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Friday, January 22, 2010

What Motivates Staff?

According to a recent McKinsey survey, three non-financial incentives (led by 'praise and commendation from immediate manager') are more effective motivators than the three highest ranked financial incentives. For more, see - https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Motivating_people_Getting_beyond_money_2460

What Does a Positive Leader Look Like?

The Positive Leadership model of leadership integrates things that people acquire - skills and competencies - and things people develop: values and attributes, with desired results, all of which are capable of being evidenced in situations of pressure.

Positive Leaders:

• aspire to leadership yet maintain humility;

• find mastery in a few areas but value many;

• have a core set of beliefs but embrace the many beliefs of others;

• have clear views and yet are open to the views of others;

• can set a specific direction but have the ability to adapt and adopt;

• have a deep moral structure but hesitate to judge others (as bad or good) too quickly;

• have a wide repertoire of behaviours all of which are authentic;

• speak with their own voice even if representing the position of others;

• embrace paradox with certainty of purpose.

By contrast, failing leaders assume they are the means of success rather than being part of it. The failure results from:

• not using talent and abilities around them;

• directly or indirectly discouraging bad news;

• behaving inconsistently with what they say and with espoused values.

Natural leadership shows up throughout life. People can and do develop into leaders that others will choose to follow. Leadership “competencies” - things that effective leaders do - can be learned. So, true development work must parallel skill or competence acquisition. The result of addressing both is integrity and authenticity.

How do you identify people who are going to make a success of the job?

Looking for the best and the brightest is a good predictor of management, not of leadership success. We should be identifying people who seek development opportunities and grow from them: people who have the ability and desire to learn about self, values and our mental models of the world. Coaching and mentoring have an important role in helping leaders find authenticity.

Never Waste a Good Crisis

Given the natural cynicism of the British, it was easy to get out the sandbags and put up defences as the UK went into recession. No doubt it will prove more difficult to come out of it. But make no mistake, we are on the road to recovery. The question is how businesses will behave at this critical time.

In the good times, organisations grow flabby, comfortable and perhaps a little complacent. But recessions provide an opportunity to get back into shape. No matter how big or small your business, it is a time to put right all the profligacy and excess from the boom.

By excess, we mean the likes of exorbitant hires that go wrong; the launching of products that wouldn’t be touched in the lean times; fuelling advertising and marketing campaigns with little regard for return on investment; expanding into territories that haven’t been researched or experienced; or moving into unnecessary and expensive new buildings.

With a recovery ahead, we stand in a transition phase in which few people will resist changes, be they regulators, consumers or your staff. After all, in the teeth of a recession, tough decisions must be made and everyone knows that. With this in mind, never waste a good crisis. Don’t let the opportunity slip to make all the positive changes you have been thinking about but have not been brave enough to implement.

Far too many businesses have become obsessed with tactical cost-cutting, which is often unsustainable and has the corrosive effect of breathing low morale into the workforce. Whether savings are made by doing away with training and development or slashing marketing budgets, it is clear that these measures can only work in the short term.

The answer is to reinvent your business. Start listening to your customers and frontline operators and you will immediately know what the real problems are and how they should be fixed. And if listening to customers is step one on the road to recovery, step two is acting on that information. Businesses can do so much more for their customers and people in a recession than they can in the good times, yet few do.
One of the oldest of adages about corporate culture – that the way staff are treated is the way they will treat customers – has not been lost on the smartest organisations.

Asda has two principles. The first is to offer everyday low prices to everyone. The second is to ask everybody that applies to join the Asda team, “do you love people?” If the answer is no, applicants progress no further.

To sum it up, companies that create positive experiences will reap rewards in the upturn. On the road to recovery, optimism must be a force multiplier. The most lethal combination is a pessimist and a recession. Those that will come out of recession first will be those who act like they can. They will gravitate towards an opportunity, praise their people and continue marketing aggressively. After all, businesses get the recovery that they deserve.