During this time of low supply of available, qualified new employee candidates, it has become more challenging to misfortunately retain your current workforce. What do I mean by “misfortunately retain” in the previous sentence? I mean that in many cases poor work habits, excess absenteeism and less than appropriate employee attitudes are silently overlooked in today’s workplace. In a unique, unplanned, unforeseen way…employers have sometimes assumed a position that “a poor employee is better than no employee”!
How does this scenario apply to this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message” YOUR Words Matter?
I believe that today it is critical for leaders and managers to be more direct and honest in their product development assignments and quality of service expectations. “Sugar coating and softening” messages in these areas should make you question yourself…how much do YOUR WORDS MATTER! Whether your directives, instructions and /or positive action words are delivered in written, online or in-person fashion; the need for simple, specific, timely expectations should be totally clear. In addition, it may be more unfortunately appropriate during these employee supply-demand challenge times to also include verbiage on negative consequences for non-action. Today including consequences information in personnel communications as a necessary standard will increase the likelihood the fact that YOUR Words Matter!
Is this an example of progressive professional discomfort…Yes. Is it an easy personnel action…No. If applied correctly and consistently will it make a positive personnel difference…Yes.
Are there other questions?
Throughout history I know there has always been the challenge: Rules Versus Risk–Taking…What’s The Balance? What side do YOU come down on? Are you someone who is strong with following the rules at work or at play? Or do you look at the rules…identify the “gray” areas…and proceed to bend the rules to see what else can happen? As you can guess there are no right or wrong answers to the Rules Versus Risk-Taking…What’s The Balance situation! However, it is professional development appropriate to offer a recommendation about the “Balance” issue.
First let me say that I admire and respect those who help us all by identifying and enforcing rules. Their role helps maintain order in our society and workplace operations. However, as everyone reading this knows…I am a calculated risk taker in all aspects of my life. Change is an every day natural action…so taking appropriate risks only seems like a logical progressive proactive step to better determine your work/life future! It has never been my intent to totally “break” established rules. Rather my purpose/goal was/still is to offer responsible risk-taking alternatives to products/services/policies/programs that just might be better.
So, are most of you thinking that I am ignoring the “Balance” part of this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message?
When you are facing the Rules Versus Risk-Taking…What’s The Balance dilemma, I want you to remember the 3-R’s: RESPECT-RESPONSBILITY-RETURN. I believe following these words will always keep you in the “right” when balancing rules versus risk-taking. Because applying the balance must be something taken very peronally, RESPECT for the rules and those who guard them is critical. Next, along with RESPECT one must always appreciate those carrying RESPONSIBILITY for applying and enforcing the rules. The order and discipline they must maintain is vital when considering risk-taking change and growth. Finally think about RETURN. RETURN for your support of quality rules will produce consistency, understandability, reliability…all positive business and organization operational factors…AND typically make way for cool risk-taking possibilities!
Balancing is hard but necessary…can you do it?
One of the more “traditional” challenging leadership issues is dealing with Problem Employees & Time Management. Too often leaders spend way too much of their time exclusively dealing with one or a couple of employees who always seem to be adverse to the benefits of teamwork and setting a positive, progressive workplace example.
You know what I mean.
During my role as a Director, I would make it a major priority to share my time with co-workers on the most equal level as possible. Understandably there were times when problem employees required more time than was appropriate and truly, I felt the twinges of unfairness of attention to the rest of the gang who were on the job and doing their best everyday…EVERYDAY! And it was only by making time management a priority in this area that I believe I attained a pretty good balance of attention to all personnel.
The bottom-line for this TRIPLE III TIME: Problem Employees & Time Management message is to encourage all leaders/managers in all companies or organizations to prioritize time management among staff. This means: (1) avoiding allowing problem employees to maximize your time, (2) not enabling problem employees to draw your energy away from cool, new ideas and only focusing on negative issues and, (3) consistently “short-changing” the majority of your workers of your supportive and creative time
Quality time management on its own is an everyday challenge in all work/life situations. Is it easy to accomplish…no? But by making it a major priority in your role as a leader…you will attain the support and appreciation of those most important.
It is always wonderful to get a request from a TRIPLE III TIME Blog reader or Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS Podcast listener. Well this month’s podcast Reaching Back… To Grow Forward is really a combination of both.
Back in December 2016, I penned a TRIPLE III TIME Blog message that included a TOP 10 list of ideas that asked everyone to look back in their pasts… gather up all the “bests”… and strategically utilize them for their future. The requester asked me to offer a special podcast that provided a “live” discussion of each TOP 10 item.
Well listen closely and plan to spend a few more minutes hearing the extended message. It was fun, and in a way the TOP 10 feels timeless.
As effective managers…supervisors…leaders it is always a major responsibility to keep everyone productive and working at a full-employment pace. Some leaders strive to keep everyone challenged…maybe beyond regular capacities, while others in leadership positions remain satisfied with a pattern of maintenance speed.
But today’s TRIPLE III TIME message is how to deal with: The Battle Against “Slowness” in the workplace.
The Battle Against “Slowness” appears when the product or service you are involved in loses value and the demand goes down. Or when your special business niche is no longer special and worker activities slow to an unprecedented level. The impacts of “Slowness” on workers having too much undriven time are numerous. Consider this TOP 10 list of challenging negative impacts:
- Inability to prioritize.
- Gossip/rumor mills increase.
- Lost sense of production urgency.
- Minutia becomes a daily principle.
- People become involved in other people’s job/business.
- The “addiction” to non-work computer time goes way up.
- The quality of task completion goes down.
- Arriving to work early and staying a little late evaporates.
- The appeal to work somewhere else becomes more regular.
- The value of and priority of having a GREAT WORKPLACE CULTURE becomes an overbearing business/organizational issue.
Do I have several great suggestions? My single suggestion is innovation. But just discussing and collaboratively addressing The Battle Against “Slowness” is very important. This Battle is EVERYONE’s job and anyone who ignores it becomes part of the problem. The solutions are a constant work in progress with innovation as a motivator.
As our whole economy moves to better position itself locally and across our country…Goal-Setting individually and organizationally has never been more important. So when I read this quote from Orrin Woodward, an author/speaker and management expert, I knew it would be ideal for this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message.
“A goal is a planned conflict against the status quo. By helping teammates develop believable and achievable goals, and the corresponding rewards for achieving them the leader can inspire his/her teammates without micromanaging!”
Did you re-read that first line? “A goal is a planned conflict against the status quo.” When I read that I thought immediately about:
- Innovation & Creativity
- Private & Public Entrepreneurship
- Pilot/Demonstration Projects
- Always A Better Way Vision Statements
Truly I can not think of a more determined and change-driven way of saying its OK to try something new and different!
Today I believe there exists a wide-open opportunity to use Goal-Setting as a motivator for every employee to offer up a new idea or two. If the Goal-Setting discussion process is facilitated correctly by leadership…the opportunity for personnel and company growth could be tremendous!
One of the more challenging new-age trainings I would like to draft up and offer to leaders in any work setting would be:
Learning The Hard Lessons Of Change!
And I will bet that at first glance you are assuming the main topics of this class would be:
- World Affairs
- Health Care
Well I will admit that each of these areas would deserve discussion, but my strategy would be to take the discussion down to the grass-roots level. With that view in mind…check out these TOP 10 Learning The Hard Lessons Of Change topics:
- Even though a progressive business will pay for a special skill-building class…no employee wants to take it.
- Even though people refer to a certain leader as “The Wizard of Oz”…he still only uses social media options to meet with people.
- Even when the services offered by a public organization specify human interaction…they still work from home-virtually.
- Even when a fast-food restaurant re-opens its service counter…they still ask that you go to their kiosk and place your order.
- Even when employees are offered double-time pay to work a few extra hours…they choose not to work overtime.
- Even though training organizations have made virtual continuous improvement options more convenient…students “pretend-to-attend”…but still skip.
- Even though teacher learning and prep has modernized…their real time jobs are not the same.
- Even though we have 24/7 news casts and specialized info-channels…people seem less informed and more confused.
- Even though all of our governments attempt to improve our state and country…the more unsatisfied we seem.
- Finally, even though as seasoned leaders we utilize our solid knowledge and experiences to help future leaders…the more we question the value of our guidance.
I am sure everyone could offer at least one more Learning The Hard Lessons Of Change example to add to this TRIPLE III TIME message. My hope is that as you realize these difficult change lessons…that you are able to also identify reverse POSITIVE lessons of change.
I know you can.
In a recent workshop session I challenged the group to determine if they…their products and services…were Indispensable to their/today’s marketplace. And as I witnessed a lot of questioning looks on the faces of those in attendance, I realized I needed to better explain my question with a more exact definition of Indispensable.
The definition I gave them was a series of words. I stated that in order to consider yourself or your organization Indispensable…are you:
- All Important
The reaction of the group was quite humbling. And even though they were confident that they individually and as a group were Indispensable…they felt really challenged by THE Value Test!
My Indispensable: THE Value Test was actually very simple. Specifically I first asked:
- Have the potential customers coming through your doors changed? Answer: YES…a lot!
- Have the organizations/businesses you work with changed? Answer: YES…a lot!
- Finally have the needs of the customers/organizations/businesses changed? Answer: YES…a lot!
Then I asked if everything around you has changed “a lot”…what/how have you changed and thereby increased your Indispensable VALUE to the marketplace?
Well I am not going to give you the details of our follow-up discussion. Instead I want everyone to apply the Indispensable: THE Value Test to yourself, your business and/or your organization. Are you Essential, Vital, All Important, Crucial, Imperative, Key and Necessary?? This type of unique strategy session is high value in every workplace situation.
Give the “Test” a try. Honesty and awareness are great motivational and inspirational outcomes.
One of the toughest leadership challenges is addressing Co-Worker Conflict. In many instances it (conflict) is the result of just plain personality differences… and are those really changeable? But even more critical to an ongoing Co-Worker Conflict is its very negative impact on the delivery and effectiveness of quality Customer Service within and outside of an organization!
Co-Worker Conflict can negate inter-organization clear and concise communication. It can spread an “illness” of non-cooperation among staff. Co-Worker Conflict can limit or even destroy any plans for a new, cool innovative product or service. And this list can go on.
One of my most effective Leadership actions to deal with Co-Worker Conflict was to remove the decision-making authority on a challenge issue from the “conflictors”. My directive sounded something like this: “If you can not resolve this issue between yourselves…I WILL MAKE THE DECISION AND NO ONE WILL BE PLEASED…EXCEPT ME!” And fortunately most times a new sense of maturity and need for progress prevailed…and we moved positively forward.
Co-Worker Conflict/Leadership/Customer Service are sometimes mixed together in ways that require clear, timely, corrective action. Leaders need to NOT sit back and hope the Co-Worker Conflict resolves itself and co-workers need to remember professionalism matters and move forward for the sake of Customer Service.
Do you have a quality style of sharing, giving Praise to someone? Or do you offer Praise in a very routine, standardized fashion that ends up not really conveying the appreciation you were really hoping for? The “Speaking of Praise” Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast is proposed to help everyone give the responsibility of Praise delivery all the special attention it deserves. As always, I try to explain a lot in my five (or so) minute talk… but I hope the suggestions I offer can make a positive difference. Enjoy the listen.