• Employee Engagement: What is it?

    love-my-job

    We’ve been hearing a lot about employee engagement. It sounds like a good thing, but what is it, really? How do you know when you have it (and don’t have it), and how can you get it? I’m so glad you’ve asked.

    Employee engagement is a condition in which team members feel valued and involved enough with a company to willingly and positively contribute all of their ability for the betterment of the business.

    Sounds great, right? How does an employee come to feel valued and make the decision to invest all of him or herself in their employer’s business? It starts during the job interview, and continues through retirement…and it’s always the responsibility of the employer.

    There is a deficit of employee engagement, and the epidemic is global.

    Only 13% of employees, worldwide, report feeling engaged at work[1].

    This is bad news for employees in general; however, it’s great news for you, an employer. This is a prime opportunity to be the employer who engages, and to therefore attract the best and most dedicated talent to your business.

    As a growing and thriving business, you want your employees to wake up excited to go to work. You want them to arrive ready to go and always be thinking of new ways to improve the customer experience, operational efficiency, your product line and your bottom line.

    Highly engaged employees are 38% more likely to have above-average productivity2.

    This is what engagement looks like. And here’s how you can get it:

    • Your business has a set of core values that it abides by and demonstrates through all media (or at least it should). Whenever a person is being considered for employment with your company, you must determine if he or she shares those same values as part of their personal and professional credos. When values align, engagement comes much more easily. When they don’t, there will be a struggle…every day.
    • Create a feeling of ownership for every employee, no matter their job description. Whether the team member is head of a department or a new-hire, make it clear how what they do contributes to the overall success of the business. Show them the results of jobs well-done and give them credit whenever they’re responsible or accountable. When everyone feels like a significant part of the effort, they will not only do a better job, they will do it as if they were doing it for themselves.
    • Keeping everyone informed is another great way to nurture engagement. With every piece of relevant information shared (profits, KPIs, etc.), you will increase feelings of value and ownership.
    • Give employees the freedom to come to you with problems, as well as the freedom to make decisions pertinent to their roles and the freedom to be creative with their jobs—without the fear of reprimand. This is the type of environment in which company advocates and forward-thinking innovators are born. Provide this, and you’ll have every employee striving to improve your business.
    • Utilise an open-feedback policy, in which all team members feel the liberty to speak honestly about all matters, whether positive or negative, without fear of repercussion. This not only feels like ownership and feeds engagement, it works toward building a strong brand, overall.

    We have only scratched the surface of employee engagement here. If you’re hoping for more advice on engaging your employees so that you can grow your business more effectively, we should talk. We can accomplish a lot in 30 minutes, and I invite you contact me to schedule that consultation. Your employees will thank you—with higher-level involvement, positive workplace attitudes and a bottom line that proves you’re doing it right.

    [1] Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace

    2Workplace Research Foundation

     

  • Are You Brave Enough to Develop your Leadership Skills?

    Facing the challengeAs a business leader you will have spent time learning some hard skills to be effective at managing your business. For instance: technical skills to deliver your product or service, managing the supply chain, basic accounting skills, budgeting, ensuring compliance in your industry, marketing and sales skills and many similar functions.

    What you may not have done whilst running and growing your business is spend time mastering soft skills that support your ability to communicate effectively, prioritise tasks and create aligned high performance teams. Unfortunately, the perception is often that “soft skills” are, well…soft and fluffy, however they are just as crucial to business success as the more recognized “hard skills”.

    Make no mistake learning and developing these so called soft skills is anything but soft. Learning these leadership skills is extremely challenging as it requires you to step out of your comfort zone and change your thinking, beliefs and behaviours to get the results that you want.

    So I always ask leaders before they embark upon a leadership skills programme with me:“How brave are you?”

    • Are you brave to take the right decisions as a leader, even if they are not the easiest?

    • Are you brave enough to let go of the levers of power to allow your staff to take on greater responsibility?

    • Are you brave enough to listen, consider and accept someone else’s opinion?

    • Are you brave enough to be responsible and put your hand up when things don’t go as planned?

    • Are you brave enough to be accountable and do whatever it takes to get the task done – no excuses?

    • Are you brave enough to have a meaningful conversation and ask your employees what they really think?

    If you want to be a great leader these are just some of the questions that you will need to ask yourself every day to lead you people and business to success.

    “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Churchill

    So what are the key soft leadership skills that you will need to master to become a great leader?

    1) Promote change – Want to, be willing to and believe that change is possible. Change starts from within changing your mind set and then changing the mind set within the organisation. Be the change you want to see.

    2) Inspire and motivate otherscreate a vision that is compelling so that employees have a purpose and know that what they do has an impact on customers and communities.

    3) Be authentic – tell the truth to your staff and always walk your talk.

    4) Manage yourselfself-awareness brings its own rewards and the more that you can manage yourself and the better you will be able to manage and lead others.

    5) Drive for results and be accountable – always do what you say that you are going to do and be accountable to your staff and customers. Focus on getting results not giving or accepting reasons. Make things happen!

    6) Be responsible – be willing to own up to mistakes if you make them. Take responsibility for your actions.

    7) Communicate powerfully and prolifically – whatever the method: 1:1 conversation, team meetings, email messages, phone or Skype calls, or anything else, just communicate regularly with your staff.

    8) Build relationships – we live in the era of connectivity and collaboration. The stronger your relationships with the members of your team, your customers and suppliers, others in your industry, and your community the better a leader you will be.

    9) Empower others – listen, support and encourage your team to step out of their comfort zone. Look for talented employees and give them the chance to learn and develop new skills. You are training them to become your company’s next generation of great leaders.

    10) Be focused and committed – learn to prioritise the important but not urgent tasks and commit to getting them done.

    11) Innovate – continually look for how you can improve and do things better, in your company, in your community, in the world.

    12) Look for solutions – don’t accept problems or moaners in your company– always focus on supporting your staff to find the solutions.

    So how brave are you? Are you willing to step up and work on developing your soft leadership skills and being the best leader you can be?

    Contact me via email or phone to have a free 30-minute consultation to find out how you can develop your leadership skills to help you accelerate the growth of your business.

  • Who’s stealing your Time???

    2014-08-04 16.23.38

    Who doesn’t wish that there were an extra two or three hours in the day to just get everything done?  One of the most pressing issues that we face daily is how to manage all the demands placed on us by work, family, friends and others, whilst also maintaining our health, well-being and emotional sanity.

    It is all too easy to become victims of working too hard, playing too little, perhaps drinking too much and sleeping too poorly.  No wonder we end up drawn out and stressed, feeling like we are barely surviving rather than living with passion.  Whilst I am a big supporter of endeavouring to be more, do more, have more, give more, this cannot be to the detriment of our inner alignment and ensuring a fully balanced life.

    How can we stop this vicious cycle of feeling constantly that there is not enough time?

    The first place to start is to ask: “Where is my time going?”

    To Do or Not To Do?

    Do you start your day with a clear achievable plan of what you want in terms of results for your day?  Or are you just blindly following your “To Do” list?  I know that for much of my adult life I have let my To Do list be the dictator in my life.  My To Do list is never satisfied; it is a hard task master and never acknowledges me.

    No matter how hard you work during the day do you end the day feeling a sense of overwhelm with just how many things that there are still on your list?

    So here is some bad news…there will always be too many things on your list to ever get finished.  The good news though is that you can change how you view your To Do list so that you become master of it and use it to serve you in your life to get what you want.

    The first place to start is to use Steven Covey’s time management matrix (from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) to assess what is important to you and how you are spending your time.

    So create a table like the one below with 4 boxes labelled as shown in the diagram. Re write all your To Dos in each of these 4 boxes depending on each task’s level of urgency and importance.

    Isabel

    Like most people you will probably find that most of your To Dos are in quadrant 1 whilst those tasks in quadrant 2 (those what will make a positive difference in your life) perhaps keep getting moved from one To Do list to another e.g. update CV, write chapter of my book, create business plan, organise “date night”, go to new yoga class etc.

    One of the key ways to feel a sense of accomplishment every day is to look at your To Dos daily and pick at least one thing from quadrant 2 and make sure that you take one step towards completing the task each day.  This way you know that you are moving forward and step by step making a difference in your life.

    Where Does Time Go?

    How can we ensure that there is enough time to get done some of the things in quadrant 2?

    One important exercise is to start monitoring how you are actually spending your time.  This will help you to raise your awareness to see if you are getting results or simply “being busy”. It is very easy to be the latter so start by splitting your day into 15 minute slots and use the same quadrants you have created previously to note down how you spend your time.

    If you are like me when I did this exercise I was amazed by just how much time was spent in quadrants 3 and 4.  These are areas where time can be regained as To Dos in quadrant 3 and 4 can often be ditched as they are either other people’s agenda, or it is simply wasting time (e.g. filing, cleaning, meetings without purpose etc).  If you want time to do things in quadrant 2 note how you spend your time and start to limit or entirely stop doing these To Dos in quadrants 3&4.

    You can only improve that which you measure.

    Small steps pursued consistently lead to massive change.  Learning how to manage your time is a key skill to master, to help you feel more fulfilled each day and enjoy a sense of well-being and achievement.

    Try these two small steps for the coming week (review your daily To Do’s using the Covery time matrix model and monitor how you spend your time), and see what a difference it makes to you.

    As always awareness brings its own rewards and note what happens this week when you do these exercises.

    My own experience is that by monitoring my time and making sure that every day I do something from quadrant 2, I have found myself becoming more efficient and less distracted by activities in quadrant 3&4. Over time I have learnt to spend less time in fire-fighting mode and more time focused on really moving my life forward and spending it doing what I love.

    Certainly by making and spending time doing things that are important to you, life feels less “busy” and you start generating positive results in your life helping you to feel more fulfilled and stay aligned to your highest purpose.

    For more information on how to create aligned, high performance teams click here to get your free e-book:

    Engage, Enthuse and Empower your Teams

  • 4

    10 Tips To Help You Live A Life Of Passion

    I believe that passion has become rather one dimensional in our lives, with the focus only on sexual desire.  What a shame.  Passion is actually gloriously multi-dimensional, expressing powerful and compelling feelings or emotions and bringing life into vivid Technicolor.

    Living our lives with passion though is not how most of us choose to live.    Most of us go through life wishing we were somewhere else, doing something else or living somehow differently.     When was the last time in your life that you truly felt the blood pumping in your veins, your heart uplifted and experienced being totally in the moment?

    But “passion can be dangerous” you say.  Goodness, who knows where living passionately will lead us! How much easier to play safe and stay in our comfort zone, dulling the emotions and flattening our life experience.

    For the brave who choose to take the path to a passionate life, the journey takes time and is undoubtedly challenging.   If you are up for the adventure the rewards are profound.  Whilst the destination will vary the features are the same: a life lived with passion is one filled with joy, enthusiasm, simplicity, a sense of purpose, energy and feeling of being connected to yourself.

    Choosing to live your life with passion starts with shifting your mind-set.  It requires deciding that living a life with passion is a goal worth pursuing.  Apathy and lassitude are prevailing forces in our culture, so learning to live a passionate life requires discipline and commitment to overcome these tendencies.

    To pledge to a passionate life requires overcoming a lack of belief that is it possible to do so.  It requires giving up closed or negative thinking that can keep us stuck.  It requires focus, responsibility and the requirement to simplify life.  No one can be passionate if they are feeling cluttered, overscheduled and overwhelmed in life.  Being passionate by definition means to experience powerful emotions.  It is not possible to live a passionate life if you are emotionally unhealthy e.g. depressed, anxious, stressed etc.

    Passion in life starts with having a vision, goal or desire that inspires you, helping you to move towards what you want to be, do or have.  As with changing any old ways of thinking and behaving living life with passion takes time and is testing.  Being willing to keep going no matter what is one of the keys to living a life you love.

    How can you live a life with passion?

    1)      Take time – you can’t make changes in life unless you make time to reflect.

    2)      Change how you see yourself – consider who would you have to be to live the life you want?

    3)      Believe in yourself – you are the creator of your life. You are 100% responsible. You can make it happen.

    4)      Speak from the heart – dare to be honest with yourself and then with others.

    5)      BWTEIM (begin with the end in mind) – create a clear vision of what you really want your life to look like and stick your flag in the sand in front of you.  Now you have a destination.

    6)      Face your fear – look it square in the eyes and take the first step anyway.

    7)      Shut out the self-chatter – be an observer and don’t get enrolled in your mental noise.  Keep focused on vision.

    8)      Write it down – get it out of your head and onto paper in words or pictures.  This helps clarify our thinking and makes it real.

    9)      Look for fun – we miss so many amazing things in life by being so busy, keep an eye out for what brings you joy and happiness.

    10)   Keep going – learning and growth happens in your breakdowns. Have courage, be committed be curious.

    One really good coaching question I like to ask clients who may be stuck looking for their purpose and passion is to ask them:

    “What would you be doing if you only had a short time to live and/or money was no object?”

    I ask this to you now.  I would love to hear in the comments below what are you passionate about?