Crack The Behavior Code
Love 'Em or Lose 'Em
Season 4, Ep. 20
What happens when a person leaves? Do you know it in advance? In a prior blog I wrote about the often unknown reasons that blindside employers when a rock star quits. Today, let’s look at taking a more proactive approach: checking in on what it’ll take to keep your stars at your organization.Great people are hard to find. And can be harder to keep. I recently came across a terrific book, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay, by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans. I highly recommend it.As a leadership and culture coach I very often work through personnel matters. So when I witnessed the clear and concise thinking from Kaye and Jordan-Evans, I knew I had to share it.Why Employees StayKaye and Jordan-Evans surveyed over 17,000 employees to learn what conditions will keep an employee with an organization. They call these conditions “stay factors”. Note that these are neither industry-specific nor role-specific, they are universal.1. Exciting work and challenge2. Career growth, learning, and development3. Working with great people4. Fair pay6. Being recognized, valued, and respected7. Benefits8. Meaningful work and making a difference9. Pride in the organization, its mission, and its product10. Great work environment and cultureInteresting tidbit: 91 percent of survey respondents listed at least one of the first two items among the top reasons they stay. I love that challenge and learning is at the top. This is one reason I harp on Individual Development Plans to our clients!How To Do A Stay InterviewHow to do a Stay Interview? You simply ask the employee. Some leaders fear that discussing this topic will open a proverbial can of worms and get the employee thinking about leaving. I disagree heartily. The employee is already thinking of leaving at times, possibly on hard days, when they feel overwhelmed or discouraged, if they’re experiencing tremendous stress in their personal lives. It’s likely only a fantasy about leaving, but why not simply communicate directly about it? It’s refreshing, builds trust, and shows you care.There’s no ideal time to do a stay interview. The goal is to do it before an employee has one foot out the door. You can do it during a development conversation, when checking in on their development plan, you can do it at year end or at the new year, any time is fine. If you don’t know what their answers might be to the below questions, then it’s time to do now!Recommended “Stay Interview” Questions From Kaye and Jordan-Evans:· What about your job makes you jump out of bed in the morning?· What makes you hit the snooze button?· If you were to win the lottery and resign, what would you miss the most?· What one thing that if changed in your current role, would make you consider moving on?· If you had a magic wand, what would be the one thing you would change about this department?· If you had to go back to a position in your past and stay for an extended period of time, which one would it be and why?· What makes for a great day?· What can we do to make your job more satisfying?· What can we do to support your career goals?· Do you get enough recognition?· What will keep you here? What might entice you away?· What do you want to learn this year? How might you learn it?Be sure to ask “anything else I might have missed?” and use effective listening (ask “what specifically?” and the other questions in the linked blog). And be careful with your responses: don’t dismiss their ideas/input/answers, be curious as to what it’s like to be them. You don’t know, so be an anthropologist studying a fascinating creature. If done this way the interview will deepen connection, loyalty, trust, and ultimately, boost retention.What You Can Do Now1. Implement Individual Development Plans – people need to know they are growing and learning. This helps us feel achievement and empowerment at work—which is key. Keep it simple: have the employee and their leader develop it together. If you make it too complex no one will do it!2. Do regular Employee Engagement surveys so you know how people are feeling.3. Create a Cultural GAME (Growth, Appreciation, Measurement, Engagement) Plan based on the results from your survey in #2 above. Here’s an infographic.4. Give Frequent Bi-Directional Feedback so everyone is connected and clear on what’s working and what they’d like to see more of. Here’s an infographic.The Net-Net· Stay interviews help you understand how your team members are feeling about their work—it’s essential to stop guessing and start knowing what will keep your stars happy· Do stay interviews across your organization as needed, during development conversations is a good timePut the recommended programs place to maintain and grow the good feelings in your organization. Happy = will stay!Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.
Do Your Employees Have Buyer's Remorse?
Season 4, Ep. 18
Unemployment in the USA is now at 3.7%. Great employees are harder to find than ever before—and if you’re hiring, chances are really good that you’re raiding another organization’s rock stars. So once you get great hires on board, you need to keep them. In past blogs I’ve shared proven tools and techniques our clients use to recruit rock stars, to onboard them, to engage them and to identify the signs that they’re considering quitting. Now let’s focus on what’s happening in their brain when the honeymoon phase is over after being a new hire. Honeymoons End—Then Your New Hire “Goes Native” Based on an informal poll of my leadership and culture coaching clients, reality sets in, and the new job honeymoon is over in the first 60-90 days, depending on the role. This is when a new hire, then, is most at risk of buyer’s remorse, of regretting that they accepted a role at your organization. This is also when a new hire has “gone native”—they are now a part of the tribe and no longer have the fresh unbiased perspective of an outsider. Going native isn’t a bad thing—it happens out of our deep need to belong with the tribe we’ve selected. But if the tribe is in a tricky state, buyer’s remorse could become an epidemic. We’ve all seen influencers that leave the tribe—and take some of the top performers with them. Here’s how to prevent this. Six Questions That Reveal Buyer’s Remorse Think back to your dating history. Most of us have met someone we thought was really cool--until we got to know them better. Then disappointment set in because what was advertised, and what was reality, were different. Gallup recently released research on the six questions employers can ask to uncover remorse. The primary finding is that when certain policies are promised, but not honored or followed by the organization’s leaders, remorse sets in. Ask yourself the following questions: #1 - Is flexibility consistent or dependent on the team manager? Per Gallup, 51% of employees say they would change jobs for flextime, and 35% say they would change jobs for a flexible working location. In today’s workplace, flexibility matters. Flexibility for hours worked, location worked from, even flexibility in reporting and collaboration. Is it easy to duck out of work for a personal appointment? Does this apply to everyone in the organization? #2 - Are remote workers treated as equals?Remote workers are 30% less likely to strongly agree that they have discussed their development with their leader in the past six months. Are your remote workers treated the same as your onsite workers? Are they included in development and performance motivation programs? Are they included in recognition programs? Does their leader have the same number of one-on-one meetings with them (via webcam) as with onsite workers? #3 - Do leaders know how to manage in a matrixed environment? Per Gallup, 84% of U.S. employees today participate in matrixed teams. And the biggest challenges for workers are prioritizing work and excessive amounts of time in meetings (up to 1/3 of their day!). How are you helping your workers to prioritize? See a prior blog for a tool on this. See the meetings link above too for a technique our clients love to reduce meetings and those that attend. #4 - Do leaders understand gig workers? Per Gallup's recent gig economy perspective paper, 36% of all U.S. workers participate in a gig work arrangement in some capacity. With freelance workers its essential to ensure they click with your culture quickly. This is where a compelling and clear mission/purpose, vision and set of core values make all the difference. Gig workers must be brought into your tribe quickly and emotionally engage quickly too. And last, as a leader it’s your job to ensure they are welcomed into the team and experience safety, belonging, mattering from the get-go. #5 - Are development programs personalized in a meaningful way? In a past blog on performance motivation and Individual Development Plans (IDPs) I provided a template to ensure your team feels that their growth is important to the organization. Are your leaders helping to co-create IDPs with their workers? Are they then having quarterly or worst case annual development check ins? Are they allocating time for workers to develop? #6 - Are employees offered and encouraged to participate in well-being programs and other benefits? A 2016 Society for Human Resource Management survey found a significant gap between the benefits companies actually offer and the benefits employees think their company offers. Why? I find two reasons in my executive coaching work. One: the onboarding process isn’t effectively communicating the actual benefits, and two: annual benefits summaries are not being offered to refresh everyone’s memory. The Net-Net Buyer’s Remorse occurs when an employee experiences a disconnect and disappointment between what they understood a culture would be and what it actually is. Leaders can tackle and prevent this problem by ensuring the culture is clear, the policies are clear, the above six questions are addressed and the employee experience is consistent. How consistent is your employee experience?
Want More Meaning at Work?
Season 4, Ep. 17
Now more than ever we want to find and feel meaning in our work. And a cornerstone of meaningful work is who we are together, how we show up for one another, how our environment supports this, and how we know we are safe, belong, and matter at work. These prerequisites enable us to expand our identities via our work, and to become a bigger version of ourselves as a result. Does your work environment enable this?Here are 3 ways to create more meaning in your workplace now.1-Your Leaders Create MeaningIt all starts with our leader, with the culture they put in place and continue reinforcing. Let’s unpack this. When we experience trust in our leader Serotonin and Dopamine are released, which makes us feel good because the result is:Oxytocin (a human bonding hormone) levels increase Cortisol (a stress-related hormone) levels decreaseThe result? Increased resilience and emotional agility in stressful times due to trust of our leader, and ultimately trust of our tribe. This then supports self-regulation, which is our ability to manage our emotional state. Self-regulation occurs in our prefrontal cortex and is only possible when we’re in our Smart State - where high engagement, collaboration, communication, innovation reign—versus being in our Critter State where we’re snared in fight/flight/freeze.2-Your Environment Creates MeaningThere are two qualities of an optimal work environment that helps a tribe become and stay agile: an enriched environment and a reliable environment.An enriched environment is an interactive, stimulating environment which leads to increased surface area of brain cells. The result? Team members making more connections, solving problems faster, figuring things out faster and innovating better.Enriched cultures create a more meaningful and purpose-driven workplace. A more meaningful and purpose-driven workplace yields countless benefits:Two Basic Modes For The Human BrainSMARTTRIBES INSTITUTETrust also creates reliable environments. A brain in a more reliable (trust their leader) and enriched (stimulating) environment will have more branches. So the overall team will have more neural branches too. More branches = more surface area = more connections = more positive meaning is made.More positive meaning results in:More fulfillmentMore contributionMore innovationMore loyaltyMore emotional agilityMore retentionMore engagementAnd to boost meaning we turn to a Tribal Identity rich in purpose. This helps us to feel powerful together, understand where we fit in and how to belong to the tribe, gives us shared beliefs, and increases the potency and power of our individual identity (because we belong to such a cool tribe). 3-Tribal Identity Creates MeaningTribal identity is how we describe ourselves. At Google they are Googlers and are collaborative innovators. In the early days of Microsoft the engineers were awarded lab coats for great achievements, as they were seen as brilliant scientists inventing the future. Some sales teams see themselves as cowboys and cowgirls out on the range rounding up customers. Our team at SmartTribes Institute sees themselves as providing Ritz Carlton-level 5 star client service. What is your tribal identity? Is it compelling? Aspirational? Playful? Engaging?In my book Power Your Tribe we talk about a Cultural GAME (Growth, Appreciation, Measurement, Engagement) Plan and how to harness its power to transform your tribe into a highly engaged, thank-God-it’s-Monday group of high performing, healthy, happy people—to make sure your tribal identity sticks.Yet a GAME plan is only as effective as the emotional experience that surrounds it and is reinforced by it. To boost the emotional experience you’ll want to:Bring profound meaning to your workplaceCraft a cultural identity and employee experience rich in trust Use neuroscience-based techniques that will increase human performance, cohesiveness, innovationYou probably have pieces of your Cultural GAME Plan already in place. Now you can craft or edit (if need be) your organization’s tribal identity and reinforce it with your cultural rituals. Note the lab coats above as an example. Fundamental to a solid GAME plan is a foundation of profound meaning.Let’s check in…Profound Meaning check in:Are your mission, vision, values working as well as they could be? Mission - Our emotional (“we believe”) purpose, why we get up in the morningVision - Where we’re going together (aspirational), and why it mattersValues - Who we are/how we behave as we fulfill our Mission and drive toward our Vision—these must be alive, celebrated, modeled by allYou can’t change a person’s values very easily. Which is why we need to recruit for them. Here’s a link to our values-based recruiting process that our clients love.Tribal Identity check in:Does your culture have a clear identity? If so, what is it?Does everyone throughout your organization agree with it and feel inspired by the identity?Does your identity reinforce safety, belonging, mattering?Does your team have high trust and transparency around performance expectations?Tribal Rituals check in:How do your cultural rituals support your identity and values? Are they enough to motivate belonging and mattering? Example: some of our clients have annual mini golf tournaments in the office where each “hole” is a plastic cup for a given value. Once you get the ball in the hole you share with all present who models this value powerfully and how, and how you’d like to model it more powerfully. Another client celebrates the “super powers” of each employee as their tribal identity is of super heroes. Outside of each cubicle or on their Zoom background you see the person’s “super powers”. Now you know who to come to if you want to cultivate yours.Is it safe to fail in your culture? Do you see “failure” as simply feedback as to what didn’t totally work, or is failure condemned?The Net-NetLeaders, environment, shared tribal identity help us create more meaning at workWith more meaning we are more productive, creative, engaged, collaborative, happyAny organization can create more meaning!Let me know how the above helps you create more meaning for your tribe.
Beat Zoom Fatigue in 4 Neuroscience-Savvy Steps
Season 4, Ep. 16
Do you often find yourself drifting off after only a few minutes in a Zoom meeting?Why?Most likely it’s because we’re not emotionally engaged at an optimum level. And when it comes to group meetings, it’s often due to the Ringelmann Effect. Ringelmann proved that there’s an inverse relationship between the size of the group and the size of each group members’ individual contribution. So if we feel we aren’t, or can’t, truly make a difference, why emotionally engage?And if we don’t have “skin in the game” it’s easy to slide into checking our email, web surfing, or planning our weekend.Get The Most From Your Zoom Meetings NowI recently led a full day workshop on Zoom, with super high engagement—actually, it was even higher that I had hoped! When my client gave rave reviews, I realized it was essential that I share what worked.Here’s what I did:1 – Start (And End) With An Emotion Check. Have everyone say how they’re feeling by using the Emotion Wheelgraphic showing a wheel with emotion namesEmotion Wheel, Smart Tribes Institute This will help the meeting leader “read” the room, and address any proverbial elephants or issues up front. When the air is cleared, people can be present instead of ruminating on what is unsaid or being avoided. Remember to use the Meta Model when someone tells you their emotional experience. If they say they’re feeling __(their emotion here)__ ask what specifically they are ____(their emotion here)____about. Never assume you know what a person is feeling, and why! Compare everyone’s emotional states before the meeting and at the end… this will be helpful feedback for moving forward.2- Have A Role For Everyone. This will help you counteract the Ringelmann Effect and keep the oxytocin, dopamine, and serotonin flowing . I had a list of all the leaders in my workshop, the departments they worked in, and their roles. So I could easily call out to individuals and ask their opinion on a given topic, relevant to their expertise. Likewise in a meeting, everyone needs a role. If they don’t have one, why are they present? See the effective meeting process our clients love here to help you clarify:· who needs to be in the meeting, and why. If they can’t add value, they shouldn’t be there· how to time box a meeting for optimal results· how to let everyone feel heard without wasting time· and more!3- 10 Minute Breaks, 10-15 Minute Labs, Frequent Questions Increase Blood Flow To The Decision-Making Center Of The Brain. A 10 minute break every hour will work wonders for engagement. Make sure you ask everyone to get up and move. Give them a question or topic to ponder to keep their prefrontal cortex in visionary/problem-solving mode. Likewise, having people move into breakout rooms to brainstorm solutions or solve problems keeps everyone on their toes. Then their findings are reported out to the larger group when the lab is over. I had 11 labs during 6 hours of content in my workshop. The labs were either solo, large group, 2 person, or teams of 4. Labs were every 10-15 minutes, so everyone knew they had to pay attention.4 – Summarize Topics To Refocus Everyone, Add Due Diligence To Decisions. Since many of us are working from home, distractions like kids and pets will happen. Be sure to recap what was just covered with a quick summary to bring everyone back. Do the same with decisions made, agreements/accountability/follow up items so all understand who owns what post-meeting and when the deadline is. Remember the brain likes specific deadlines with a date and time (Thursday, 4pm) and also watch out for cognitive bias, so your team doesn’t make unrealistic commitments.The Net-Net· Use the above tools to keep the brains of your team engaged during Zoom meetings· Honor the brain by paying attention to breaks and emotions· Engage everyone by ensuring the right people are present and an effective meeting process is followedChristine Comaford is a leadership and culture coach. She hosts the podcast, Crack the Behavior Code, and would love to offer you access to her free mini-course, the Emotional Resilience Mini-Course
3 Common Mistakes That May Be Killing Your Sales
Season 4, Ep. 15
We all want better sales results—so what’s the secret?It lies in the brain, and knowing how to guide our sales people out of their Critter State, where they are overwhelmed, stressed, in fight/flight/freeze, and into their Smart State where they have fresh insights, are ready to tackle the day, are motivated and psyched to succeed.Here are the top 3 reasons you aren’t getting the sales results you want:CLICK TO TWEET1-You Aren’t Asking the Right QuestionsSome of these are harder than others. But you need to ask them. Often, like quarterly at a minimum.What percentage of your sales people are performing at quota?How many stages are in the sales process? What happens at each stage? In which stage(s) do sales get stuck/slow down?What’s your current sales cycle? How long would you like it to be and by when?What percentage of your pipeline do you close? What percentage would you like to and by when?What percentage of sales do you lose to competitors? What are the most common reasons? What percentage would you be willing to tolerate and by when?What are your clients’ and prospective clients’ 5 greatest pain points?What’s your current client retention rate? What would we like it to be and by when?What are your current margins? What would you like them to be and by when?How many qualified leads are generated each month? Through what channels? How many would you like and when?What marketing channels are you currently using (trade shows, direct mail, social, webinars, blogs, infographics, Slide Shares, ads, etc)? Which are most effective?What is the profile of your clients (SBM Trigger, MP Profile, Customer Journey, VAK preference)? How many profiles do we have?2-You Don’t Have Visibility On Progress and PerformanceMany clients ask me for help in streamlining their weekly sales meetings. Here are some effective methods.Weekly Salesperson Status Report – Set a specific date/time that weekly status is due so the Flash Report below is complete. Make it super easy for the salesperson to submit their weekly status, like by editing a Google Doc or some such, and also ensure it is clear that to be on the sales team this is what you require weekly:# new client orders and details ($ amount, product/services, etc.)# new existing client orders and details ($ amount, product/services, etc.)# new prospects and details (expected $ amount, sales stage, next steps)[whatever else you require to track performance and uncover potential problems]Weekly Sales Flash Report – Here’s what to cover each week with the sales team during a group huddle. Be sure to recap on email post-meeting so everyone remembers what was covered.Summary sales activity per salesperson: how many orders at what stage of sales process, total $ per salesperson per stage, total velocity (movement from one stage to the next each week)Winners for the weekly contest (whatever behavior you are currently incenting: new orders, upsells/down sells/cross-sells, specific product/service sales, fastest to report sales status in the CRM, etc.)Weekly CRM Update – Make sure all salespeople know what data needs to be entered in the CRM after each sales call. For example: sales stage movement for the week, notes per call/communication with prospect, proposal info and all sales activity info above. Some clients have their customer service reps do CRM data entry for salespeople as a reward once a certain sales performance level is achieved.Some of our clients like to set up a Google doc or other repository to help celebrate sales people (as well as all other team members). On the doc each employee fills in their section listing what treats (under $200) they’d like to receive for terrific performance. Make this public so all can see and use, and you’ll find leaders have a much easier time providing fun and meaningful incentive gifts.3-Your Compensation System Isn’t WorkingThe below plan is a super simple way to compensate sales people to incent them to:Sell more new businessHand off recurring business to account managementTeam-sell where appropriate and know they’ll be compensatedEdit this, make it your own, and see how well it works for you.Base CommissionNew sales from new clients at x% (see “Levels of sales people” below)Repeat sales from existing clients at y% (shared between sales person and CSR/account manager)Year 2 commission at ½ of y%Year 3 commission at 1/3 of y%Year 4 commission at ¼ of y% (sales person should be out of commission sharing here or sooner) Gross margin expectation at z% — see “Accelerators” section below Levels of sales people:Entry level person and entry level quota of $ __________. Base: $ _____ Model salesperson: [name here]Mid-level person (reaches quota 75%+ of time), has quota of $_________. Base: $ _____ Model salesperson: [name here]Senior level person (reaches quota all the time), has quota of $_________. Base: $ _____ Model salesperson: [name here] Levels of CSRs/Account Managers:Entry level and entry level quota of $__________. Model: [name here]Mid-level (reaches quota 75%+ of time), has quota of $_________. Model: [name here]Senior level (reaches quota all the time), has quota of $_________. Model: [name here]Accelerators2 accelerators on increases in gross sales above quota – at __% over quota gets __% commission, __% over quota gets __% commission2 accelerators on increases in gross margin – at __% over quota gets __% commission, __% over quota gets __% commissionTeam Selling – per saleEffort Allocation must be defined clearly in CRM and entered formally:Partner (shares ½ of all selling work) = 50-50% commission split?Consultant (advisor, stops by client if in town, answers occasional client questions and encourages future communication to be with sales person– gets far less commission but still helpful) = 10-30% ??? of total commission (varies based on specific consultant levels)Doing the above will help get and keep your sales team in their Smart State—which means greater performance, happier people, less stress for you!”
Two Myths About Strategy
Season 4, Ep. 13
Thank you for listening to Crack the Behavior Code.Here is a bonus for you!Get an exclusive look at one of the documents from our Culture and Talent Playbook: https://documentcloud.adobe.com/link/track?uri=urn:aaid:scds:US:a5c5d1b8-15b8-42d2-a4c8-0adbd81d16bd
Season 4, Ep. 12
To learn more about onboarding, click here to visit our Forbes page.Here We Grow!
The Surprising Link Between Customer Experience And Employee Engagement
Season 4, Ep. 11
How would your customers describe their experience with your firm?Please take a moment and rate the Customer Experience (CX) that you believe you deliver:Better than all companies in any industryThe best in our industryConsiderably above average in our industrySlightly above average in our industryAverage for our industrySlightly below average in our industryConsiderably below average in our industryNow, what CX would you like to deliver within 3 years?[Credit: Temkin Group Q1 2017 CX Management Survey]Data: Q1 2017 CX Management Survey of 180 organizations with $500 million or more in annual revenuesAccording to Aimee Lucas, Customer Experience Transformist and VP at Temkin Group, 55% of all the companies surveyed want to be best in their industry or better than all companies in any industry when it comes to the level of CX they deliver they deliver within three years. That’s a big crowd wanting to get into a small, small slot.As Aimee and I caught up at the recent North American Employee Engagement Awards it became crystal clear: it’s time to stress the connection between Employee Engagement (EE) and CX. Now.Customers today have a louder voice (think Yelp and other rating sites), have access to more information on you and your competitors, and as a result expect an increasingly awesome experience. And they should.Meanwhile your competitors are launching new products and services faster than ever before, and are consistently raising the bar on CX. And they should.So what’s an organization to do?Arm yourself with these 3 CX-Boosting Strategies!3 CX-Boosting Strategies1) Become A CX Leader — By Focusing First On EmployeesCX leaders (companies whose CX is significantly better than their competitors) have more engaged employees. Here’s what Temkin Group found:[Credit: Temkin Group Employee Engagement Benchmark Study, 2017]Base: 5,552 U.S. consumers employed in for-profit organizationsHow exactly does engagement work? What happens in the brain when we are engaged?Engagement comes from feeling good, from passion for the company, from meaningful work, from attaching part of one’s identity with their job. And this comes down to some neurotransmitters and a hormone. As leaders when we intentionally help the brains of our employees to generate dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin we create good feelings for the organization. Dopamine (anticipation of reward) and serotonin (feeling good, well-being) and oxytocin (bonding, feeling connected to others) can be created via a number of programs in your Cultural GAME Plan.So how do you become a CX leader and get engaged employees? This is where HR comes in…2) Get HR To Connect EE And CXHR owns the cultural programs, so it’s key that they are first looped into Employee Engagement (EE) so they can help support CX. First a strong mission, vision, values sets the tone for your tribal purpose and code of conduct (oxytocin). Next, acknowledging employees for being models of your values creates social validation (dopamine and serotonin). There are many more ways that you can read about in my many blogs on employee engagement and in #3 below.Next, when HR runs regular SBM Indexes, you can easily diagnose and cure and engagement dis-eases so you can continuously raise your engagement bar. It matters, it’s a reflection of them and what they believe in, who they are, how they show up in the world.According to Temkin Group’s research when HR is significantly involved in CX the organization is 50% more likely to be a CX leader. Wow.Is HR involved in CX at your organization?Credit: [Temkin Group 2016 HR Professionals Survey]Which brings us to the next item to check on our list, specifics for creating EE and CX.3) Clarify Exactly How/Where HR Can Support EE And CXHere are some ways that HR can forge the EE-CX link…Employee communications – rich in safety, belonging, mattering and boosting positive feelingsEmployee training & new hire onboarding – see my blog on how to ensure key emotional touchpoints in the onboarding processPerformance motivation – learn how to create intrinsic motivation in this blogAwards, celebrations, incentives – learn how to celebrate and incent in these blogsEmployee listening programs – learn how to be a better listener in this blogMiddle manager engagement efforts – learn how to engage leaders and the cost of low leader engagement in this blogRecruiting & hiring processes – learn the latest way to recruit with self-revealing questions hereAll of the above examples and blogs will help you keep the brains of your employees in their Smart State, which will in turn help your customers spend more time there too! Smart State = Engaged, Aligned, Tribal, Together.
Right Person, Wrong Role?
Season 4, Ep. 10
People get into the wrong roles for a number of reasons.Perhaps there was a reorganization and the company didn’t want to lose them, so they were reallocated without consultation or training. Maybe they were promoted beyond their capability without a training plan. Or maybe they were hired to do a project that’s now irrelevant and they’ve not been redeployed to produce meaningful results elsewhere. And then there’s our all-time favorite, the Untouchables.Do you have Untouchables? Also, known as Sacred Cows? These are people who were hired because they are related to (or friends with) the CEO or other powerful team members. Even though their performance is sub-par, they get promoted or allowed to stay on for emotional reasons.[Shutterstock]Case Study: Company XCompany X was a tech consulting firm with a $37 million in annual revenue and approximately 270 employees, about two-thirds of whom were consultants. They were tracking at $137,000 in revenue per employee… ouch! The company was run by a married couple, John and Sarah, who initially contacted us about perfecting their sales process. They felt that their salespeople could be performing much better. What we found was a much bigger issue.Assess: What We FoundThe findings were grim: a fear-driven culture with 53% employee turnover each year. Company X did an exceptional job of technical training for new hires, only to see them leave for higher pay within a year.The two owners of the company had virtually opposite Meta Programs, and this was causing chaos. Sarah (Active, Toward, Options, Difference) would proactively start an initiative, rally the troops to move toward the new goal, then jump to the next option/project. John (Reflective, Away, Procedures, Sameness) would want to analyze before launching the new initiative, so he would kill it or block it, minimize exposure, and set up a procedure to handle the proposal through testing, no matter how much or little, the cost associated risk. The resulting chaos was confusing to the team and sending them deep into Critter State.The glaring gap in the consultant’s training curriculum was in sales. Even though their role was heavily client-facing, the consultants weren’t trained in the basic selling skills and had no incentive to do anything but fix technical problems. They also had no interaction with the sales team — which was sequestered in a different area of the building. The consultants were the right people in the right role — but with no support to perform their best.Harry, the new sales manager, had been with the firm for three months. Shortly after hiring Harry, the company had reorganized to close a failing business unit. Sarah and John had moved their niece, Toni, the VP of the failed unit, into a new role as the VP of sales and marketing — wait a sec! What? Did we read that right? Yep, the niece was given one of the most important roles in the firm after killing an entire business unit. Sounds like a sacred cow to me.There were three problems with this scenario:Harry (who now was sales manager) had no sales expertise — his entire background was in Internet marketing)Toni was an experienced sales manager but wasn’t strategic and had no marketing expertiseThe two disliked each other — Toni was threatened by Harry and Harry thought Toni should have been fired for her lackluster leadership of the failed business unitTo make matters even more fun, Toni’s boyfriend, Taylor, had been hired as director of client care. He had solid experience, but a perpetual mocking smirk when interacting with anyone but Toni.Act: What They DidThe first thing we had John and Sarah do was to create a clear and compelling mission, vision, and value statements. This would help everyone know why they were coming to work, and where they were going together, and how they agreed to behave. They posted these statements in the lobby, and the managers worked with smaller teams until everyone was on board.Next, we established Needle Movers together (first for the executive team and later for everyone) in line with the new mission, vision, and values, and radically increased accountability using weekly reporting and the Accountability Equation. We created a reporting process for the sales pipeline and marketing effectiveness metrics and set up an incentive plan for the consultants to source future sales.We also redefined the roles and responsibilities throughout sales and marketing to get the right people in the right roles. Some people were reallocated, and one or two were let go respectfully. Since the company had a history of high employee turnover it was key to minimize Critter State via thoughtful communication.John, Sarah, Toni, and Harry worked on their on key challenges. Toni got the tools to turn her department around. Harry was moved out of sales management and into the right role — marketing — where he is brilliant and a perpetual learner. He still reports to Toni, who now manages the sales team directly. Harry’s initiatives have made Company X top of mind in their target market. Now that John and Sarah communicate more explicitly, they are no longer creating chaos, and Toni and Harry have developed a mutual respect for each other. Taylor had to be let go. He didn’t want to uphold the company values and had burned too many bridges to be salvageable.ROI: What They GotAbout six months into the change process, things got pretty scary. The consultants became resistant and didn’t want to work on internal projects for which they had no billable hours, and John and Sarah almost pulled the plug and reverted to chaos. Instead, they applied energy management tools, worked through their own resistance, recommitted, and held their team accountable to the direction they had chosen together. The results were not all immediate — patterns occasionally resurfaced and to be readdressed — but overall the results have been phenomenal. They zoomed through the $50 million inflection point and are preparing for $100 million. Their employee retention is now normal for their industry, and employee surveys show that engagement and satisfaction continue to improve.