“You would be surprised how quickly your employees get in the bandwagon when they can be part of the solution.”
Sometimes, in business, it’s necessary to get everyone fired up. The doldrums set in. People lose sight of their goals. Everyone just plods along and the results show it. Revenues plateau. Profits go down. People aren’t discontented, nor are they particularly enthusiastic about things.
If you are their leader, there’s only one person who is likely to be able to fix the problem. That’s you. Here are my thoughts:
- It starts with YOU. If you aren’t fired up – if you don’t know in your soul that you can get the place reenergized – it won’t happen. For you to influence anyone else you have to be “living” as an example. You have to be confident and positive. And you have to be honest and sincere. It can’t be stressed enough.
- You have to lay out the problem for everyone. Don’t minimize the importance of problem definition. I have seen many many people over the years attack what they thought was the problem when their diagnosis was completely wrong. Many times I have seen management define a problem with its symptoms versus getting to the root cause. A good example of an improperly defined problem could be “We aren’t profitable,” when in reality the real problem is more likely something such as “We have quality problems and have to do too much rework,” or “Our managers can’t manage projects because the information they get isn’t timely.
- You need to get the input from all the people who best know what is going on. The people who work there want to help. And usually they know a lot and are willing to share their ideas on how to fix things if you just ask them. The important thing is to fully listen to what they are telling you and not get defensive or they will clam up and you will cut yourself off from important information sources.
- Don’t waste your time developing and promoting catchy, cliche-ridden mission/vision/values statements. Most people are burnt out on this nonsense. They make fun of these things behind management’s back if they are the least bit hokey or insincere. Don’t hurt your credibility by jumping on the “BS bandwagon.” And you know BS when you see it – just as your employees do.
- Measure and report the numbers on everything that’s important. Do it frequently and quickly. You have to get your gauges on the machine operational. It’s crucial because you will need to not only share this information on a widespread basis but also interpret it for everyone AND use it to fine tune your action program. People respond to numbers when you track and distribute them.
- Explain how achieving certain goals will benefit everyone. This means you have to be specific about substantive raises/bonuses/training/promotion opportunities/tools, etc.) that will be forthcoming. The carrot is more important than the stick.
- Focus on results. Focus on things that produce immediate results so people get the idea there is more within their control than they may have thought initially. You need quick results.
- Make heroes out of your highest performers. Promote those who are showing new energy and getting results to the rest of the team. Share their accomplishments with everyone. Look for and promote even the smallest victories. You are working to create positive energy.
- Clear out the negative influencers. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. There is a lot of research on this topic. You know who these negative, can’t-do skeptics are – the ones holding the “meeting after the meeting.” They have to go. You will be glad when you get the courage to do it.
- Be positive! Explain how what you are doing WILL work. If it doesn’t work out, pull the plug and try something else. Be confident it will work until proven otherwise.
- Refine and repeat, daily. Just like your shampoo bottle says “rinse and repeat,” do the same thing with your organization. But change that “rinse” to refine. Refine your plan and your data and your decision-making.
These 11 steps are guaranteed to produce results. Use them! You would be surprised how quickly your employees get in the bandwagon when they can be part of the solution. You have to be honest with everyone and not hold back.
Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.