I’m excited to bring you Dave Willis, one of our thoughtLEADERS instructors, for today’s post on employee engagement. Here’s Dave: If you haven’t already done so, read Mike’s Leadership Principles. I love them all, but my personal favorite is number 7: He Drinks 7Up. Sometimes after reading this story I have visions of legions of managers frantically stocking up their office mini-fridge with all manner of beverages. Jolt Cola for the IT department; Evian for Susan from marketing; Zima for Bob from accounting. (Should you ever happen to be my manager, I like Honest Tea.) But of course, the point of the story isn’t 7Up or Zima. Like many of the Leadership Principles, at its core this story is about engaging your employees. Notice I didn’t say “motivating.” What’s the difference? Engaged employees are “motivated plus.” Let’s define some terms. Engaged employees are: Motivated – they give you their best effort, they help each other out, they find creative ways to solve problems for coworkers and customers Loyal – they stick with you when things get rough, they don’t jump ship the first time someone else offers them a 5% raise Advocates – they tout your products and services to potential customers, and they recommend you as an employer to potential employees. Motivated, loyal advocates. And you can’t have enough of them.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-08-11 08:08:002018-12-21 13:31:14Employee Engagement is More Than Motivation (Part 1)
Life is full of awkward moments: the first kiss, an interview candidate having spinach stuck in their teeth, having your boss catch you leaving the wrong restroom. But one of the most awkward situations you can encounter in business is when someone goes from being a peer to being the boss. There are two sides to that awkward moment too – either you’ve become the boss or your peer has. Usually this occurrence is an unexpected situation. Many organizations are actually wise enough to prevent it from happening exactly because of the weird dynamics such a change can create. Given that it’s unexpected, it prevents all involved from preparing for the impending change (which in turn makes it even more awkward when it happens). Many times such situations are the direct result of a reorganization or the departure of some individuals from the team which creates an immediate need for a fill for that vacancy. There are three situations I’d like to explore: you become the manager, your peer becomes the manager, and you’re the big boss considering creating such a situation within your team.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-08-06 13:06:002018-12-21 13:31:23Awkward! Going from Being a Peer to Being Their Boss
It’s my pleasure to bring you Jack Maher, one of our thoughtLEADERS instructors, for today’s post on Project Leadership. Here’s Jack: Imagine walking into work and being accosted by an excited colleague or manager first thing in the morning. They eagerly say “I need you to do something for me. You gotta get this new consumer oriented e-commerce website up and running, integrated into our back-office systems, and it has to be as reliable as Amazon by Christmas! Did I mention that the vendor says it might not work? Or that the project failed the last time (or two)?” After your shock subsides, you ask yourself the question “Do you need a project manager or a project leader?” What’s the difference and how do you know what you need? Hiring a project manager is tough enough, but if you need a project leader, that’s an even more difficult creature to find. Let’s go on a safari and see if we can find this beast. Project managers are adept at planning, monitoring, and reporting work to be done and completed. Project managers manage the basic three constraints of scope, time and cost. They are masters of metrics and proving value. Some are spectacular at cajoling and prodding project teams to complete assigned tasks on time and at or under budget. The real key to a good project manager is the ability to manage opposing constraints and deliver a planned solution. Unfortunately, a project manager isn’t enough in certain situations. Sometimes you need the mega-PM. You need a project leader.
I recently saw Kung Fu Panda. My expectations were quite low. I mean, a panda that does kung fu? A jackrabbit I could buy… but a panda? Then again I’m a huge Jack Black fan. The biggest and most pleasant surprise though was Master Oogway the turtle (or is it tortoise? I always get those confused). His wisdom was entertaining and enlightening. The best part is, it’s also applicable to everyday leadership and life. There’s a scene where Oogway is dropping some knowledge (as a kung fu master is wont to do). The dude is pretty deep for a turtle. He states “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” I stopped slurping on my white raspberry slushy and thought for a moment “wow, the turtle has a point.” The implications of Oogway’s statement reverberated throughout the cosmos with a thunderous clap. The dude was talking about how we move through life and, more importantly, how we can show up as leaders. Sure, right now you’re thinking that slushy gave me a brain freeze and that’s why this whole turtle/kung fu/leadership notion is so confusing so allow me to explain.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-07-28 08:04:002018-06-21 12:52:06A Leadership Lesson from Kung Fu Panda’s Master Oogway
In our last two sessions together, we explored how “expectations” can create a poisonous environment whereby the numbers dominate rational business decision making. We also covered some of my favorite self-defeating behaviors that can result from such a maniacal focus on the numbers. Unlike a typical critic though, I won’t simply point to a problem and walk away. Instead, I’m obligated to give you some thoughts and tools to help you solve these problems (after all, that’s what we at thoughtLEADERS are all about – real world, practical tools that can make your organization perform better). Business is a marathon. A long painful one but there’s only one goal – making it through that gruelingly long journey. Unfortunately in business, there’s no finish line. I won’t deny it’s easy to lose sight of the goal when the numerical mileposts on the way there take on a life of their own. As an aside, the reason those numbers take on such a huge presence in our lives is because they’re typically directly linked to OUR numbers (read: our paychecks and our bonuses). That close connection to something so incredibly personal makes it difficult to see “the numbers” as simply mile-markers on the way to a strategic objective (which in turn leads to the dumb behaviors outlined in the last post). That said, there are a few ways to mitigate these kinds of problems.
In my last post, I covered the moronic tyranny of expectations. Hopefully it’s apparent how external pressures can get an organization to focus on the wrong thing – the mile marker rather than the destination. Once your organization falls into that trap, you’re sure to see some of the following behaviors (or ones of similar colossal stupidity). These behaviors eventually become part of the culture because by performing them, the organization is simply mortgaging its future to bring forward good performance into the current period. Doing so helps meet near term expectations but then creates an even higher hurdle to meet expectations in the next period. It goes on and on until the organization crashes in a blistering ball of flames and worthless stock options (can you say Worldcom? Enron?). So without further ado, I give you some of my all-time favorite moronic business behaviors guaranteed to help you make your numbers today at the expense of your long term strategy tomorrow:
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-07-17 07:25:002018-12-21 13:32:50Why “Making the Numbers” is Stupid (Part 2 of 3: Ten Stoopid Short-Term Behaviors)
Let me be clear: I’m going to be pretty blasphemous in this post. Then again, I hope you expect nothing less from me. “Making the numbers” is stupid. It’s a crutch for being simple-minded and weak-spined. At worst, it’s a stick to beat people with which invariably leads to suboptimal, nay, outright stupid behavior. It’s one of the surest ways to guarantee you mortgage the future of your business if you allow the deleterious effects of a “make the numbers” mindset take hold. I acknowledge many of you who have responsibility for P&Ls or cost centers are about to have aneurysms right now. Chillax. I’ll ‘splain Lucy… This is too large a topic to adequately cover in a single sitting so I’m breaking it into three digestible posts. And yes, you’ll have to wait for the second and third installments… First we’ll have to look at how we get into this situation where numbers dominate rational business decision making. Second, we’ll explore the perverse behaviors that result. Finally, I’ll offer a few thoughts on how to get off the psychotic hamster wheel of numerical doom.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-07-14 07:10:002018-12-21 13:32:20Why “Making the Numbers” is Stupid (Part 1 of 3: The Tyranny of “Expectations”)
It’s an honor and a privilege to bring you some thoughts from bestselling author Dr. Joseph Michelli (author of The Starbucks Experience) on using distinctive service as a strategic competitive advantage. Enough of me… here’s Joseph. We all know businesses that at one time dominated an industry. Whether it was a company like Polaroid which kept a strangle hold on instantly available pictures or Ford Motor Company with its early market prominence, many great businesses ultimately have struggled to maintain their relevance to the customer. As Mike shared with you in an earlier blog post, he and I attended an NYU/Ritz-Carlton Leadership Training course together. That program, along with an additional year of access to leadership at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, reinforced for me the importance of maintaining a constant focus on the changing wants of the customer. In my just released book, The New Gold Standard – 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, I address this issue of relevance through a business principle I termed “Define and Refine.” Much of the historic success of The Ritz-Carlton can be linked to its well-defined service culture complete with a compact and operational mission statement, a credo card carried by all employees, and daily line-ups reinforcing corporate values for every staff member. Given this tightly defined culture and iconic business status, brand relevance became a major challenge for The Ritz-Carlton.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-07-07 07:07:002013-11-07 15:26:12Joseph Michelli on Distinctive Service and Seeing the Future – Guest Blogger