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Let's Talk

Nov

16

2011

Listening to WBOC?

Culture/Leadership

Did you know that all your employees are tuned in and listening to WBOC? Are you? It's a great station, you should check it out!

More about WBOC in a minute, but did you know that employee engagement is one of the number one forces that drive business results? Engaged employees focus more on the details of their daily activities, come up with more effective ways to manage people and processes and collectively establish an overall better place to work. Your customers notice this and they will respond favorably. An engaged workforce is where your customers want to do business.

A committed team is the first step to building employee engagement. But it does not start with commitment alone. People have to be lead to the commitment state. The road to commitment does not have to be a long and frustrating journey. Not just for the leader, but for the leadee (aka the manager) too. If the leader can surround herself with a committed group of managers, how then do these managers get commitment from their teams to get the engagement to drive business results the leader is looking for? By the way, a leader should follow this same process; however, they are not building plans, they are establishing business objectives that will fulfill the vision.

It's simple in theory, but obviously hard in practice. Losing weight is simple: burn more calories than you eat and you lose weight. While the managers are writing their strategic plans that are aligned to the leaders' business objectives, they should take a long look at the people who will actually be implementing the plans.

This is when you crank up the volume on WBOC. The worst thing a manager can do is write a plan - even the best plan in the history of plans-and hand it over, which also includes having a plan kick-off meeting with a team of people to do-the-work.

W stands for weigh-in. The manager will want to first get weigh-in from the implementation team. Weigh-in is asking, "From your experience, and from your area of expertise you will play in the plan, what do you think?" Sometimes it's as easy as giving someone the opportunity to have a say.

B stands for buy-in. A manager will have a difficult time 'selling' someone in order to achieve buy-in. People who have bought-in, truly-bought-in are the ones who feel like their voices are being heard. Because buy-in is only the half-way point to a committed workforce.

O stands for ownership. Some managers think they own the plan. They don't own the plan, their team does. The manager manages the plan and the people who are doing the work. The implementors, the “doers”, own the plan, but only if they have had the opportunity to weigh-in and get to the buy-in stage. The manager sometimes needs to spend a little time 'selling' at this stage and a little less at the 'buy-in' stage.

C stands for commitment. If I have invested my days, weeks and months on implementing a plan with a group of my fellow team members and the plan we own produces the desired results, we as a team feel successful. I feel that I have invested my time in something that is worthwhile. The feeling of accomplishment and a job well done is a great feeling, and if my manager acknowledges me and my fellow team mates for it, well, that's a pretty good day (and if someone on the team is not pulling their weight, it may have the tendency to take care of itself).

The manager must build in to the plan a way to measure the results. Otherwise, how do I build commitment when I can't measure results? Did you ever hear the saying, "if you don't measure it you can't manage it", much less make sure that it is tied to the desired business objective that started this whole process anyway?

A committed team will want to do it over again, because they like the feeling of contributing to something larger than themselves. Commitment is only the beginning of employee engagement. True employee engagement is when a manager and other fellow managers running parallel plans with parallel teams repeat this process successfully time and time again.

For more information on the ROE methodology, please check out the book, ROE powers ROI.

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