It’s sad that when a guy does it right that we get excited, our expectations are so low. We expect things to go wrong and somehow they do — a lot! It’s such a struggle. What should we be doing to lead our company in a better direction, where doing it right is the norm, and we celebrate real excellence?
THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Celebrating when things go right is good, it’s the standard of excellence that needs work. Be clear about whether or not people want to play your game and give decision-making power. Know that you can’t save someone who won’t try to save themselves. Things can get so much easier.
I happen to think that most businesses need more celebrating, not less. It’s even possible to celebrate when things fail. Failure can help you to discover how to operate better. It’s a problem when there’s no attempt to learn, adapt or change, when things are going wrong.
Some people think that ringing a bell, or handing out gift cards or sending around certificates are a waste of time, or too silly. Think about how it felt when your efforts were recognized and everyone around you knew that you did a good job. For most people, if they’re honest, it feels pretty good to be recognized. You can do the same for your employees, without much extra effort.
Here’s one place to start. When things go wrong, pull everyone together and ask them to diagnose what went wrong. And then ask them how to do it differently and then let them try.
When things go wrong, it’s tempting to focus on the bad stuff — what’s it going to cost, how it effects other things, the disruptions. Instead, challenge your team to think past the immediate breakdown, to see where they are trying to get to. And then ask them to find a different route to success.
When things go wrong, check if it’s an attitude, behavior or skill problem. Attitudes of “I don’t care, I’ll just do the minimum;” or “It doesn’t matter;” and behaviors of, “It’s not my fault;” are deadly in any organization. Deal with poor attitudes and behavior swiftly. Tell people to check their attitudes at the door. Be sure they follow your direction and lead by example.
On the other hand, lack of skill is not a reason to jump on someone. Make sure you have the right person for the job. If employees get something wrong because they lack the skills, work with them, teach them the skills and assign someone to take the lead.
When you pull people together to discuss why things went wrong, and what to do next, be prepared to step out of the way and let the group lead. You want people who are engaged; don’t hold them back by telling them how to do it. Everyone learns best when asked to solve the problems they’ve created.
Watch how your employees respond. Make it clear that ignoring problems is unacceptable. Find out if they will step up and take action to fix things. If they don’t, ask them why. If they just don’t know what to do, or they don’t have time or energy to get to the problem, call them out. Think about whether you need to make a change. Don’t let a bad attitude pollute your workforce.
When you pull together a team of people who are committed to getting better and better, your life will get so much easier. You will have less need to step in, your employees will be happier and you can all focus on celebrating all the wins together.
LOOKING FOR A GOOD BOOK? Try “Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders,” by L. David Marquet and Stephen R. Covey.
Andi Gray is president of Strategy Leaders Inc., a business-consulting firm that teaches companies how to double revenue and triple profits in repetitive growth cycles. Have a question for AskAndi? Wondering how Strategy Leaders can help your business thrive? Call or email for a free consultation and diagnostics: 877-238-3535, AskAndi@StrategyLeaders.com. Check out our library of business advice articles: AskAndi.com.