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Profits Thru People – Action Steps – Part I

At our recent Profits Thru People Workshop we presented the bottom line benefits of focusing on four topic: Employee Engagement, Customer Retention, Little “l” Leadership, and Servant Leadership. Here are the action steps the group came up.

Employee Engagement

Gallup’s Survey of the American Workforce highlights the benefits of focusing on employee engagement. Moving partially engaged employees (50% of the workforce) to highly engaged results in  higher profits, lower turnover, increased customer satisfaction, and lower safety cost to name a few. Harvard Business School Professors Kotter and Heskett found that focusing on culture increased profits compared to unfocused cultures by 750% and stock price by 1200%.  So if you want to raise engagement and link your vision to your employees try the following:

  1. Raise empathy by listening more.  When speaking with an employee about an issue, ask three questions before responding. You’ll learn more, model respect, and build trust at the same time.

  2. Raise awareness of your team by starting an employee journal. On a daily basis, list what they did well, what feedback you gave them, and what personal development goal you are helping them achieve.

  3. Connect your vision with each employee. When employees understand why your organization exists and how they contribute to your vision, productivity goes up.

  4. Find an event that galvanizes your organization on a social need and watch your younger workers increase their commitment. Gen Y’ers and Millenniums need larger purpose than the bottom line and a paycheck.

Little ‘l’ Leaders

If you attended Pro356’s Profits Thru People Tuesday morning, do you recall the difference between a little ‘l’ leader and a big ‘L’ leader?

That’s right, the little ‘l’ leader is one who leads in your organization – without a title. As a big ‘L’ leader, you may see yourself in this little ‘l’ leader. While it’s not a rule of thumb, many little ‘l’ leaders grow into being big ‘L’ leaders.

During our group-think-crowd-sourced experimental session, we discovered that some of the traits of little ‘l’ leaders are:

  1. they’re self-starters

  2. they lead by example

  3. they’re good communicators

  4. they engender trust with their co-workers

  5. they take the initiative

  6. they’re dependable

We also explored the notion that while 29% of our employees are engaged, we have a huge block of 57% that are in and out of engagement. If we could move some of the employees in the 57% block into full engagement, the productivity gains would be enormous.

Little ‘l’ leaders are engaged AND, they’re the ones that can help mine the 57% for full engagement.

We all have ‘l’ leaders in our organizations, and as a big ‘L’ leader, if you’re close enough to your work (the process at hand), you know how those little ‘l’ leaders are. If you’re farther away from the particular process, I’d say that someone knows who those people are.

So for the action plan we created to move forward, we outlined the following steps:

  1. Identify the little ‘l’ leaders in your organization

  2. Recognized those little ‘l’ leaders (bring them in and tell them that you’ve identified them as VIP’s in your organization

  3. Ask them about their plans – LISTEN…and then, develop a plan to help build upon their strengths

Know too that there will be those little ‘l’ leaders who say: “Thanks, but I’m headed to Europe in a few months.” In those cases, let them do what they are doing for you – you never know; they may be back!

Stay tuned for Action Steps for Customer Retention and Servant Leadership!

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