Thursday 12 September 2013

Third of seven fool-proof actions that guarantee increased employee engagement

The premise that must precede the actions

People are not numbers, overheads, expenses, resources, assets or capital. These are all a false premises that lead to less than possible results. We are all flesh and blood, alive human beings with needs, want, fears and aspirations. Any actions to increase employee engagement must be preceded by seeing and treating people as people.

Action number three - ensure conversations using 90 day plans (PPPs) are integral to daily life and work.

What I witness over and over is that most conversations about performance in the workplace focus on what’s not working more than they focus on what is working. 

Sure we need to have conversations about both. The more conversations we have about what is working however, the greater the likelihood of performance improvement.

When I first work with people on this I teach them two principles and one technique to get them started.

The two principles are asking more questions, giving less answers and sending stars, never black holes. The technique is about having appreciation and accountability conversations using the two principles.

Asking more questions, giving less answers

I love observing real leaders. When people ask them what to do they ask what do you think you should do?

Sending stars, never black holes

In the early 90’s I taught Peter Marshman’s Communication Magic program to hundreds of people. A key to the success of the program was teaching to send stars never back holes in both sending and receiving messages. 

Typically stars are messages that promote high self esteem of receivers and the 
likelihood of personal best performance.

Examples are enthusiastic greetings, smiles, recognition of effort and achievements, compliments, being included, putting ourselves out for others, asking someone else for advice, showing genuine interest

Typically black holes are messages that mean a likely drop in self esteem and the corresponding drop in personal performance. 

Examples are not saying hello or greeting people as though they barely exist, not saying thank you or not recognising other peopleʼs efforts, claiming the credit for someone elseʼs work, ignoring or excluding people, putting people down, criticism as opposed to constructive critique or feedforward, thinking our way is the only way and demonstrating this in our behaviour, having a closed mind

People must be empowered to deal with black holing or other inappropriate behaviour by responding to poor sending with the statement “I think thatʼs a black hole”

Conversely it is strongly encouraged that star behaviour be complimented with words such as “thanks for the star”, Thank You. You are a star” 

Appreciation and accountability conversations using these principles

The Double A Technique

Ask: How are things going?

When you get a positive response:
Ask: How does that make you feel?
(be quiet and pay attention)
Then say, Great, Brilliant or whatever is appropriate.
Then ask: Any other areas I can help you with?
(be quiet and pay attention)

When you get a negative response
Ask: What happened? (be quiet and pay attention)
Then Ask: What do you need to do to get back on track?
(be quiet and pay attention)
Then Ask: Is there anything I can do to help you?
(be quiet and pay attention)
Finally, Ask: Anything else?
(be quiet and pay attention)

When the above technique is used with the PPP as the focusing point people feel better about themselves and become more accountable.

Summary and action

Use your own and other people’s 90 day performance possibility plan (PPP) to focus conversations about performance. This means you are having conversations about standards of performance and behaviour previously agreed to.

Ask more questions, give less answers.

Send stars, never black holes.

Focus on appreciation and accountability conversations. 

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

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