Leadership

The Power of Remarkable

Outstanding 123rf_10470826_sIt could hardly have been better timed. After writing last week about achieving the remarkable, I received a newsletter from Charles Bennett, Partner and Thought Leader at The Focus Group, illustrating what achieving the remarkable means when it comes to customer service. In it he tells a powerful story from his experience. Like any good story it inspires and demands retelling, so it is with great pleasure that I share it with you. Here it is in Charles’ own words, exactly as I received it.

 

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Achieving the Remarkable

Remarkable 123RF 48999371_sLike millions of people all around the world, I have been enjoying the spectacle of the Olympic Games. Watching top performers at the peak of their abilities is always good but the Olympics are special. They offer a unique combination of competition and camaraderie that creates a WOW! that uplifts athlete and spectator alike.

There can be no doubt about the intensity of the competition. Every athlete is striving to stretch beyond anything they have ever achieved before and prepared to endure massive physical discomfort in the process, which is what makes it such compelling viewing.  Nevertheless, the competition somehow still, ultimately, seems to become secondary. Goodwill and good sportsmanship is manifested in a way it isn’t in any other sporting arena.

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Employee Engagement: Not ‘Love for Work’, but ‘Love at Work’

Talking about love at work is a surprisingly daunting prospect. Whether that is by default or design, it seems the word love is seldom, if ever, used in a commercial or business context.  It is, however, something that needs to change.

The words of the old song, “Love Makes the World Go Round” may be more metaphor than fact, but they nonetheless point to a fundamental truth: love is a substantial power. The energy of love is seen as a motivating force in nearly all philosophical and religious thinking.  And, no matter how it gets distorted, its role in driving human behaviour also makes it a significant scientific subject, integral to shaping organisation design and development.  Thus we definitely need to talk more about love in a work context.

Fortunately, that seems to be happening. Recently I have come across a number of examples, but possibly the most significant is Duncan Coombe’s “Can You Really Power an Organization with Love?”  - in the prestigious Harvard Business Review, no less. He cites Sigmund Freud’s statement “love and work … work and love, that’s all there is” to rebut the idea that this universal good is inappropriate in the workplace.  More significantly, he goes on to say that “love isn’t as absent from the workplace as one might think.”

You may accept that more readily if you think of love as being a power like gravity. Each and every one of us is affected by gravity and its effects are the same for everyone. So with love, which inevitably and universally, determines how we behave. Even in the workplace. And even when we don’t talk about it.

Coombe – perhaps most exciting of all – describes love as being like an operating system, supporting “the ‘apps’ of strategy, finance, etc.”, adding that, “When you have a great operating system, the apps work better, independently, and in relation to each other.”   Clearly you will want to optimise your operating system. And, the likelihood is that, even if not consciously, you are endeavouring to do so.

If you doubt that, you only have to think about all your efforts to create employee engagement. After all, at its most fundamental, employee engagement boils down to getting your employees to love their work more. Understanding this will help you refocus your efforts and ensure that they bear greater fruit. 

How? By recognizing that it is about more than just a person’s job. Employee engagement inherently aims to build a ‘love for work.’ This, by definition, creates a bias towards a focus on the individual role. But getting someone to ‘love their job’ is not the same thing as getting someone to ‘love their work.’

Love my work 2

While the latter certainly incorporates the former, it goes so much further. Work is a more macro-perspective and deals with all the inter-relationships. It incorporates the whole enchilada of the organisation; its purpose, how it goes about fulfilling that purpose and how it creates an environment in which every individual employee is able to personally develop, grow and strive to fulfil their own personal potential while contributing to the optimization of the organisation.

Ultimately you could say it boils down to the authenticity of your employer brand that I described last week. Unless every individual is able to be authentic and integrate their hopes, wants and needs with those of the organisation – unless your people are able to love what they are doing and the environment in which they are doing it – you will never create an authentic organisation that operates at its fullest potential.

It doesn’t matter what words you use to describe it. But remember Kahlil Gibran’s words, “Work is love made visible.” In the end it is all about love. If you love your organisation, you have to love the people who work in it, and vice versa. That means recognising that ‘Every Individual Matters.’

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If you like what you have read contact me today for a free 30 minute conversation about how my ‘Every Individual Matters’ Model can provide the catalyst to help you create an organisational culture of ‘Love at Work’ : one where everyone cares and the business becomes our business, so embracing change and transforming – and sustaining – organisational performance.

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Bay Jordan

Bay is the founder and director of Zealise, and the creator of the ‘Every Individual Matters’ organisational culture model that helps transform organisational performance and bottom-line results. Bay is also the author of several books, including “Lean Organisations Need FAT People” and “The 7 Deadly Toxins of Employee Engagement” and, more recently, The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped.


How to Create a Great Employer Brand

Where does your company rank in the echelons of “best employer” or “best company to work for”? After all the likelihood is that, even if it is not ranked, it will have taken, or considered taking, part in the evaluation. Ranking has become ubiquitous. We have league tables for schools, universities, hospitals and who knows what else. Perhaps the time has come to question whether we have taken this competitiveness too far, and to recognize the practice as counter-productive, insidious and invidious.

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PS How to Effectively Align Your Performance & Rewards

My regular blog last week was inspired by Part 1 of an article by Andy Rice from Black Box Consulting, entitled "Performance (Mis-)Management." I therefore feel it is rightfully incumbent upon me to follow up and also share Part 2 with you. This second part identifies 3 questions you need to ask yourself about the design of your performance measures.

I am happy to report that, although expressed in different words from those I used, the basic principles are the same as in the 3 questions I recommended. The article, however, does nothing to question the validity of rewarding performance as an effective management tool. I therefore think my points remain valid and I stand firmly behind them as something every organisational leader should at least be considering.  


How to Effectively Align Your Performance and Rewards

As someone who aims to be an effective organisational leader, do your ever wonder why you have a performance related pay/incentive remuneration scheme? Certainly, if you are one of the nearly 15 million people who have watched "The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us"  that is a question you ought to have been asking yourself. Or is it something you haven’t dared asked yourself, simply because performance related pay is virtually ubiquitous? When nearly every organisation – regardless of type or nature of business – has such a scheme, you would be bucking the trend and possibly damaging your employer brand if you didn’t.  

If that is the case there are still a number of criteria that you should be looking at to ensure that you have performance measures and remuneration and reward structures that optimise organisational performance. When it comes to effective performance measures and rewards you naturally need to ask yourself 3 questions.

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What Is The Future of Work?

With 3 in 10 jobs in the US held by the self-employed and their sub-contractors there is no doubt that the workplace is changing. (Source)  It is hardly surprising then that 2 out of 5 (40%) of people around the world believe that traditional employment “won’t be around in the future.” Thus the most recent issue of Management Today with its feature section on “The Future of Work” makes for interesting reading.

Some of the key points it makes warrant highlighting and further comment.

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Why our approach is all wrong

Bride and Groom - 123rf.com 21173805_sLast Saturday I was privileged to be part of my niece’s wedding. It was a memorable occasion, on a beautiful sun-drenched day with joy, love, and fun extending throughout the day and the late-night dancing and celebration. Sunday, however, was different, despite being just as beautiful a day. It was as though the goodness had gone on honeymoon with the bride and groom, and, the weeks’ of planning and preparations now over, the rest of us were left feeling unfocused, flat and purposeless.

This contrast exemplifies the way our attitudes and expectations shape our experience. Nothing had really changed, yet the world felt different. It is undoubtedly a better place when love is prevalent.

Reflecting on this I started questioning why it takes a wedding to bring out all that latent goodwill, fellowship and friendship. Yes, a wedding is a formal declaration of love and common purpose between two people, but it is merely symbolic. The substance exists without it and, apart from formalising it and providing a legal and/or moral framework for the union, the ceremony intrinsically changes nothing. So why isn’t it more evident in everyday life?

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Addressing and Mastering “The Issue of Our Time”

It's happening. In the last three weeks alone, Foxconn announced it will replace 60,000 factory workers with robots, a former CEO of McDonald’s said given rising wages, the same would happen throughout their franchises, Walmart announced plans to start testing drones in its warehouses, and Elon Musk predicted fully autonomous car technology would arrive within two years.  

Artifical Intelligence 123rf.com 6383792_sWhether it's worker displacement, the skills gap, youth unemployment, or socio-economic stratification, the impact on society will be staggering. I’ve said it on multiple occasions and believe it even more so every day: creating economic opportunity will be the defining issue of our time.”

Those are the words of Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, taken from his publication of his email to all LinkedIn employees announcing the company’s acquisition by Microsoft. Like Weiner, I am concerned about the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI) and its implications. Thus I am delighted by his recognition of the phenomenon and its impact. It is undoubtedly the defining issue of our time, not only because of the need to create economic opportunity but because of the dangers inherent in failing to do so effectively. 

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Mastering Change

Cameleon - symbol of natural change 123rf.com 15265487_sChange is not an unnatural phenomenon. On the contrary, it is entirely natural. Life is all about change. Evolution itself is a process of continuous change. Our emergence from primordial mud reveals a permanent push for progress, and, for humans as a species, that drive persists. Continuous improvement is not the organisational phenomenon that we have come to associate with the term. It is the fundamental law of life. It permeates everything we do.

So why do we have so much trouble dealing with change?

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