The 3 Deadly Sins of Poor Leadership: Part 3

bad-customer-service-2

In previous postings I began a series on the sins of poor leadership. The first article,  Part 1,  focused on not moving fast enough to replace poor performers, either for performance or behavioural reasons.  The 2nd Deadly Sin of Poor Leadership detailed how the avoidance of face-to-face communications and regular one-on-ones leads to lack of respect for the CEO and poor commitment among the leadership team. The 3rd Deadly Sin of Poor Leadership is one that many CEOs and business leaders know is debilitating, but somehow get tripped up by it over and over again. While this is the third and last in this series on poor leadership behaviours, it is by no means the mildest, and in fact may be the greatest cause of poor business performance.

Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them.  ~W. Edwards Deming

Everyone in the corner office realises how important it is to know and understand their customers, whether it be retail shoppers or B2B customers.  Understanding the needs and wants of a customer gives an organization the opportunity to produce products, services and a customer experience that directly fulfils the customer’s needs.  And the better the customer understanding, the better you can out manoeuvre the competition.

Young, trhollisterendy teens (with money from Mom and Dad) shop Hollister, Gilly Hicks and other boutique retailers because the clothes fill their social and style needs, and the shopping experience is designed directly for them.  At Hollister they appeal to a definite market niche, using young models to signify the classic California “Dude and Betty” look.

MRAPSOn the B2B side of the business equation, Textron Marine and Land Systems has an enviable backlog of business and orders for its various products. Military Armoured Vehicles, used to protect Allied forces in hostile situations where roadside bombs have all but destroyed the once ubiquitous military Hummer vehicles.

By getting close to their customers, the service men and women on the ground in hostile areas, and understanding the changing nature of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices, also known as homemade roadside bombs), they are able to build vehicles that deflect and counter such terrorist threats.

hovercraftAnd by better understanding their customer’s amphibious needs, the team at TMLS were able to innovate and recreate the old hovercraft for modern warfare.

But many CEOs and business leaders somehow forget the importance of being close to the customer.  It seems to me they get caught up in internal politics, useless meetings called by their corporate owners, endless debates about NOP, EBITDA, sales $$ per employee, and budget meetings that take up so much of the day, and very few of these meetings have the customer on the agenda! With all this internal focus there is no time left to go sit with customers and do what business leaders should be doing – listening and understanding customer needs and requirements!

Too often the question asked of heads of sales is “How much did we sell this week!” instead of “What did you learn about our customers’ requirements this week?”  Sales dollars are an outcome of understanding and fulfiling customer requirements better than the competition.

Looking at the average CEO’s calendar will tell the real story. No matter how much the slogans broadcast “Customer First”, the CEO’s day is filled with internal meetings, not customer meetings.  Maybe that’s their job, but if the customer is not at the heart of many of these meetings, then are they really creating value or just managing numbers?

Those CEO’s who get caught up in the internal aspects of their job and pay little attention to the external aspects actually do great harm to their company by not putting the organisation’s focus on the most important ingredient in sustainable business success, the customer!

Written and Posted by: John R. Childress

Senior Executive Advisor on Leadership, Culture and Strategy Execution Issues,
Business Author and Advisor to CEOs
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid

e: john@johnrchildress.com
Twitter @bizjrchildress

Read John’s blog,

On Amazon: LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture

Read  The Economist review of LEVERAGE
Also on Amazon:   FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

Posted in consulting, corporate culture, John R Childress, leadership, Organization Behavior, strategy execution, the business of business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 3 Deadly Sins of Poor Leadership, Part 2

In a previous posting I began a series on the 3 Deadly Sins of Poor Leadership. My initial posting focused on not moving fast enough to replace poor performers, either for performance or behavioural reasons.  This is especially damaging to the CEO or team leader’s credibility, since everyone in the organisation knows who is not performing (remember, employees watch upper management and talk circulates quickly).  Everyone watches the CEO to determine her level of courage and leadership.  Keeping poor performing executives is also damaging to the overall culture, sowing the seeds of mistrust and lack of professionalism.

Today I consider Leadership Deadly Sin #2, Poor Communication, as both debilitating and insidious, and unfortunately far too common.

The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.  ~Tony Robbins

The 2nd Deadly Sin of Poor Leadership is when those in leadership positions fail to establish frequent open and direct communication with their direct reports and others whom they manage.  Instead they rely on their direct reports to come to them when they need to talk.  The fact is, the leader sets the tone.  If the leader doesn’t reach out regularly to have open conversations with members of her team, then they won’t either.

There is no leadership without engagement, and there is no engagement without communication.

Consider the example of the Senior VP of Manufacturing who constantly says, “I’m easy to talk with. If my staff have an issue or a problem, my door is always open”.  The fact is, unless  the SVP establishes a habit and pattern of regular an open communications with his staff, only a few will take the initiative to engage and discuss issues. If the leader doesn’t reach out and meet one on one with their team on a regular basis, then the team won’t reach back.  As a result, communications, open dialogue, transparency and the flow of information is curtailed. And respect in leadership tends to erode.

“The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them.”  ~General Colin Powell

Many leaders erroneously believe that communication is up to the other person.  One of these erroneous beliefs is that since they hire professionals and pay them well, “If they need help they will come and ask.”

emailI have also known CEOs and senior executives who are uncomfortable with the leadership obligation of direct, face-to-face conversations and who avoid regular dialogues with their direct reports.  And in some extreme cases I have known a few leaders to hide behind the excuse of “being too busy” to have face-to-face performance reviews and instead send out their performance evaluations via email!  After working hard all year, how would you feel to receive a performance review from your boss through email rather than face to face?  Even if it was an excellent review, wouldn’t you want to discuss it face to face?  To probe further and learn more?

One of the key obligations of effective leadership is to develop a culture of frequent, direct, straight-forward, open communication.

The role of leadership is to create more leaders, not more followers!  ~Ralph Nader

Written and Posted by: John R. Childress

Senior Executive Advisor on Leadership, Culture and Strategy Execution Issues,
Business Author and Advisor to CEOs
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid

e: john@johnrchildress.com
Twitter @bizjrchildress

Read John’s blog,

On Amazon: LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture

Read  The Economist review of LEVERAGE
Also on Amazon:   FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

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The 3 Deadly Sins of Poor Leadership: Part 1

You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by avoiding it today.  ~Abraham Lincoln

When I was in college in the 60’s there was a popular saying: “What goes around comes around”.  To me this saying seemed to be based on the notion of ‘karma’ and accountability.  In essence, what you do (or don’t do) at one period of time, creates a cause and effect cycle which will at some point come back around as an “unintended consequence” of those earlier actions (or non-actions).

For example, let’s say that a manager discovers a problem in a business process that is owned by another department but which has a negative impact on the performance and profitability of the company.  The manager, now aware of the problem, is professionally obligated to bring it to upper management’s attention in order to find a solution.

 However, because the process resides in another department and that department head is known to be a tyrant and a bully, our manager hesitates, for fear of getting told to mind his own business, or worse.  So he hesitates.  Several days go by, then a week before he summons the courage to finally bring it up to the head of the department. Had he brought the issue up sooner they could have avoided a large customer defection which just happened.  However, bringing it up earlier might also have caused bad blood between him and the other department since it was their process that was broken. Either action, now or later, has consequences and results in lasting impact on the individual and the company.

Leadership is not a position or a title, it’s an obligation.

The First Deadly Sin of Poor Leadership: Not Moving Quick Enough on Poor Performers:

“Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”  ~Jim Collins

Most CEO’s coming into a company inherit their management team from the previous regime and one of the first obligations of leadership is to evaluate and where necessary upgrade team members, either through performance coaching or replacing them.

But how to evaluate and how quick to make a change? That is one of the key challenges facing any leader and, in my 35 years of experience, few do it well, or fast enough.  There are a myriad of psychological profiles, business reviews and other tools that can help, but at the end of the day, a good CEO knows the type of person she wants in a leadership role.  Here are some of the questions to use:

  • Does this person inspire confidence and openness in their staff, or fear and mistrust?
  • Is this person looking at the job and the company through a balanced set of objectives,poor-performance(150x94) or are they just concerned with costs and profits?
  • Do their values and behavior match the values needed for this company?
  • Are they coachable or stuck in their ways?
  • Do they help and support their peers or do they talk negatively about them?
  • Do they take accountability for mistakes or point the finger?
  • Do they think of the customer first, or the company EBITDA first?

Yes, these are subjective, but so is the act of leadership.  It’s not just numbers, its people and customers and culture as well.

schoolbusseatsIn my experience, the number one sin of poor leadership is not moving fast enough on getting the wrong people off the bus!  And leaders early in their leadership careers seem to be the most reluctant to get rid of inappropriate senior staff.  And, the longer unsuited executives in leadership positions are tolerated, the more it hinders the organisation.  Moving too slowly undermines the development of a new culture, negatively impacts the respect for the CEO (because, like it or not, everyone in the company knows who the poor performers are at the top), damages trust and morale, and negatively impacts overall business performance.

In one company the new CEO tolerated a very weak Head of Sales and Business Development for over 2 years, as company revenue declined by nearly 40% during that time period.  Acting quicker would have allowed time for the right person to be found and to begin to make a positive contribution sooner.  And the rest of the senior team would have gained greater respect and commitment to the new CEO, who was ultimately replaced after three years.ab

People are definitely a company’s greatest asset. It doesn’t make any difference whether the product is cars or cosmetics. A company is only as good as the people it  keeps.  Mary Kay Ash

A new CEO must be prepared with the following capabilities in order to build the best leadership team possible:

  • An effective and simple way to evaluate the skills, capabilities and leadership style of each senior manager (and looking over a CV or resume is not the solution)
  • An effective way to gain an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the current leadership team
  • How well the senior team works together to solve business problems: do they work together or just deliver on their individual budgets and objectives?
  • An insightful understanding of the overall company culture and its strengths and weaknesses and whether it can support the business and strategic objectives.
  • The current level of trust and respect that employees have for senior management – are they inspired, demotivated or do employees just show up to earn a living?

Unless the new CEO can adequately gather the above information, it will be difficult to make the right choices as to who should be on the team and who needs to move on.

Are you prepared to make the people decisions that will drive your new company forward?

Written and Posted by: John R. Childress

Senior Executive Advisor on Leadership, Culture and Strategy Execution Issues,
Business Author and Advisor to CEOs
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid

e: john@johnrchildress.com
Twitter @bizjrchildress

Read John’s blog,

On Amazon: LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture

Read  The Economist review of LEVERAGE
Also on Amazon:   FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

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Andrew Carnegie and the Responsibility of Wealth

Responsibility: something that it is your job or duty to deal with in a positive manner that creates a real benefit for others.

To say that Andrew Carnegie left a legacy for the modern world is a gross understatement. Between 1883 and 1929 he funded and established of a total of 2,509 Carnegie libraries (1,689 were built in the United States, 660 in the United Kingdom and Ireland, 125 in Canada, and others in Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Serbia, Belgium, France, the Caribbean, Mauritius, Malaysia and Fiji ). Not to mention the eponymous Carnegie Hall in New York or Carnegie Mellon University (founded in 1900 as the Carnegie Technical Schools). In addition he was one of the first major donors of the all African-American colleges Tuskegee and Hampton University and believed so much in the value of education that in 1901 he donated $10 million to start the Carnegie Scottish Universities Trust that by 1910  was covering the tuition for half of the four Scottish universities.

This weekend I am staying at Skibo Castle, the ancestral home of Andrew Carnegie in the Scottish Highlands north of Inverness, which is now a private members-only club dedicated to the ideals as well as the lifestyle and philosophy of its former owner.

Walking through the many rooms inside the castle I came across Andrew Carnegie’s personal office and library, a sumptuous space filled with books and antiques.  Browsing around I found one of Andrew Carnegie’s books, The Gospel of Wealth. It is fascinating reading for those concerned about income inequality and the growing global disparity between rich and poor.

Basically, Carnegie’s philosophy of a good and just life consisted of spending the first third of your life learning as much as possible (hence his belief in education and the value of libraries), the second third working as hard as possible to gain mastery and expertise in your chosen field (hence his successful gamble on steel versus iron at the outbreak of the first World War), and the last third administering the giving away of your fortune to those endeavours that would benefit the underprivileged, poor and society as a whole.

As a true advocate of personal responsibility, Carnegie refused to turn over all of his hard-earned wealth (and at one point he was the richest man in the world) to his children or to give away money to those looking for a handout.  In fact, he is remembered for a famous quote about money and responsibility:

The day is not far distant when the man who dies leaving behind him millions of available wealth, which was free for him to administer during life, will pass away unwept, unhonored, and unsung, no matter to what uses he leave the dross which he cannot take with him. Of such as these the public verdict will then be: The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced. Such, in my opinion, is the true gospel concerning wealth, obedience to which is destined some day to solve the problem of the rich and the poor.

As I look at the lives of the very rich, I can only see a few who have taken to heart the life lessons of Andrew Carnegie.  One of those being Bill Gates, who is definitely spending the last third of this life using his massive fortune to globally enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology.

Today there are over 2,000 Billionaires in the world with a collective fortune of well over $7 Trillion, with 75 % of them in countries outside the US.

What if they all studied and applied the Andrew Carnegie philosophy of wealth?

And by the way, the rest of us may not have huge amounts of money to donate, but we do have time. And this is one classic case where time can be more important than money.

Written and Posted by: John R. Childress

Senior Executive Advisor on Leadership, Culture and Strategy Execution Issues,
Business Author and Advisor to CEOs
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid

e: john@johnrchildress.com
Twitter @bizjrchildress

Read John’s blog,

On Amazon: LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture

Read  The Economist review of LEVERAGE
Also on Amazon:   FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

John also writes thriller novels!

Posted in Human Psychology, John's views on the world, leadership, Life Skills, Psychology, Self-improvement, the business of business | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The New CEO’s Secret Weapon

If change is happening on the outside faster than on the inside, the end is in sight.  -Jack Welch, former CEO, GE

One of the most difficult jobs in modern business is that of the incoming CEO.  As soon as the appointment is announced it seems that everyone desperately needs to talk to the new CEO, even before she officially starts.

Consultants want to pitch their capabilities, suppliers want an audience, disgruntled customers demand air time, and most of all the members of the senior team line up to extol the virtues of their departments and their importance to the success of the enterprise.  Employees seem to be way down the list but they want to talk to the new CEO as well about a host of issues that obviously the previous CEO ignored. And if that wasn’t enough, the Chairman of the Board, all the Non-Executive Directors and of course the analysts demand quality time with the new CEO.

The most interesting thing about the people wanting time from the new CEO is that they see their job as delivering an “accurate” picture of the state of affairs, yet in reality they only have a few pieces of information, a few pieces of the puzzle, not the whole picture.  And they come with an agenda, sometimes hidden, most often blatantly obvious.

And when all these pieces are laid out, they don’t seem to fit together to make a clear picture. Just like a bottom up budget there are more issues, agendas and ideas than the new CEO can effectively deal with at one time.  It is important for the new CEO has to make sense of this pile of information; some pieces are clearly important and some aren’t. No wonder many new CEOs fend off as many meetings as possible until they can get their feet on the ground and see for themselves what is going on.

Time is the Enemy of the New CEO

But as always, the critical element is time.  And of all people the new CEO does not have the luxury of time to dig in fully, explore all the loose ends, and most importantly, think!

There are various estimates by academics on just what the grace period is for a new CEO. Some say six months, some 100 days, some 3 months before the new CEO must produce a solid assessment and most importantly, a workable go-forward plan. But on one thing everyone agrees, in the past few years the “grace” period has gotten shorter and shorter.

The New CEO’s Secret Weapon

There is, however, a secret weapon in the arsenal of the new CEO if they seek it out.  That weapon is an understanding of the leadership culture of the organisation they inherit. The culture at the top, one of the most influential subcultures in the entire organization, has a great influence on all aspects of the business, from strategy execution to company pride and teamwork.

Organisations are shadows of their leaders.  That’s the good news and the bad news!

The problem with understanding the leadership culture is that it is mostly invisible, especially to insiders.

“We don’t know who first discovered water, but it certainly wasn’t fish. They are in it every day and can’t see it.”

The same is true for a long tenured senior executive team and the leadership subculture.

For the CEO to get a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the leadership subculture, I suggest a few key questions and a few key activities to spring open the padlock and reveal its contents.

Here are a few of our favourite non-obvious questions for a new CEO:

  1. Do you know the senior leadership subculture you are coming into?
  2. Will it support or hinder your vision and goals for the organisation?
  3. How well does the senior team work together?
  4. Are they focused on shared strategic objectives or just their own functional (silo) goals?
  5. Does this company have a best practice process for strategy delivery?
  6. Ia this a culture of personal accountability or a blame culture?

A CEO client once remarked:

There is no strategy without execution and there is no execution without leadership!

The Importance of a Senior Team Offsite In the First 90-Days

The quickest way to get a handle on the senior leadership subculture is to get the entire senior team together at a 3 or 4 day away meeting early on. (1-day is not enough time for executives to show their real character, 3-4 days is best)

If you use a robust process for strategic thinking and follow these few questions in sequence, you will quickly learn about the leadership culture.  Just watch how they behave, as individuals and as a group!

  • What is our strategic intent?
  • What are our shared objectives as a team?
  • What are the few breakthrough objectives we should be focusing on to grow this business, better service customers, and beat the competition?
  • What are the fewest metrics we need to run this business properly?
  • What projects/programs do we need to deliver on our strategic agenda?
  • What projects/programs are running that don’t fit this agenda?
  • Who is going to be accountable for what?

You will very quickly learn the type of leadership culture you have inherited.  And you will also quickly discover who’s on the bus and who isn’t. You will also learn a lot about the business from the people who “should” know the most.

During this meeting a great tool to guide the discussion is a customised Senior Leadership Subculture Assessment filled out by the senior team and then the next level of leadership.  If the questions are designed properly and customised for your business and industry, it will reveal a highly accurate snapshot of the leadership culture.

Here are a couple of examples:  This shows a top performing senior team:

Top

This shows a senior team facing a turnaround situation:

turnaround

During this senior team workshop the CEO will quickly begin to understand the individual personalities, their strengths, attitudes, level of teamwork, and fit with the new business requirements. And watching a team work together for 3-4 days is a great way to get the full measure of the leadership subculture.

And once you know the leadership culture you have, you can then plot a course to build the leadership culture you need!

Written and Posted by: John R. Childress

Senior Executive Advisor on Leadership, Culture and Strategy Execution Issues,
Business Author and Advisor to CEOs
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid

e: john@johnrchildress.com
Twitter @bizjrchildress

Read John’s blog,

On Amazon: LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture

Read  The Economist review of LEVERAGE
Also on Amazon:   FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

John also writes thriller novels!

Posted in corporate culture, leadership, Organization Behavior, strategy execution | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Official and the “Unofficial” Organization Chart

Hidden Agenda at home and work!

Everyone knows about the existence of the official agenda and the “hidden agenda”.  The hidden agenda being those issues which everyone knows about but are not willing to open up for honest discussion.  Instead, most hidden agenda gets surfaced behind closed doors, around the water cooler, or at the bar.  Places where lots of heat is generated but little light!

The Hidden Organization:

What is not so well-known is the existence of two organization charts; the official printed chart and the informal, or “unofficial” organization.  And it is often the unofficial organization that determines how (and whether) things get done.

Here’s a classic example.  A munitions plant had recently been awarded a major contract that required them to increase production to 50 units per day.  Industrial engineers were sent in to expand and configure the production line.  Additional staff were hired and given extensive training, but no matter what improvements were made, the most they produced was around 35 per day.  This situation went on for several months.  Senior management even replaced the Plant Manager. No improvement.

Finally a young engineer was sent in to find out “what was going on!” Instead of measuring and gathering data, he just observed.  For three days he hung around watching people, when they arrived, how they worked, what happened during breaks.  He even went to the same bars as the employees. And it soon became obvious that there was an “unofficial” organization chart and it was there that the real power to get things done existed.

An extremely well-respected woman who had worked at the plant for the past 30 years was unofficially “calling the shots”.  All the workers not only respected her, but feared her power as well.  And it seems that somewhere in the past she believed she had been treated unfairly by management and it was her intention not to let “management” push around her fellow employees.  Ramping up production was just another example of getting more for less from the workers, so she controlled, from behind the scenes, the pace of work.

As soon as this was recognized, the young engineer made it his job to befriend this woman, listen to her grievances, help her to realize the benefit to all employees of performing on the newly won production contract.

The result?  Production consistently exceeded 50 and even reached 80 per day at times.

Nortel and the Unofficial Organization

Another great example is the rise and collapse into bankruptcy of the telecoms giant, Nortel.  One a high-flying stock in the emerging private telecoms network space, Nortel had a core of long-term employees and executives who know who to call to get things accomplished quickly.  And speed to market with new products and services was a significant competitive advantage. But with a desire to grow fast, the company hired hundreds and hundreds of new managers, executives and employees who knew the official organization chart, but not the “unofficial” organization. As a result, decision-making slowed down, getting something through the system became more and more difficult until they began losing ground to more agile companies.  Then a significant number of experienced senior executives cashed in their stock options and retired. Nortel filled for bankruptcy.

What’s really going on in your organization?  Find the “unofficial” organization and you will see how, and why, things really get done, or not done!  A hint:  the unofficial organisation is your real corporate culture!

Written and Posted by: John R. Childress

Senior Executive Advisor on Leadership, Culture and Strategy Execution Issues,
Business Author and Advisor to CEOs
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid

e: john@johnrchildress.com
Twitter @bizjrchildress

Read John’s blog,  Business Books Website

On Amazon: LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture

Read  The Economist review of LEVERAGE
Also on Amazon:   FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

John also writes thriller novels!

 

Posted in consulting, corporate culture, John R Childress, John's views on the world, leadership, Organization Behavior, strategy execution, the business of business | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Greeks, Love and Employee Engagement

“What is the difference between like and love?”, the novice asked the Master.  The Master replied: “If you like a flower you pick it.  If you love a flower, you water and care for it daily.”

Love is a broad concept and has many interpretations.  The ancient Greeks had six different words to describe love.  There was Eros, or sexual passionate love.  Philia meaning deep friendship with another person. Ludus describes the playful affection between young people. Agape love was the willing or wishing of good on all mankind.  Pragma is the longstanding love that mature couples develop over time through commitment and compromise.  Philautia describes self-love and can take a positive form, self-esteem, or a negative form, narcissism.

Yep, we are pretty complex creatures and human emotions are many and varied, and the words for love tend to describe our various human relationships.  Love, however, is not usually a word used in business, yet since we spend a significant amount of time at work (something like 50% or more of our waking day), maybe we should look at our relationship with work and the concept of love.

Employee engagement is a much talked about and studied concept in business today, basically referring to the amount of discretionary effort a person puts into their job or work.  And there are many studies correlating high employee engagement with high business performance, such as strong earnings growth, innovation, change agility, and a high performance culture.

Employee engagement is more than just earning a paycheck and doing what is prescribed in your job description.  Engagement refers to the additional and voluntary emotional, physical and mental effort a person puts into their workplace efforts. The key word here is voluntary.

And why do people voluntarily give more than they are paid for?  Human psychology tells us that much of our voluntary behaviour is driven by either avoiding pain or gaining a positive benefit.  Let’s hope the world of work is more about benefit than pain!

But beyond a paycheck, what positive benefits do we get from work? And what would cause an employee to give additional, voluntary effort?

And here is where love comes into the workplace. As I see it, there are three types of love that drive employee engagement:

  • I love the work I do.  When work is intellectually stimulating, when you learn and grow as a person becasue of the work, when you learn something new about yourself and the world, then it is easy to give voluntary effort, to even think about it when you are not at work, to come up with new ideas to enhance your work.
  • I love the people I work with.  When you are surrounded by people who bring out the best in you, who support and challenge you, who help and coach you, who help you improve as an employee and a person, then voluntary engagement is easy.
  • I love this company.  In an organization where managers and senior leaders work hard to remove barriers to work, reduce bureaucracy, provide tools to make work easier and faster, where ideas are listened to with respect and thoughtfulness, where there exists a higher purpose than just profit or revenue, where products and services are of high quality, where the customer is at the heart of the business, where goals are challenging instead of punitive, where there are ample opportunities for self development and advancement, then it is easy to foster high employee engagement.

My challenge to business leaders: If you want greater employee engagement, bring more “love” into the workplace.

Written and Posted by: John R. Childress

Senior Executive Advisor on Leadership, Culture and Strategy Execution Issues,
Business Author and Advisor to CEOs
Visiting Professor, IE Business School, Madrid

e: john@johnrchildress.com
Twitter @bizjrchildress

Read John’s blog,  Business Books Website

On Amazon: LEVERAGE: The CEO’s Guide to Corporate Culture

Read  The Economist review of LEVERAGE
Also on Amazon:   FASTBREAK: The CEO’s Guide to Strategy Execution

John also writes thriller novels!

Posted in corporate culture, Human Psychology, leadership, Organization Behavior, Self-improvement | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment