If we all admit it, we have about seven weeks left of high productivity before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays start to take over our personal and professional lives. We have spent a lot of time over the past few months reviewing what makes elite mental performance possible. The first question of the day is:
What is the most important action you can take over the next seven weeks to finish 2016 strongly and set yourself up for 2017?
Don’t go onto the next part of this blog without answering that question. Answer it with a specifically defined and accountability based action item. It can be too general because generalities are not measurable.
Now, take some time to think, from a position of strength, about those around you. Those that you lead or influence. A person is only able to lead others to the level that he/she has arrived. That is why you needed to answer the first question before you could consider these next questions.
I have not written on this for nearly three years, so it definitely bears review. Those that have worked with me in that timeframe will probably recognize this. For the last couple of decades the Gallup Organization, pioneers in the field of organizational and worksite psychology, has gathered data on employee engagement. (q12.gallup.com) They were studying it before it became an industry buzzword over the last few years. Having passionate and focused (I like those words better than engaged) professionals working with you is a joy. Working in that type of environment allows you to get into the flow of high performance. It produces an energy that is hard to define and marvelous to experience. While had to define in the moment, there are specific characteristics of the worksite that are very definable and measurable. This is what the Gallup Research has shown promotes that type of environment:
1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
10. Do I have a best friend at work?
11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
This information is great and, at the same time, useless, unless applied specifically. To make that happen, let me suggest a couple of approaches.
1. Using Quint Studer’s phrasing regarding quick wins and working with the top 20% of your employees 80% of the time, think about the top three professionals that you supervise. How would they respond to the above questions? Where are the weak links in your culture regarding these questions? What are the areas that you could address rapidly. How are other institutions in your area sizing up in these areas?
2. Regarding those on your staff that aren’t in the top 20% and actually are on the other end of the spectrum. Are there areas from the list that need attention. Are there some that could jump into the mid-range or even the high performer level if these needs were addressed?
In the next two weeks take time to write on these areas. Don’t think that you can answer these solely in your mind. Pencil to paper time. Good thought deserves good documentation so that it provides continuity to new approaches.