Word-Of-the-Week #693: Culture

November 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Culture – the values, practices, and beliefs shared by the members of a group.

Do you work in a positive environment? Do you feel valued and appreciated? Are you inspired and motivated every day?

This week features Doug Claffey and “5 keys to a better workplace.

“What distinguishes a Top Workplace from an average one? The truth is, there’s no single practice, no one-size-fits-all solution for achieving great results. But there are common qualities of success you should be able to identify in every company.

We know from our decade of research it’s not perks or “coolness” that makes the difference. The best employers carefully craft a positive workplace culture. We also know that organizations who make the “Top Workplace” list share a common foundation that supports a healthy culture — and employee engagement. Here are five key lessons:

  • People really are the greatest asset: It goes beyond lip service. It’s a core principle that’s brought to life every day, with leadership putting employees at the center of their thinking. Done right, the feeling is returned: Employees consistently tell us that a sense of appreciation and confidence in leadership are among the most important factors for their workplace satisfaction.
  • Leaders listen: The best leaders listen to the feedback provided by employees both formally and informally. While some leaders might dwell on the inherent risks of giving employees a voice, leaders at Top Workplaces are clued in to their team’s challenges and use this knowledge in decision-making. This builds a sense of commitment and accountability.

  • Everyone is in the loop: It’s difficult to be fully committed if you’re kept in the dark. Employees want to be well-informed. Leaders in Top Workplaces recognize this. They’re committed to sharing information as much — and as often — as they can. And they don’t just share the happy news. Organizations that fail to communicate with staff on a regular basis, substantively, will leave an information void. That gap will be filled quickly with rumors and speculation.
  • Live with a purpose: Employees want to feel their work contributes to something meaningful. Effective leaders deliver an inspiring vision, which the entire team connects with day to day. In 2016, among the top 10 percent of companies we surveyed nationwide, 96 percent of employees reported feeling motivated. Compare that to the bottom 10 percent of organizations (which most closely represent a “typical” workforce), where just 62 percent of employees felt motivated. This 34 percentage-point gap represents a massive drop in productivity. Motivation matters.
  • Build community: Neuroscience teaches us the importance people place on feeling accepted and safe in their “tribe.” It helps them stay focused and contributes to success. In forging productive employee experiences, Top Workplaces care about building community. They hold regular, purposeful events that foster a sense of belonging. That sense of appreciation also keeps employees connected. We see it in the Energage survey comments, like this one from an employee at The Control Group Media Company, Inc.: “We have great teamwork and collaboration, and we help each other be successful.”

The best workplaces always look to improve. After all, it’s a journey, not a destination. Even top-ranked companies will find things to work on in a process of continuous improvement. If done right, employees will know their workplace is special. Employers shouldn’t be shy asking for extra effort in return. Ensure staff remains active in the ongoing success of the organization — with all the necessary accountability. And remember to celebrate along the way”.

Doug Claffey is the chief executive officer of Energage, formerly WorkplaceDynamics.

Culture is the personality of a company. It defines the environment in which employees work. That being said, do you feel you are an asset? Are you kept well-informed? Does management listen? Are you part of a team that helps everyone to be successful?

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Word-Of-the-Week #692: Adaptable

November 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Adaptable – able to adjust readily to different conditions.

How often and how fast do you see company changes? Do you respond to new circumstances and challenges with excitement or hesitation? How flexible are you when it comes to implementing changes?

This is the last part of the Baltimore Sun article by Jeff Haden Inc. Magazine Path to Promotion: What one co-founder looks for when promoting employees” is our feature. He writes:

One of the most common questions that ambitious employees ask their boss — along with “Can I get a raise?” — is “What can I do to get promoted?”

  1. Be self-aware, not selfish.

Self-aware people understand themselves and that helps them understand the people around them. They are more empathetic and accepting of the weaknesses of others because they know how it feels to fail.

They can lead with compassion and kindness because they know how it feels to be treated with disregard, disdain and scorn. They do everything they can to help others reach their goals, because they know how it feels to fall short.

Self-aware people solve for the team, the organization and the customer — not just for themselves. Every organization needs self-aware people in key roles. (What is a key role? Every role.)

  1. Be adaptable, not rigid.

Things constantly change in high-growth companies. Inflexible people grow uncomfortable with too much change and consciously or unconsciously try to slow things down.

Best practices are important. Methodology is important. Guidelines, procedures and policies all can help a business run smoothly.

But anyone can follow guidelines and procedures. Great employees are willing, even eager, to change. Great employees respond to new circumstances and challenges with excitement, not hesitation. Employees willing to adapt tend to advance more quickly because that is what every company needs.

  1. Be a teacher, not a truant officer.

The best people like to teach. They don’t hoard knowledge; they spread it and share what they know.

A truant officer’s job is to make sure people show up. A teacher’s job is to make sure people learn. A teacher helps other people gain experience, wisdom and insight. A teacher willingly and happily gives other people tools they can use.

In the process, a teacher builds teams. And a teacher advances, because a true team builder is a rare gem.

This week’s focus is on being adaptable. How good are you in supporting your co-workers during times of change? How would you rate yourself on compassion and kindness for others? How willing are you to share information and be of help to the team?

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Word-Of-the-Week #691: Long-term

November 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Long-term – seeing the big picture in the long run.

Do the managers and supervisors you work for inspire you? Do you follow their requests because you want to or because you have to? Are you in a position where you truly have influence over the success of the company?

This is Part 2 of the Baltimore Sun article by Jeff Haden Inc. Magazine Path to Promotion: What one co-founder looks for when promoting employees” is our feature. He writes:

One of the most common questions that ambitious employees ask their boss — along with “Can I get a raise?” — is “What can I do to get promoted?”

  1. Focus on execution.

Planning is important, but too many shelves are filled with strategies that were never implemented.

The best employees develop an idea, create a strategy, set up a basic operational plan, then execute, adapt, execute, revise, execute, refine and make great things happen based on what works in practice, not in theory.

Success starts with strategy but ends with execution. Employees who advance are certainly good at planning, but they are awesome at execution.

  1. Think long-term.

Real leadership isn’t short-lived. Real leaders are able to consistently inspire, motivate and make people feel better about themselves than they think they have a right to feel. Real leaders are people you follow not because you have to, but because you want to.

Other people will follow a real leader anywhere. And they’ll follow a real leader forever because she has a knack for making you feel you aren’t actually following — wherever you’re going, you feel like you’re going there together.

Creating that level of respect and trust and that type of bond takes time. Great employees consider not just the short-term but also the long-term, and then act accordingly.

In time, great employees are placed in positions where they can truly influence the success of their company.

  1. Be a volunteer, not a draftee.

The best employees are natural volunteers. They volunteer for extra tasks. They volunteer for responsibility before responsibility is delegated. They volunteer to train or mentor new employees. They offer to help people who need help, and even those who don’t.

Why is that important? Volunteering demonstrates leadership aptitude. Leaders are proactive, and proactive people don’t wait to be told what to do.

Successful employees earn promotions by working harder, just as successful businesses earn higher revenue by delivering greater value, and successful entrepreneurs earn bigger payoffs by working hard well before any potential return is in sight.

Draftees expect to be asked. Draftees expect to be compensated before they will even consider doing more.

This week’s focus is on the long-term. How good are you at planning & execution? Do you have the respect and trust of your management team? How often do you volunteer to take on projects or help your co-workers? Where do you see yourself in the big picture?

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Word-Of-the-Week #690: Promotion

October 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Promotion – being raised to a higher position.

Are you working for a company that you want to stay with? Is your ambition to move up to a higher position? What are you doing to achieve that?

This week is Part 1 of the Baltimore Sun article by Jeff Haden Inc. Magazine Path to Promotion: What one co-founder looks for when promoting employees.”

One of the most common questions that ambitious employees ask their boss — along with “Can I get a raise?” — is “What can I do to get promoted?”

For some bosses, the answer to getting promoted is obvious:

Complete important tasks, gain a certain amount of experience or simply be the next in line. Other people, like HubSpot co-founder Dharmesh Shah, take a different approach. When it comes to getting promoted, Shah focuses on the employee’s attitude.

His reasoning is simple. Attitude informs action. Attitude informs behavior. Attitude is the driving force behind every achievement, accomplishment and success.

Shah’s criteria have validity outside his company. Here’s what he wants to see employees do:

  1. Be a servant of others, not yourself.

People never accomplish anything worthwhile by themselves. That’s why great teammates make everyone around them better.

Great leaders provide the tools, training and culture to help their employees do their jobs better and achieve their own goals.

Great companies serve their customers first; they know that by serving their customers they ultimately serve the interests of their business.

The employee who’s only in it for himself will someday be by himself. The employee in it for others may not get all the limelight, but the right people definitely notice.

  1. Be humble, not arrogant.

Arrogant people think they know everything; humble people are always learning. Humble people ask questions. Humble people ask for help.

Humble people automatically share credit because they instinctively know that every effort, no matter how seemingly individual, is a team effort.

Humble people are willing to take on any job, no matter how menial, because no job is beneath them, and in the process they prove that no job is above them.

  1. Be optimistic, not pessimistic.

Optimists add energy; pessimists drain away energy. Optimists try more things and take more (intelligent) risks simply because they’re focused on what can go right. Pessimists never get started because they’re too busy thinking about what might go wrong.

Best of all, optimism is infectious.

This week’s focus is on promotion. Are you a good team player? Are you willing to take on any job? How would your teammates rate your energy and optimism level?

I LOVE feedback! Join my Facebook community on my FUN-damentals Fan Page.

Word-Of-the-Week #689: Truth

October 19, 2017 by · Comments Off on Word-Of-the-Week #689: Truth 

Truth – sincerity; genuineness; honesty.

How important is it for you to have a solid reputation? Have you ever lied to conceal a mistake? How willing are you to accept the consequences of your actions?

Last week’s WOW spurred finding “Honesty: The Plain and Simple Truthby Frank Sonnenberg. And I am sharing excerpts from his blog.

“What would happen if lying were the norm? Spouses wouldn’t be able to trust one another; leaders wouldn’t be credible; and the news would be meaningless. Everything, and I mean everything, depends on honesty. That’s why it’s so critical to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The truth is . . . we can’t build relationships if we mistrust what friends say; we won’t follow leaders if we mistrust what they do; and we can’t make good decisions if we doubt the accuracy of the information that we receive. Absent truth, instead of taking action, we’d spend our time looking over other people’s shoulders, second-guessing their intent, and unraveling the facts from the falsehoods. The result is that trust is shattered, reputations are damaged, and suspicion rules the day.

So, why do people lie? The reasons are countless. People lie to make themselves look better, steal the credit, cover up poor performance, conceal mistakes, deflect the blame, protect their reputations, and deceive and manipulate people. Regardless of the motive, the ultimate results are the same. As someone once said, “The worst thing about being lied to is knowing you’re not worth the truth.”

Any way you cut it, when people distort the truth, they put their credibility at risk, while lowering their personal standards of honesty. Remember, BIG or small  . . . a lie is a lie. Furthermore, a lie repeated many times doesn’t change the truth. Additionally, one or many believers don’t determine the truth or untruth. There’s no excuse for dishonesty. None. As someone once said, “The truth doesn’t cost anything, but a lie could cost you everything.”

The truth shouldn’t be told only when it’s convenient. Honesty must be a way of life. Honesty means that you care deeply about trust, cherish your relationships, and value the importance of a solid reputation. Honesty means that you try to do your best and are willing to accept the consequences of your actions. Honesty means that you respect others enough to tell them the truth and that you value your opinion of yourself enough to never live a lie. As the saying goes, “It’s simple. Never lie to someone who trusts you, and never trust someone who lies to you.” That’s why it’s critical to always tell the truth — or the truth will tell on you. Honest.”

And boy did that last quote hit home! I don’t trust anyone that I have caught lying. And that lasts forever because you never forget.

This week is all about truth. How easy is it for you to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth? How important is it that people trust you? Have you ever caught anyone telling a lie? And how did that make you feel?

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