Recent studies have revealed that up to 45% of employees are dis-engaged – YIKES! This is both expensive and counterproductive to future success of the company. I believe in 2nd, 3rd and 4th opinions and making informed decisions. I really enjoy looking at things from many different angles, and receiving different perspectives – especially from the people on the front lines. This activity also pulls the team in closer to create conductivity.
So, I would ask you: Are your employees fully engaged and openly contributing? Are you witnessing 100% of their ability? It doesn’t matter if you have 1 employee or 100, these questions are universally important. In fact, the questions are (arguably) more critical to smaller businesses with less room for error and more opportunity to launch into greatness!
I am reading a great book now, called: “Good to Great”, by Jim Collins. It explores the questions of why some companies go from good to GREAT, while others remain stagnant or contract in their business. I have always enjoyed figuring out how things work; motors, electronics, people and businesses, which this book certainly explores. It is a fascinating book that turns many common beliefs upside down and inside out with factual statistical data. I will not dive into this book in full detail here, but I will tell you the few companies that successfully moved from “good to great” had a strong culture of open dialogue with their teams – otherwise known as a culture of condor.
Great companies create a culture that encourages and often demandes, challenging dialogue among their teams. One example in the book discusses how one “great” company had an annual practice of assembling key members of their customer facing teams with leadership to specifically discuss what they were doing wrong and how they could improve to become better (or great).
More importantly: Companies make a significant investment of time, energy, money and brand/culture integration to onboard and embed good people into the company. As Ray Kroc, The Founder of McDonalds, one said: “You’re only as good as the people you hire.” Companies should create a culture to keep good people and enable them to flourish and be the very best performers for the business. If employees do not feel engaged or valued in their opinions, they will leave! Before they leave, they will be dis-engaged, unproductive, inefficient, and potentially toxic to the organization.
So, let’s explore how (3) simple ideals can improve the business (small or large) and create a more cohesive team. I will call this the: Employee Engagement plan
Enlighten, Engage and Empower
People naturally become more interested and engaged when they know where they are going and how they are going to get there. This is true in life; but especially in business. A sustained path to success begins with:
- Shared Vision: What do you want to become? Then the vision takes action, with:
- Mission: What do you need to do to accomplish or fulfil your vision? And:
- Strategy: How will you accomplish the mission?
Many other elements can and should be employed to make this a successful effort, such as determining the core values of the company, which are the do’s and don’ts that guide the team and the company along the journey, and tactic’s: how you allocate resources to achieve goals during the mission. To achieve the best possible, sustained success in a company these ideals should be created ASAP and must be shared. Key members of the team must receive ownership of the ideals. When people understand the Vision, Mission and Strategy of the company, they are far more likely to become engaged and more productive contributors towards these ideals.
Open Dialogue and a true Culture of Candor:
There is a significant difference between asking members of the team “what do you think about my idea?” and challenging them to take an opposing view on the topic to improve upon it. My niece is in her final year of law school. A common exercise for lawyers, in school and licensed, is to take opposing views on legal arguments to prepare to argue the case in a court trial. Exercising this practice can produce amazing and powerful results to improve upon (or in some case throw out) ideas for new initiatives, policies, etc.., (this, of course, must be done in an organized and civilized manner to avoid a company-wide riot). I would, again, argue that this discipline is just as important for a two-man rodeo as it is for a team of 100 people. Engaged people contribute, and when they contribute, they become engaged and more motivated and productive to help the company succeed (period).
When members of the team understand and share in the Vision, Mission and Strategy, they need far less handholding (I would also add Core Values and Goals to this philosophy). With the first exercise accomplished, empowering the (leadership) teams to deliver on the ideals and create success for the company can produce magical results.
Additionally, one practice that I have used successfully in the past, is to empower members of my team to contribute in areas outside of their daily scope of work. This will also help to reveal their hidden talents and professional desires, allowing you to better play to these strengths. An example of this exercise is to provide each member of the team freedom to unplug from their traditional duties for 4 hours a week, to work on individual projects. This was a successful effort and motivated members of my team to contribute and present new concepts for policies, future initiatives, sales promotions, etc… In fact, these employee side projects are how Gmail®, The Sony Playstation®, and The Facebook Like Button®, and many other successful developments were created.
As, John Maxwell once said: “foster a culture that encourages engagement and you will see positive changes”
For more information or questions, please feel free to email me any time at: firstname.lastname@example.org
BIG is a full-service sales and marketing representative and consulting firm dedicated to providing unmatched brand development and global expansion support to our customers in the consumer electronics industry. The company’s goal is simple: deliver exceptional value by exceeding our clients’ expectations in every regard.
BIG was founded by Pete Baker, a dynamic global sales and marketing professional with over 25 years of experience successfully maximizing product sales and driving revenue growth in the custom electronics industry.
Mr. Baker has had numerous successful roles in the industry: Founder of a leading Integration Company, Licensed Low Voltage Technician, System Designer, Programmer, Keynote speaker, CEDIA Subject Matter Expert, guest contributor for a dozen different publications worldwide, International Sales Manager for several CE Brands, and VP of sales for a leading Control System Manufacturer.