building project. After many years in the upper levels of management and at an age where employment is most difficult, his position was eliminated. He was perplexed as to what he might now do. His desire is to continue being productive in the work place but opportunities appeared to be limited.

Unfortunately, this scene is repeated many times each day with men and women of ages much younger than my former client In some cases, there are better or equal opportunities for re-employment. In others, workers struggle to survive. The competitive nature of business has produced a cynical workforce and an insecure future for many workers. It’s a tough world!

What can a productive worker over fifty do when he or she finds themselves out of a job? To help the executive from my former client, I offered the following questions for him to answer. If you find yourself in a similar situation or to be better prepared should this occur in the future, why not go through the exercise of answering these questions. The data generated just might make you see your true value or potential weakness.

  1. What strengths do I bring to prospective employers that would enhance their effectiveness?
  2. Do I want to go in business for myself or do I need to work for someone else?
  3. What do I truly enjoy doing and what fields offer me job opportunities where I would be doing what I truly enjoy? (This can be an entirely new direction)
  4. Examine every facet of your career. List every position you’ve held and what you did in those positions. Search through the list for the most viable skills used during each phase of your career. What industries, businesses, or fields do I qualify to work in? What positions might I hold?
  5. Develop a narrative stating why you would make the ideal employee because you possess those skills. If you wish to become self-employed, why would someone hire a person with your skills?
  6. Can I take my experience and skills to the competition?
  7. How much do I need to work to survive financially? Forty hours per week? Twenty?
  8. Do I have other business experiences, hobbies, skills that would be useful in an entirely new career? What fields would that be?
  9. Is there someone with whom I might partner in a business venture?
  10. Ask a trusted friend what they think you might do.
  11. Make a list of every person you know that might help you find employment. Start working the list.
  12. Do I have the tenacity to make things happen in my life? How is my attitude about myself and the possibilities of finding just the right job at my age?

Desiring to be productive when options appear to be few can be discouraging. But rather than wallowing in your own pity, pick yourself up and check out your value. This exercise just might prove to be the beginning of a whole new adventure in your life.

Managing Your Business in Sluggish Times

What should a business do to recover when profits go south?

  1. Focus on business habits. Habits make us and habits can break us. Are there any “habits” in your business environment that are breaking you?

 

  1. Focus on business practices such as assessing productivity, employee morale, cost laden processes, customer relationships and growing your customer base.

 

  1. Be willing to change. Assess value of all activities and the income potential it brings. Get creative, innovative, committed, persistent and determined to grow your business.

 

  1. Focus on creating a plan of action to provide the right strategy for greater successes.

 

  1. Develop a forgiving attitude. What did you say? Forgive!! Yes, forgive irritating customers, poor performing employees and anyone else you need to forgive. Harboring a non-forgiving attitude is a burden that will plague your ability to perform at your best.

 

It’s Time to Take Charge of Your Life

All personal development is dependent upon your growth as a person. Focus your attention on becoming a much better version of who you are. No matter how much you feel your future is not bright, there is a light of success at the end of the tunnel of despair. No matter how successful you feel, there is always room to stretch out a bit more.

Moving into a new year is exciting and anticipatory of what can happen. Make 2015 the year you maximize your personal growth, income and satisfaction with life.