Several years ago “Manage” magazine ask me to write this article, so I thought I would share it with you. After 35 years of experience in the training industry, I believe training is treated as an event and not a process, a one-time shot and then it’s over and people don’t change. Worse than that we have a speaker come in and deliver a motivational session, with no techniques at all. This is what we need to make training work:
As I consult for businesses and organizations, I hear the same message over and over—both from leaders and from their employees: “People are getting burned out. We have to do more work with less people, making do with the budget that we have,” or, “We need to do something to show our workers appreciation but funds are tight.” Burnout is the common theme, as people in the workplace express that they are becoming more negative, cynical, and discouraged.
Research confirms that there are serious problems developing in the workplace today:
• 65% of workers say they have received no recognition or appreciation in the past 12 months.
• While 80% of large corporations have employee recognition programs, only 31% of their employees say they feel valued for doing good quality work.
• The #1 reason for recognition in most workplaces is longevity (how motivational is that?).
• Only 8% of employees feel their top management cares about them personally.
• 70% of employees are either disengaged or under engaged in their work.
• Yet only 21% of these workers are looking for work elsewhere, meaning approximately 50 % of the workforce are just passively enduring work they don’t enjoy.
The workplace environment needs to change for the better, and leaders can change the course. Unfortunately, many managers’ efforts to appreciate their staff are misguided and wind up being a waste of time and effort. Why? Because they are not built upon the core principles necessary for appreciation to be communicated effectively.
Make your praise specific and personal. The most common mistake organizations and managers make is communicating appreciation that is general and impersonal. Sending blast emails with the message, “Good job. Way to go, team!” has no specific significance for the individual who stayed late to get the project completed. Use your colleague’s name and state specifically what he or she does that makes your job easier.
Realize that action can have more impact than words for some employees. Some people (seemingly, often men) do not value verbal praise, holding to the mentality that words are cheap. For these people, compliments are viewed with disbelief and skepticism, and often verbal praise is understood as an act of manipulation. Actions are more effective to show appreciation for these individuals, such as spending time with them at the office or helping to get a task done.
Use the language of appreciation valued by the recipient. Not everyone likes public recognition or social events. One person told me, “You can give me an award but you’ll have to shoot me first before I’ll go up and get it in front of a crowd.” And for many introverts, an invitation to attend a staff appreciation dinner is more like torture than a reward for doing a good job. They may prefer getting a gift card for a bookstore and staying at home and reading. Find out what your co-workers or employees value and communicate in that language.
Separate affirmation from criticism or instruction. If you want the positive message to be heard loud and clear, don’t follow your affirmation with a “Now, if you would only…” message. Don’t offer a compliment followed by a criticism of how the individual could do better. They will only remember the criticism, and may not even hear the positive.
Be genuine. Don’t try to fake it or overstate your appreciation (“You are the best administrative assistant in the free world!”). People can sense when appreciation is obligatory or contrived.
In my practice, I have seen these simple principles of appreciation successfully improve workplace environments previously suffering from a bad case of burnout. Appreciation has the ability to transform any team into being far more productive in a voluntary manner.
To learn more about this and many other areas of effective sales management and leadership, please explore our courses entitled “Leadership in Action” and “Practical Sales Management Strategies for Today” both featuring W. Steven Brown. These systems are designed to be facilitated internally by a client to customize the message to the managers and the company. They help any organization build a method that vastly improves people’s ability to perform. Read how easy the process is.
For a PDF overview of one or both courses to learn more and see how they can be successfully implemented into your organization just request it by clicking here. We appreciate your time and hope this has helped.
Jim Strutton, CEO
© 2011 Accountability Plus, Inc.
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By: W. Steven Brown, Chairman The Fortune Group International, Inc.
This is a synopsis of this former best selling book that has been published in 8 languages. The errors are:
If you look back just 25 years in your business, I would wager you did business much differently than you do today. I would even wager that your business has changed more in the last 5 years than it did in the previous 15. The one constant in business is change. Technology, if nothing else, has forced us to change. When I think of change I remember the years I was serving on a ship in the US Navy. The larger the ship the slower the course change and there is no difference in business. The larger the company the slower the change occurs.
There have been so many businesses that have gone under because they could not change fast enough. We’ve all heard the old adage there is the quick and the dead! I would suggest this is a statement of face and the purpose of this article is to help you help your people adapt and change more quickly. This content comes from two specific courses; “Practical Sales Management Strategies for Today” and “Leadership in Action.” Two courses that can help your managers in greater detail lead their teams quickly through change.
I asked John G. Miller, CEO of QBQ, Inc., and author of “QBQ! The Question Behind the Question,” “Flipping the Switch” and “Outstanding” – 47 ways to make your organization exceptional what he meant by the subject statement and his reply was simple. An organization’s success or failure is about it’s people.
He further said organizations succeed because their people are personally accountable, they have a since of ownership. Continuing, he said this ownership is the result people who practice accountability and there was no finer tool in the market for teaching Personal Accountability than the QBQ! training system.
I then asked him “Why QBQ!?” Again, I received a simple answer, Because it works. He then shared what a QBQ, Inc. client had to say about it …
In part 1 we shared that sales managers must be responsible to their people. So how do we do it? First, we recognize the three causes of failure and treat them in advance. Those causes are not knowing what the job is, how to do the job or someone or something interferes with their desire and/or ability to perform.
It’s true, you can’t be responsible for your people but by necessity you must be responsible to them. There is a big difference between being responsible for someone and being responsible to someone.
When we feel their success or failure is our responsibility, we begin cutting corners for them, making excuses for them and even going so far as to adopting them. Their success or failure is their responsibility, it is not ours. Certainly there are things we can do to aid their success and be responsible to them, and we will cover some of those in part 2 next week. First, we must accept that they are accountable for their success.
Note: Don’t miss the Application Exercise at the end of this QuickNote!
I suppose we all have a phrase or two that we can’t stand hearing. Here’s one for me:
There’s plenty of blame to go around!
Often spoken by someone in the media, it’s a phrase that has become prevalent. Possibly because blame has become popular.
In 35 years in the Training and Development Industry, I have heard so many manager’s say, “I don’t need to train because we only hire experienced people.” The trouble with that statement is what we hire is not always what we get. Additionally, change means train, new technology means train, new systems mean train, new equipment mean train, new policy changes mean train, new products/services mean train, etc.
Kevin Brown, Director of Franchise Sales for SERVPRO in Nashville, TN—a QBQ! believer and Miller friend— makes me think when he says, “Life is fair … bad things happen to all of us.”
How often, though, do we think life is not fair? Ever made statements like these?
The bank got us a “no interest” mortgage we now can’t afford. It’s not fair.
My kids don’t ever listen to me. It’s not fair.
My retirement account is way down. It’s not fair.
I didn’t get the promotion/I lost my job/I was denied a raise.It’s not fair.
Others don’t work as hard as I do. It’s not fair.
My boss doesn’t communicate, coach, or seem to care. It’s not fair.
My employer cut our benefits. It’s not fair.
The referees were awful and we lost the game. It’s not fair.
My staff doesn’t seem to get what we’re trying to do here. It’s not fair.
I listen to others more than they listen to me. It’s not fair.
I’m buried in high interest credit card debt. It’s not fair.
My home is worth less than I owe on it. It’s not fair.
The neighbors have a new boat/car/pool and we don’t. It’s not fair.
My co-workers are difficult and management doesn’t deal with it. It’s not fair.
Professional athletes make more than teachers. It’s not fair.
The government doesn’t exist to take care of me after all. It’s not fair.
Oh, and here’s a bonus one: