Archive for accountability

The One Minute Manager—Do You Remember It? Do You Use It?

I was reminded of the classic book yesterday while Skyping with a young manager who trains employees for a multinational Fortune 100 consumer electronics firm in the Washington, D.C., area. She asked me if I’d ever read the book—well yes! We laughed. In 1982 when it was first published!

Hearing this young manager’s perspectives on the book led me to dust off my copy and peruse this forgotten gem. Since reading it nearly 30 years ago, I’ve worked for nine different managers. Which ones were most effective? Which ones elicited the best from their staff? Which ones ran productive, prosperous and happy shops? Yep, it’s the ones who employed the One Minute Management techniques: One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Reprimands. They weren’t the ones who spent their days sequestered in their closed offices not providing any feedback—good or bad.

“The best minute I spend is the one I invest in people.”

Written as a parable told through the eyes of a young manager’s search for the best leadership and management skills, one of the key elements of One Minute Management is MBWA (management by walking around), which was coined by Tom Peters around the same time in his best-selling In Search of Excellence.

“Goals begin behaviors; consequences maintain behaviors.”

Good performance begins with clear goals and expectations. These are set during a One Minute Goals meeting. Here, the manager and the employee agree on goals, write them down and then occasionally review them to ensure that they are being met. Consequences are reviewed too—for positive and negative outcomes. The meetings are longer than one minute, but are short and to the point.

MBWA is critical to techniques two and three. Walking around helps a manager catch someone doing something right and provides the opportunity to give One Minute Praisings. The manager praises the employee on the spot, telling him specifically what he did correctly and how that positively impacts the company’s business. Then, the manager lets the employee savor the moment, and finishes with a handshake.

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”

The third technique is the One Minute Reprimand. Being honest and accountable with those around you involves reprimanding when a wrong has occurred. The first step is to reprimand immediately and specifically. This is the same as the praise technique, and it holds an important aspect of the goals technique: it enables an understanding of goals and responsibilities and how to complete them correctly. It’s critical that following the reprimand, you shake hands and remind the person that it was simply their performance that you did not like—not them as a person. The handshake is important and reinforces that you believe in the person and their abilities.

“People who feel good about themselves, produce good results.”

The One Minute Manager is one of the best selling business books of all time. For nearly 30 years, millions of managers in companies small and large worldwide have benefitted from the simple techniques laid out by authors Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson.

It’s a quick read that lays out simple and easy-to-use basic management skills (that are used less often that you would think). You can differentiate yourself from most managers by actually using them!

If you’re not regularly using these simple techniques, I challenge you to try them out and see what changes with your team. Call or email me for a 30-minute leadership coaching session. Let’s put the One Minute Management techniques to work for you!

What’s so Funny ‘bout Peace, Love and Understanding? Making Cross-functional Teams Succeed.

Have you ever endured a team meeting that went from productive to disastrous? Where the people from the departments that make up the team just didn’t seem to get it? They fought with each other, protected their own departments and were distracted by a bazillion side issues and personal problems? Did you drift off, thinking of Elvis Costello’s plaintive cry, “What’s so funny ‘bout peace, love and understanding?” Does it make you want to go back to the good ol’ days where each department did its job and didn’t have to worry about what was going on in other areas of the organization?

I hope not, because those days are gone and not likely to return. With your organization’s competition re-re-engineering, Six Sigma-ing, TQM-ing and getting even leaner and meaner, now is the time to get your cross-functional teams working better together.

A cross-functional team is made up of at least three people from different functional areas working toward a common goal. This team will have members with different functional experiences and abilities, and who will likely come from different departments within the organization. A team member might even be an external partner. A cross-functional team is typically responsible for all or some segment of a work process that delivers a product or service to a customer who is either external or internal to the organization. The work process requires input from several functional areas, therefore group collaboration is essential. When managed properly cross-functional teams provide flexibility, control and speed, coupled with multi-disciplinary knowledge. In fast-changing markets, cross-functional teams can quickly respond to customer needs.

So what can you do to get a cross-functional team operating at its peak potential? Start by establishing shared values and a common goal. Emphasize collaboration and team rewards. As a team, agree upon how you will operate. How you will communicate and how often? How will you hold each other accountable? How can you best help one another? Effective teams are committed to communication and collaboration as well as constructive conflict. People working on teams also develop mutual accountability for the success or failure of the team’s efforts.

What can you do to be a better team member?

  • Consider things from the point of view of your teammates
  • Think about how your work impacts the work of others on the team
  • Look for input, advice and ideas from others on the team, and don’t push your solutions on others
  • Share ideas freely; don’t be afraid to give away your “secrets”
  • Embrace the diversity of your team
  • Get to know your teammates—what they value, how they like to be recognized, their preferred methods of communication

What if you’re the team leader? Do all of the above PLUS take on more the role of a coach than a traditional manager. You champion ideas, but don’t command. You don’t give orders or assignments, but you rely on the entire team to take part in decision-making. You are not “over” the group, but rather a contributing member of the group. You promote performance and makes sure that the team efforts are in line with the goals of your organization. It is also your responsibility to be the liaison for upper management, suppliers and other outside entities. In a sense, you are the team’s key spokesperson that keeps a clear vision of the team’s goals and promotes activities to obtain those goals.

The return on investment will be increased productivity, creativity and efficiency. The end result will be better because you have developed a product or service that meets the customer’s needs and has the sales associates’ buy in. AND you will have improved quality and innovation because you are getting all the best ideas from everyone. Cheers!

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The Value of Happiness: How Employee Well-Being Drives Profits

Do you have any idea how happy I was to see my January/February 2012 issue of the Harvard Business Review with this cover? “The Value of Happiness: How Employee Well-Being Drives Profits.” My good cheer was palpable. This further confirms all that I have learned about the Science of Happiness at Work and the Performance-Happiness Model.

The issue has several articles that make good points.

The Economics of Well-Being: This article points out how GNP and GDP (which measure wealth by income generated) don’t take into account the unpaid good in society (volunteering, child rearing, etc.) yet do include the paid “bad” such as the money generated by building prisons, paying lawyers for divorces, etc. It talks about metrics like the Human Development Index (we’re 4th after Norway, Australia and the Netherlands) and Human Development, Adjusted for Inequality (we don‘t place). The main gist of the article is about the history of how well-being intersects with economics and what direction it’s headed. Good news: it’s headed toward looking more closely at happiness and quality of life as indicators of wealth. The countries of Bhutan and Great Britain are on the leading edge of that new measurement.

The Science Behind the Smile: Researchers are now measuring happiness and defining what really makes people happy. It’s not what you think. Yes, people who are rich, in a good relationship, actively participating in their church and healthy are happier overall. But events like getting a promotion, a new house or car or acing an exam only create more happiness for about three months. The frequency of positive experiences is more important than the intensity. And at work, what really contributes most to happiness is feeling appropriately challenged—when you’re striving to achieve goals that are ambitious but not out of reach. Managers take note: happier workers are more productive and creative. Years of research on rewards and punishment present a very clear finding: rewards work better.

Creating Sustainable Performance: “If you give your employees the chance to learn and grow, they’ll thrive—and so will your organization.” How do you create an environment where employees feel that they are learning, achieving their potential and contributing to something that matters? Do all of the following:

  • Give them decision-making discretion.
  • Share information.
  • Minimize incivility.
  • Offer performance feedback.

These four tactics work together to create a culture where your employees can thrive. This mindset is contagious. And drives better performance in a sustainable way.

Positive Intelligence: More research shows that when people work with a positive mindset, every business outcome shows improvement. That includes greater productivity, creativity, customer service and sales, and less sick time and turnover. And while we believe that happiness is mainly determined by genetics and environment, there is much that we can do to increase our levels and frequency of happiness. Three activities the author recommends:

  • Develop a habit that trains your brain to be happier (i.e., meditate at your desk for 2 minutes, exercise for 10 minutes, write a positive message to someone in your social support network or write down three things each day that you are grateful for). See my blog on What Went Well for more details on this.
  • Help your coworkers—research shows that people with high levels of social support reap many benefits including better health, more promotions and better customer experiences.
  • Mitigate stress. Although stress is an inevitable part of work and can sometimes enhance your performance, getting stressed out about things outside of your control is harmful. Next time you are feeling overly stressed, make a list of the things that are causing the stress. Separate these stressors into two types: the things you can change and the things you cannot. Then choose one that you can change and take one concrete step toward mitigating that stressor.

I’d like to help you become happier at work. Start by taking a free assessment at http://tinyurl.com/free-Capiche-survey. Then call me for a complimentary coaching session to explore what you can do to increase your happiness at work—and increase your productivity and value to your company.

 

Change Your Business; Transform Your Life in 2012

With the start of the new year, many of us reflect on areas in which we hope to improve, leading us to a more fulfilled life. Perhaps one of these challenges resonates with you.

  • You are a manager who is trying to improve the performance of a struggling employee.
  • You are unhappy at work and wonder if you’re the problem.
  • You supervise a unit that has been downsized; yet you are challenged with increasing profits and productivity – doing more with less.

Consider hiring an executive coach. A coach can help you evoke excellence in yourself and in others. Don’t worry – coaching isn’t prescriptive; it isn’t someone else telling you what to do (you probably get enough of that already!). Coaching helps you tap into your own inner wisdom. It begins with the shared understanding that you are creative, resourceful, and whole. In other words, you aren’t the problem; you are the solution.

Why hire a coach? A coach will:

  • Provide you with someone outside of your office to work with on sensitive work-related issues
  • Help with goal setting
  • Create accountability for your actions
  • Help you measure your progress toward your goal(s)
  • Provide unbiased perspectives
  • Guide you toward balance, fulfillment, and processes necessary to create an environment for your professional and personal success.

If you are wondering if coaching can help you, take our free happiness at work assessment. There may be areas at work where you could use a little boost. (Take the free assessment here to see how you score.) Then, contact me for a free consultation. You can transform your life, increase your profits, and enhance productivity. I look forward to talking with you.

 

Holiday Festivities Showcase Inspiring Leadership

Last week, I was invited to take part in a local client’s holiday festivities (and I mean festivities)! I am so grateful that I could say yes because it gave me a better understanding of why this company is successful.

During this generous and genuine flutter of festivities (dinner theatre at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, followed the next day by fun games, gift-giving and a brunch at the Ashland Springs Hotel), I got an even better picture of this company’s culture and leadership. The attendees included corporate office staff, regional theatre managers and several key advisors/vendors including the company attorney, accountant, Coke rep and me. What an honor for me!

This was a time of great happiness and celebration, with much praise and recognition for the years’ accomplishments along with a strategic vision for 2012. I was impressed with the loyalty and desire to perform that this leader has inspired in his team, with many of them being part of the company longer than 5 years, and some for 10, 15 and 20 years.

This leader inspires his team by leading with his own core values of integrity, loyalty, concern for others, accountability and fun. When he learned about my work with the Science of Happiness at Work and the Performance-Happiness Model, he engaged me to work with the corporate team to increase happiness and productivity. Since then, he’s told me that this work has paid off in various ways. In his words:

“Christine has helped me become a better executive. I’m a better listener and I’m handling stress better by realizing when to let things go that I can’t change. During this time of extraordinary challenges in the entertainment business, Christine has helped us come to a common vision, function as a team and communicate better using a shared language. This has made a difference in bringing organization back into the company,” according to John C. Schweiger, chairman and CEO, Coming Attractions Theatres, Inc.

This is the most gratifying thing I can hear. My mission is to spread the Science of Happiness at Work to the masses, helping businesses and organizations create a competitive advantage while doing the right thing for their workforce. Greater profits and doing the right thing DO go hand in hand. Email or call if you’d like a free consultation on what your organization has to gain in terms of happiness and profits.

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