Culture is measured by what you tolerate and reward.
I once worked for a CEO who had a two pronged focus – financial health and the avoidance of failure. As long as the monthly financials were in line and there was no bad news, he tolerated almost anything. Instead of catching employees doing something good, the emphasis was on catching them doing something wrong. Rule after rule was implemented, designed to prevent something bad from happening. He didn’t value big successes as long as nothing was lost. He avoided feedback. The result: Sunday night found me dreading going to work on Monday morning. I don’t think I was the only employee feeling that way.
I worked for another inspiring CEO who tolerated nothing less than outstanding customer service. He promoted that culture by putting employees first. He inspired us to always go the extra mile and he loved to celebrate the stories of employees delighting our customers. I saw him get angry only once, when members of our senior team were having parking lot conversations instead of going directly to him. He didn’t tolerate the lack of respect and he rewarded risk taking and continuous improvement. He valued feedback that made us stronger. The result: I loved coming to work and so did the other employees. We were making a difference, and it was fun.
What do you tolerate and reward?
Last week I described the leadership lesson our new Shepherd, Evie, taught me about perspective and integrity. This week I’ve learned a whole new lesson. Turns out Evie, who we rescued 3 weeks ago, is a very highly capable working dog. That means she has exceptional capabilities to be a search and rescue dog or a police dog. It also means she has lots of energy and drive. The implication for us as owners is that we have to manage her drive with activity, training, and exercise – at a much higher level than most pets require. It’s like she’s a gifted German Shepherd.
Only 20% of employees feel that they use their true strengths very day in their job. That means 8 our 10 employees are miscast in their roles. As a leader, I would point the finger right back at myself – did I hire appropriately? Or just put a warm body in the job? Just as we now need to work with Evie in special ways to ensure she lives up to her potential, supervisors need to customize they way they work with their employees – to ensure they live up to their potential.
It takes more time and energy on my part – whether training Evie or supervising to an employee’s strengths. But the results? Priceless!
When was the last time you were recognized by your supervisor? We all like to be recognized, but most of our time is spent catching people doing something wrong – so walk the talk and use this list of 50 reasons to practice the Art of Appreciation.
- Resolving a customer complaint
- Submitting a great idea
- Perfect attendance for a year
- Working late to finish a project
- Being a buddy to a new employee
- Helping a co-worker finish their work
- Selling a service/product
- Recruiting a volunteer
- Working on a volunteer committee
- Compliments from co-workers
- Resourcing in-kind donations
- Fund-raising for a project
- Implementing a cost saving procedure
- Recognizing and correcting a safety violation
- Never saying, “It’s not my job”
- Answering the phone consistently using contact point standards
- Completing the most contacts
- Favorable feedback from customers/clients
- Assuring their area is always clean
- Completing a process faster than anyone else
- Having 100% participation in a class or program
- Competing their 30 day orientation period
- Learning a new skill
- Completing a level of training
- Serving as a role model to a child program participant
- Creating a new program or modifying an existing one
- Expanding enrollment
- Improvement of interpersonal skills
- Organizing a special event
- Answering the most questions in a shift
- Doing two jobs while another employee is out sick
- Getting a 100% on a maintenance cleaning check
- Fixing broken equipment within 24 hours
- Getting promoted
- Developing another employee for promotion
- Employment anniversaries
- Serving as an “interim” anything
- Calling a disgruntled customer back while off duty
- Picking up garbage outside the facility
- Always wearing staff id and/or appropriate uniform
- Getting a certification
- Going above and beyond the call of duty for a customer
- Donating money, in kinds service
- Working on a holiday
- Meeting revenue and expense goals
- Locating a lost item
- Preventing theft
- Just for being an important part of the team
Please add to this list!