Take Your Manufacturing Company from Mediocre to Championship Performance

3 Simple Steps That Will Transform Attitudes, Behavior, and Performance in Your Workplace

By Skip Weisman, Weisman Success Resources, Inc., www.YourChampionshipCompany.com 

After experiencing my keynote speech on creating championship attitudes, behavior, and performance in the workplace, business leaders often ask me, “How can I get my employees to think less about themselves and more about doing their jobs better?”

The implication in the question is that the strategies they just heard won’t work for them because their industry, company makeup, community, employees (or some other factor) is unique and different and needs a custom approach.

In fact, the current conditions in their work environment are not that unique. Even if they were, the fundamentals of human motivation still pertain.

But I can’t say that.

I do agree with them to a point and explain that it is a complicated question because human beings are so different and the conditions in each work environment that impact team members’ attitudes, behavior and performance can vary.

But, if we can start with the premise that team members want to do a good job and that they want the company to succeed then there is a simple process you can apply that has proven to be transformative for my clients.

All it takes is implementing a simple three step process called “The 3 A’s:” 

Step1: Ask

Ask the magic question, “what’s getting in your way of doing an even better job?

Step2: Absorb

Invest some time to absorb the answers beyond just listening. This means evaluating each for value, validity, and the variance between what you believe to be true about your company’s work environment and the team member’s personal experience.

Step3: Act

Take action by chunking what you absorb into the 4 categories below and respond accordingly to each item on each of the 4 lists.

  • Yes, we can do this and this is when we will do it.
  • We agree it’s a good idea and something we should do, it’s just not the right time. Let’s revisit this in x timeframe (and keep me honest – you have my permission to ask about it again), here are the conditions we have to meet first.
  • Tell me more about this and how you see it working, I need more information to evaluate it (sell me on it!)
  • No, we can’t do it and never will and here’s why (provide a specific business case answer).

This risk of doing this may be:

  1. Hearing things you won’t like, such as “the problem is you.”
  2. People who pass blame and bring nothing constructive to the situation They will externalize and deflect their role and responsibilities in the issue/item they are presenting.
  3. Bringing things to the surface you’d rather keep down.

Counter arguments:

  1. Isn’t it better to know what people think of you and the company than to have hard feelings and grudges be a drag on workplace productivity and company profits?
  2. People blaming and deflecting responsibility gives you insights that can lead to the conversations that need to take place if you want to turn around attitudes, behavior, and performance. This allows you to dig deeper into the comments, learn the source, and then explore the situation through observable behavior and further inquiry.
  3. Do you want your business to be the Titanic and sink because it didn’t know what was below the surface as it was traveling towards its destination?

The upside benefit of doing this is:

  1. You will know exactly what your people think, and what they need and want in order to do an even better job for you.
  2. You are building greater feelings of ownership in your team of employees by giving them a stake in the environment in which they spend at least 25% of their life. Human beings are autonomous creatures and will thrive in environments where they feel a sense of control. Giving them the opportunity to contribute to their environment is refreshing, freeing, and engaging.
  3. People will bring profitable high value ideas to the fore that you and your leadership may not see because you’re not closer to the action.

Four Essential Ingredients to Ensure Success:

  1. CONSISTENCY: The process must be done consistently – probably no less than 2x per year, and quarterly is probably best.
  2. CAPTURE & REPORT PROGRESS: Create a system for capturing and categorizing all ideas, report back on ALL the items you heard and their source, and show which of the 4 stages each is at. Create a newsletter or some other medium to send out to all team members so everyone knows what’s happening and what’s being reported on progress.

The better you do this, the sooner you will build trust in the process so that you can get to the real ideas and be able to mine the real diamonds your team members have that can build your company even stronger.

  1. PATIENCE: Be patient with the process, as people will be skeptical at first and will only feel safe sharing things they’re comfortable with. It will take time for people to trust that you’re serious about this. Doing it just one or two times will make it a flavor of the month and good ideas will fall into a black hole, thus setting this process up for failure and rendering any future initiative dead on arrival.
  2. REWARDS: Your team members must be able to participate in the value they bring to the company with their specific ideas. If ideas save money or generate revenue, employees should receive bonuses and rewards related to their specific ideas and contributions.

As your company grows. and profits and income increase, you have to share the wealth to those who have made it possible in ways you never could without their input. Create a bonus system based on increased profitability from the time the program began.

Make the investment with this process and I guarantee you will have the most engaged workforce in your industry and community, and your employees will begin to lose the “us” vs. “them” mindset and you will both feel like you’re actually working together.

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