Is Our Culture Off Track?
What are the signs of a workplace culture in need of shifting? Are you noticing a disconnect between what leaders are trying to accomplish and what employees are internalizing? We recommend 6 actions to stop doing and 6 actions to start doing to positively accelerate your culture.
Create rituals that energize
Routines provide structure and comfort within our teams. Rituals go beyond providing structure to instill a deeper meaning behind a sequence of actions. In this podcast episode, Dr. Janet Pilcher shares one of the most important rituals we can instill in our teams along with 6 suggestions to consider.
Details matter if you want to make an impact
Have you ever felt a particular duty or aspect of your work was insignificant, small, or maybe even meaningless? In this podcast episode, our host Dr. Janet Pilcher shares a powerful story of the humble beginnings that led to Kyle Johnston becoming the head athletic trainer for the Miami Dolphins.
Do We Always Ask the Same Rounding Questions?
When leaders round with employees on a routine basis, they harvest valuable information and form a trusting relationship. Although we like to start with 4 specific questions, it can be helpful to personalize your rounding conversations over the course of your relationship.
We All Reach Crossroads
It seems sometimes there are no easy decisions. It can be uncomfortable for us to lead in a place of uncertainty. However, as this podcast guest explains, leadership isn't comfortable. In order to create better organizations and communities, we’ll need to embrace the discomfort of doing what’s right.
What can "Connect to Purpose" sound like?
In our work and personal lives we all want to feel that what we do matters. Giving, serving, leaning into our values, and thinking about others can all help fuel us with a sense of purpose, as our podcast guests share during their connect to purpose stories.
What Makes Customers Loyal?
To be an organization that generates and retains loyal customers, we place a high value on service. As a result, we listen to customer feedback and analyze that information for opportunities for improvement. We can’t improve what we can’t understand, therefore we listen.
Jump All-In to Improve
After implementing improvement science, many leaders find themselves wondering if they are, in fact, making any improvements and find it difficult to define and sustain progress. In this podcast episode, Superintendent Ryan Carpenter discusses why his team made a commitment to adopt a continuous improvement mindset and tips for implementing an Evidence-Based Leadership℠ framework across the school system.
What Makes a Successful Team?
With substantial pressure on workers and teams to learn new skills, generate innovative and creative products and services, and collaborate to solve complicated problems, we are realizing a need for team members to build deeper connections and take greater risks. To accomplish this, we embrace vulnerability.
Vulnerability is a Strength
For years, people have felt the need to “shut off” or conceal their emotions in the workplace. Now, we are realizing, effective leaders tune into the emotions of their employees to provide support, motivate teams, and create deeper connections between individuals.
Innovation Isn't Always What You Think It Is
Innovation is a topic we hear a lot about in the workplace, but it’s often misunderstood. Being innovative means more than just coming up with cool things to do. Innovation doesn’t have to be big and different, and it’s not something only geniuses do. In this episode, listen as Dr. JoAnn Sternke discusses with our host how true creativity and innovation can emerge as we focus on adding value.
How do you respond when you don't know all the answers?
Times of change and uncertainty can be unsettling for employees. Have you ever been asked a question you don't have the answer to yet? The Manage Up With Empathy Tool is designed to help you respond in a way that builds confidence in the listener despite the unknowns.
How Do Organizations Succeed Through Difficult Times?
Resilient organizations are able to improve faster because they place emphasis on and build disciplined routines around people, service, and alignment. To cultivate a culture of resilience leaders align people to goals, take time to routinely reflect, and communicate transparently with all stakeholders.
How Resilient Are You?
A resilient organization does more than respond to change, crisis, or threats. To establish a culture of resilience, leaders model resilient behaviors, use the language of resiliency, and inspire teams to keep moving forward. Review the four critical characteristics of resilient leaders.
Bring Teams Together
In this podcast, a school district leader describes how his team came together to solve problems amid disruption. Corey credits his team's success to their culture and guiding principles established across the system to make decisions and collaborate for the benefit of their students.
What Does Success During a Crisis Look Like?
How engaged is your workforce in times of crisis? Have you helped them define what success looks like? When people are feeling anxious and overwhelmed by change, this podcast encourages leaders to be empathetic, trust your team, and make the best decisions you can.
Develop a Personalized Onboarding Agenda for New Hires
As new employees join our organization, it’s helpful to develop a personalized onboarding schedule for their first few weeks on the job. A comprehensive onboarding experience prepares the new employee thoroughly for their new role.
Expectations + Accountability = Shared Vision
Leading an executive team is no easy task. Leading an executive team that's comprised of new executives can be even more challenging. How can leaders of executive teams bring individuals together to execute on a shared vision while also maintaining a focus on developing each individual?
Trust: The Foundation for Successful Teams
As the pace of change continues to increase, the demand on individuals and teams to become more agile is higher than ever. Whether you have a mixture of new and old team members, or a completely new set of people working together, it’s critical to build trust as a team before goals can be accomplished together.
Drive Strategy & Build Relationships
Sabrina Hebeler joins Janet Pilcher to discuss one of the key tenets of Sabrina’s role; to help everyone understand and follow the strategic direction of their organization. Discover the core actions and specific tactics Sabrina used to support the break down of silos on the executive team to help her organization do the most important things to achieve success.
Invest in an Onboarding Experience
You’ve examined the resumes, conducted the interviews, and selected the most talented individuals to add to your team. When their first day arrives, how can you ensure an onboarding process that will be supportive, engaging, and reflective of your organization’s culture and values is in place?
How do you know it's time to let go?
As leaders we care about the individuals who make up our teams. However our reluctance to address low performers can actually be doing more harm than good for our teams. For an organization to become great, leaders need to dig deep, find the problems, who the problem people are, and address poor performance and/or behavior.
Give People a Reason to Return
Excellent service doesn’t happen by accident. Service excellence is deeply rooted in the culture and values of organizations that outperform their competitors. When organization’s prioritize service excellence as a core value, they ensure it’s infused in everything they do.
Define What Excellent Service Means
When we ask our teams to deliver excellent service, it’s important to explain what “excellent service” means for your organization. To build on the explanation and increase the understanding and delivery of service that goes above and beyond, employees benefit from ongoing communication about standards of service.
Let Service Standards Lead the Way
In this video, Dan explains how his human resources and leadership teams use their standards of service in their hiring and evaluations. When we use the standards of service excellence to evaluate potential candidates, we are more likely to hire a person aligned with our culture and committed to our values.
Be the Organization Individuals Want to Work for
Organizations that are known for being "Best Places to Work" benefit from their reputation with higher quality candidates and better retention of high performing employees. Great workplaces aren't built with flashy benefits, they are cultures of collaboration around a meaningful mission able to engage and inspire employees.
Is Your Team Engaged?
Sustaining high levels of employee engagement can be achieved by building relationships, affirming the individual’s value, removing barriers, and providing development and growth opportunities to employees. Use the following questions to analyze the employee experience for your team.
What's eroding your team's morale?
Employees and leaders suffering from low morale are the ultimate silent killers for an organization. Actively disengaged employees are costing the American economy billions per year in lost productivity. How can leaders recognize low-moral and re-engage team members before the organization's success is jeopardized?
What makes you happy?
Most employees start work with passion, excitement, and willingness to take on new challenges. Over time, some employees may find themselves in a rut, dreading going to work each day. As leaders, it’s critical to work with employees to link their job roles with the mission of the organization and their internal passions.
...It's more than giving away free stuff!
Viewing customer complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve can reduce the number of complaints an organization will receive in the future. Establish a process that handles customer complaints in a way that resolves the issue while retaining customers.
Does your organization open up on social media?
People use social media to connect with others and stimulate conversations. In time, organizations have recognized the many benefits of using social media to humanize their brand and connect with their communities. Why should your organization consider using social media to increase transparency?
Only You Can Stop It
We will have days when we face challenges, obstacles, and we may even choose to feel like the world is against us or we don't control what's happening to us. Facing up and down moments in our career is inevitable. How you choose to deal with those moments will affect your relationships, productivity, and future opportunities.
How Do We Really Know They're on Board?
All team members crave alignment to the overall direction of the organization to accelerate performance. People are counting on leaders to model the right behaviors, including the organization's most senior leader. It's the responsibility of this senior leader to engage employees, by keeping all of the executive leaders aligned to the goals, and to address any behavior that may be out of line.
Saying Nothing IS Saying Something
You may observe repeated behavior from others that is not in line with your organization's culture. Talking to that person about their behavior and the impact it has on the team and the results can help them become more aware and correct their actions. Plan for having an impact conversation with your colleagues by following these guidelines.
What You Allow Will Continue
Addressing behaviors and actions that are not aligned to the organizations' values and policies is crucial to improve organizational performance. Before high performers and other employees become distracted its important to initiate a conversation to correct the non-compliant behaviors with a focus on improvement.
Know what you're going to say
Before sitting down to speak with your employees, it can be useful to prepare for the conversation. Preparation allows us to convey the information we intend, and build the best relationship possible with our team. Here's a guide to help you prepare for these conversations.
Is your executive team under-performing?
Just because executives are accustomed to improving results and high performance, doesn't mean they will work well together. Only 18% of senior executives surveyed, rated their team as “very effective” with respect to their executive responsibilities. The Center for Creative Leadership offers 5 key actions to develop your executive team.
Call It How You See It
Values and standards of behavior are essential to high performing organizations. They only work when respected by all team members. Having conversations with a colleague you feel has violated your organization's values is one way to assure everyone stays on course and their is continuous respect of standards.
People appreciate being appreciated
Any organization committed to recruiting and retaining top talent must learn the art of appreciating that talent. Top companies realize this, so it's no surprise that employee recognition programs are quickly becoming one of the fastest growing areas of talent management.
Isn't that what you get paid to do?
Unless structures are established to promote gratitude in the workplace, employees are unlikely to say "thanks" for support provided or a job well done. Research in this article reveals the positive impact of expressions of gratitude by colleagues, including increased satisfaction and engagement.
7 Standards of Service Excellence: Creating a World-Class Customer Service Through High-Touch Interactions
Gratitude makes a difference
Showing gratitude is necessary for a healthy workplace culture and the opportunity for employees to experience true engagement in the workplace. Intentional expressions of gratitude by leaders provide opportunities for peers to express gratitude and help employees reconnect to purpose and worthwhile work.
What does a compliance conversation look like?
Compliance conversations are some of the toughest for leaders. They are also the most essential. Leaders can't afford to not address non-compliance. The supervisor in this clip takes a firm approach to clarifying expectations, describes the impact of non-compliance, checks for understanding, and asks for a commitment to change the behavior.
Once is not enough.
A single communication of standards is not enough. Systematically keeping standards of service excellence at the forefront reinforces understanding and helps employees see how they impact the daily work. This email message is an example of an organization’s process for highlighting one standard each month and clearly connecting the behavior to the workplace.
How do I know if my employees are connected to the standards of service excellence?
Asking team members to describe what newly defined standards mean to them is one way to make them come alive in the organization. In this video, a variety of stakeholders were asked to share their thoughts on the Actions of Excellence in Warren County Public Schools.
Create ownership in standards of excellence.
Standards of service excellence guide the way teams work together and with the community. In this video, three principals in Warren County Public Schools describe how they engaged stakeholders to define the district's Actions of Excellence, gather feedback on the standards, and roll them out to all staff.
Low-cost, high-impact gratitude.
Embedding gratitude into your daily work begins with intentionally noticing actions and behaviors that are aligned to the mission and values of your organization. In this article excerpt, Quint Studer discusses how thank you notes can help sustain operational excellence and explains how to hardwire the process.
The High-Stakes Impact of Failing to Re-recruit
The research from this educational context is certainly transferable to any sector. In this article, we learn how a simple question could have convinced an irreplaceable employee to stay. Top performers are more likely to stick with leaders who actively re-recruit them.
Keep track of the good stuff.
Starting a meeting with a Manage Up and other wins is great way to build a positive culture. What if you can't remember if you already recognized the person at the last meeting? The Manage Up/Reward & Recognition Tracking Form helps leaders keep up with who is being recognized on the team and the good work being done.
Can I make people want to be better?
Managing Up is a behavior that is essential for reducing anxiety, building teamwork, and eliminating a culture of negative communication. The practice of managing up paints the receiver and sender of the positive communication in a positive light. It also encourages more of the right work and behaviors we want to see in our organization.
Communicate expectations and recognize good work.
How we communicate matters. Modeling positive and respectful communication sets the example and expectation for how to communicate and interact in our organization. When leaders model the way and manage up people and their specific actions, we communicate our expectations, while recognizing good work.
The Elephant in the Room: Getting Comfortable with Feedback
Every leader has to own results and commit to improvement. This executive leader explains how being authentic, openly sharing results, and choosing one or two important actions to focus on leads to improvement at all levels.
Are you fully invested?
High performing organizations want to fill their employee ranks with owners and effective leaders seek to recruit employees who exhibit ownership, while at the same time strategically developing ownership in current employees. Fortunately, leaders can find, hire, and retain owners within their organizational ranks.
How can I guarantee five-star service?
People want to work in organizations known for excellent service. We have all experienced the person who is clearly not smiling on the other end of the phone, not happy to see us walk in the door, or not willing to help us get to the right office. When organizations establish and hold each other accountable to standards of service excellence, a culture of high performance is fostered.
Help everyone connect to the big picture
High-performing organizations make a real commitment to employee communication, not only at the department level, but also at the administrative level. This allows employees to hear key messages, be informed on key issues, and focus on what they can do to improve.