Strategists in Human Capital!
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Employee Engagement Summary

Employee Engagement 2.0

"Only 34% of employees are engaged at work."
- Employee Engagement 2.0, page 4
Job satisfaction is at an all-time low. TGIF is considered a normal way to think. Does it have to be that way? Kevin Kruse doesn’t think so. He shows us how to help our teams be more engaged in Employee Engagement 2.0.
Kevin is globally recognized as a leading expert in employee engagement and leadership. He is a New York TimesWall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author and Forbes columnist.
He discovered answers from necessity. When his first company failed and he found himself deeply in debt living out of his one-room office and showering at the YMCA, he discovered the power of Wholehearted Leadership and employee engagement. He went on to build and sell several multimillion dollar technology companies, winning both Inc. 500 and Best Place to Work.
In this book he exposes a recipe for eight weeks to employee engagement.
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The Golden Egg

The benefits of an engaged employee

"Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to the organization and its goals."
- Employee Engagement 2.0, page 6
We have all done satisfaction surveys. But to what end? Kevin explains that satisfied doesn’t mean engaged. This is a big misconception. Someone could be satisfied at work watching the clock and checking boxes. Engaged employees care more and work harder. They aren’t just doing it because they have to, for the paycheck or even to get a better corner office.
Why do you want an engaged employee? There are tremendous benefits for your company. These are the people who will use discretionary effort to go the extra mile. They work just as hard on Monday morning as Friday afternoon. They are less likely to be lured away by the call of a head hunter. You therefore incur less recruiting costs, lower training and on-boarding costs. It is the secret sauce that leads to higher stock price.
In a study conducted by Kenexa, the most engaged companies had five times higher total shareholder return over five years compared to least engaged. A Towers Perrin study shows that engaged companies have 6% higher net profit margins.
Culture always trumps strategy. If you have the best strategy in the world, but the people implementing that strategy don’t care, guess what? It doesn’t matter how good your strategy is. And the reverse is true. Maybe your strategy isn’t quite right, but you have engaged people working on it. Well, they will make it work.
Perhaps most importantly, engagement has an incredible impact on the quality of the lives of your people and their families. Did you know that if a parent has a bad day at work, his/her child is more likely to misbehave in school the next day? If you want your people (and you!) to be happier in life, enjoy better health, better marriages and happier kids, engagement is key.
Think about the ripple effect of your efforts to create employee engagement!

Gem #1

Communicate GReAT

"People join companies but leave their boss."
- Employee Engagement 2.0, page 20
Kevin bluntly tells us “You are responsible for the engagement of your team. Don’t look elsewhere.” 70% of the variance in engagement comes from one’s relationship with one’s boss.
But then he softens the blow with some good news that you can do this! You can increase your employees’ engagement. He teaches us how. A Google search yields many complex models but Kevin believes it can be boiled down to four things:
  1. Communication – Do your team members feel that there is frequent, consistent two-way communication?
  2. Growth and Development – Do your team members feel like they are learning new things and advancing their careers?
  3. Recognition and Appreciation – Do your team members feel appreciated and that their ideas count?
  4. Trust and Confidence – Do your team members trust the leadership and have confidence in the organization’s future?

Gem #2

Eight weeks to engagement

"To make engagement a daily priority, focus less on the profit reason and more on the people reason."
- Employee Engagement 2.0, page 75
Kevin outlines a plan to increase your employee engagement in only eight weeks. A great place to start is to authentically connect with your people and your desire to help them. Then read his book and commit to applying the tips.
Week 1: Build a survey – Use the survey questions he provides around the topics of communication, growth, recognition and trust to create a survey in SurveyMonkey.
Week 2: Measure it – Send the link to all your direct reports or have a heartfelt conversation using his questions as a guide.
Week 3: Analyze results – Use the online survey software to run simple reports. Create a couple of slides to summarize.
Week 4: Share and discuss results – Call a team meeting and facilitate a discussion of the results.
Week 5: Establish a rhythm of communication – Send out calendar invites for all your one-on-one meetings and team meetings. Schedule a whole year’s worth.
Week 6: Hold career meetings – Set up meetings specifically for them to share career path plans and discuss what they need to get there.
Week 7: Develop recognition habits – Create daily habits to catch team members doing good things and thank them for it.
Week 8: Build Trust and confidence – Review your company’s strategic plan and think about ways you can reinforce it. Make sure everyone is crystal clear on how they can contribute to the goal.
After this initial eight weeks, you must continue, daily to create an environment that ritualizes two-way communication and fosters growth, recognition and trust. Every six months repeat the survey process and the one-on-one meetings.
If you work in a big company, you likely have these processes already in place. But are you practicing all the elements he describes? Unlikely. One sad statistic from Kevin’s book is that only 10% of adults say thank you to a colleague each day. Only 7% express gratitude to a boss.
A caveat Kevin adds is this. If you want to apply all these ideas just to increase your company’s bottom line, you are likely to fail. To make it work, you must authentically focus less on the profit reason and more on the people reason. Feel the extraordinary influence you can have over your people and their families. Be mindful of engagement on a daily basis and create habits for communication, growth, recognition, and trust so your team can enjoy the benefits of full engagement.
Imagine the impact you can have

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Don’t Let Your Company Culture Just Happen

Don’t Let Your Company Culture Just Happen

A happy and engaged workforce is the result of an intentionally designed company culture. It's not something that you just let happen. In this post we explain how to intentionally design culture that engages individuals, teams and leadership to contribute their best work, and we give you a tool and approach to help you do it. 
This post originally appeared in Harvard Business Review
Right now 7 out of 10 people in your organization are not actively engaged at work. Disengaged workforces are a global problem; and the costs are high. In the U.S. alone, companies are haemorrhaging $450 billion to $550 billion in lost productivity each year.
Companies try to motivate their people with incentives and unique perks like ping-pong rooms and free meals, but none of those approaches address the deeper issue of why employees are so disengaged.
We believe the answer is culture—the formal and informal values, behaviors, and beliefs practiced in an organization. Very few companies intentionally work on their culture—in fact, many companies just let culture happen.
XPLANE founder Dave Gray says that a company’s culture is like a garden. You can design culture but nature will still be a force. You can’t control everything about your culture but you can intentionally take it into your own hands. Culture will emerge through constant care and nurturing.
To become more systematic about culture design, we use a tool that our company, Strategyzer, and Yves Pigneur co-developed with Gray. It’s called the Culture Map. The Culture Map allows you to have a conversation about the three key elements of organizational culture:
  • Outcomes. These are the things you want (and don’t want) your culture to achieve.
  • Behaviors. These are the very visible parts of your culture—the positive or negative actions people perform everyday that result in the desired or undesired outcomes for your company.
  • Enablers and blockers. These are the formal or informal policies, rituals, actions, and rules that enable or block your culture—the elements that are truly intentional to achieving a desired culture.
Let’s look at how you can use the Culture Map to intentionally design the culture you want to increase happiness and engagement.
There is no right or wrong way to design culture. Every organization is unique and you will design what fits your needs. The Culture Map is simply a tool to help you facilitate a conversation with you and your team.

Outcomes: What are you trying to achieve?

You start by describing the outcomes you don’t want—what you’d see if your people weren’t engaged. What are the outcomes you don’t want to see? You could pick a theme, instance, or incident that has taken place internally to get the conversation started. In this example, the main theme or incident is unhappy and unengaged workers. This helps you understand what you’re trying to actively avoid.
The outcomes you’re trying to avoid may include:
  • People perform poorly
  • People hate coming to work
  • People have checked out
To illustrate how this process works (and keep it simple), we’ve selected three broad outcomes. When you start to discuss implementation inside the company, your conversation will yield a greater number of more detailed outcomes.
Next you’ll identify the outcomes of your desired culture that will counter the negative outcomes.
In this context you might identify that you want the following:
  • People are happy at work
  • People are engaged
  • People do their best work
Your desired outcomes may often be the opposite of your undesired outcomes but it might be helpful to think about what your company has and what your company may desire. For example, “an internal pro-environmental stance” to become a carbon neutral workplace may engage individuals, but the outcome may not directly answer a negative element in your existing culture.

Behaviors: What do you want to see in people inside your organization?

Then you look at behaviors—the very visible part of your culture. These are the actions people perform every day that result in the outcomes you’ve just listed. That is, what do you want people in the organization doing and not doing? We recommend that you look at three categories of behavior: individual, team, and leadership. Again, here you look at undesired and desired behaviors.
In this example, you might list the following undesired behaviors:
  • Individual behavior. Show little interest in their work, procrastinate (surf the web), avoid responsibility
  • Team behavior. Participate in in-fighting and blaming, look out for oneself, have a personal agenda, sabotage projects
  • Leadership behavior. Care about personal power and prestige, only focus on quarterly numbers
Then think about what are the good behaviors that could counter bad behaviors. You might list the following:
  • Individual behavior. People show passion for their work, are transparent about their work and progress, people take ownership; and most importantly, people look forward to coming into work
  • Team behavior. Collaborate and help each other, are open and honest, have fun
  • Leadership behavior. Listen to teams, help people grow

Enablers & Blockers: How do you intentionally shape the culture?

This is where you have the ability to influence the outcomes and behaviors you’ve identified. The enablers and blockers are the formal and informal levers that leaders, teams, and individuals can intentionally pull to drive a company’s culture.
Think carefully about each of these four elements:
  • Incentives are a basic element of doing good work. People should be paid fairly and competitively for their roles, and increases in compensation should be a predictable process. In addition to pay, the culture should work to reward results generated versus hours worked. Employees shouldn’t feel anxious about how visible they are in the office or on projects, and strict timekeeping can create a sense of mistrust between teams and management. Lastly, and this is something we care about a lot, good failure should not result in career suicide.
  • Context and rules will determine what rituals and processes allow people to do great work. If initiative is punished instead of rewarded, people will feel less compelled to push new ideas internally. The ability to make quick judgment calls and move decisions forward will outpace any lengthy or cumbersome internal approvals process. The same goes for autonomy and flexibility—do you trust your teams to lead while you get out of the way? Are teams allowed to participate in flexible work options that encourage their productivity? Your teams need the right tools and resources to do their job—are they spending more time fighting for what they need? If access to those resources is limited, individuals will be less inclined to take part in initiatives with so many blockers in front of them.
  • People are the core of a great organization and the processes and systems you use to hire, promote, and reward them can be both enablers and blockers. Bob Sutton’s famous “no asshole rule” is an important factor when hiring people for your company, especially if they’re “star performers”. Sutton believes that star performers who are demeaning can wreak havoc on organizations. You just can’t compromise your business on people like that.
  • Leadership has to play a role in the culture if the whole organization is to transform. And leading by example is a pivotal component of management enablers (and blockers: leadership can lead by poor example as well, of course). If leadership exhibits the behaviors expected of teams and individuals, then people in the organization will follow suit.
Once you’ve captured the conversation, you’ll want to break down the enablers into day-to-day activities and experiments. This will allow you to gather evidence as to whether you have the appropriate enablers in place to encourage positive behaviors and outcomes. As leaders, you will not only oversee many of these experiments but you’ll participate in them, too. For example, you might run an experiment where you enable teams with the autonomy and flexibility to make certain decisions on a project without leadership involvement. By getting out of the way and enabling teams to make decisions, you may create behaviors that foster trust, honesty, and collaboration. You’ll be able to see if the experiment results in the outcome of happier and engaged employees.

Your completed Culture Maps

This is what the two versions of your Culture Map will look like. They will serve as an important reference tool as you assess if you’ve made progress toward your desired culture, and help you steer clear of the undesired culture.
Company culture can feel like a beast, which is why many leaders avoid having these tough conversations. But there are small ways to get started. Here are three things you can do together in order to begin the conversation in:
  • 10+ minutes. Do a quick assessment to map your current culture. Have everyone think hard about enablers and blockers. Quickly capturing your current culture will allow you to carry over any existing enablers and positive behaviors that can also work in your desired culture.
  • 60+ minutes. In a slightly longer session you can facilitate a shared understanding of your current culture with people contributing their perspectives. Collaboration is key. How has your Culture Map changed with others sharing their input?
  • 180+ minutes. In this long session, you can move to defining your desired culture and kick off a conversation about how the company can move from the current culture to its desired culture. Individuals, teams, and leadership can collaborate to discuss and capture the desired enablers and behaviors that everyone can begin to experiment with and implement internally.
Companies should be as intentional about culture as they are about strategy and business model innovation. We believe that a tool is incredibly important for discussing and capturing organizational culture. Each one will be unique to the challenge the organization has to face, whether that’s tackling growth, crisis, or disruption. You can’t create a culture that will do any of that without the right tools.

Friday, September 9, 2016

6 Essential Links For Preparing A Strategy & Innovation Workshop

6 Essential Links For Preparing A Strategy & Innovation Workshop

Added on September 5, 2016 by Kavi Guppta.
Collaboration is key to achieving alignment around a strategic vision for your company, and workshops are a great way to get everyone working together. We’ve gathered our 6 essential blog posts on designing, running, and managing a strategy and innovation workshop experience so you can enjoy them all in one place. Dig into loads of practical advice.
Strategyzer_Workshop_Links
In this post we outline the guidelines we use to design productive workshops. We use this approach for workshops internally at Strategyzer, and within our Masterclass programs.
Expert workshop organizer and facilitator, Alison Coward, shares detailed advice and tips on preparing, designing and running a workshop. This is a great conversation with loads of practical advice.
In this post, we share how the Business Model & Value Proposition Canvases can be powerful tools for productive conversations in a business and strategy workshop.
Workshop facilitators are some of the most important people in the room during a strategy session. These 5 tips will help you brush up on your approach, and ensure that attendees can be guided toward productive results from the workshop session.

Dig into real-life examples.

The Strategyzer team meets regularly for workshop sessions that allow us to re-align and look ahead as a company. In this post we detail how a 3-day workshop experience and the exercises we performed helped to get us there.
Learn how Toyota Financial Services (TFS) adopted Strategyzer’s tools to strengthen the organisation’s alignment around a strategic business goal. We detail how a 3-day workshop got TFS speaking a shared language on where the business needs to go next.

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