We believe that employees need to be confident that their work is meaningful and essential in order to reach peak success. That their leadership is with them in serving the customer and that mistakes are not fatal, but rather learning experiences. Every person has gifts, skills, and passing to lend to the success of an organization. While there are many aspects to building confidence, we believe the top three are aligning purpose, expectations, and creating a culture where everyone can share what they know and learn from anyone at any time. Putting these factors into play will begin the journey to a happy, healthy, and productive workplace.
Three factors to staying on Purpose:
Every organization has a specific reason for being. Serving a purpose is what creates motivation, innovation, and ultimately success. Individuals are the same. They have gifts, skills, and passion that lead them to how and what their purpose is. The challenge is to ensure buy-in and enthusiasm for that purpose daily.
- DEFINING – The purpose of the organization that is easy to remember and explain for everyone in the organization is the first factor. Many point to the Mission or Vision statement as the replacement for a purpose. While those statements are as important, they focus on the customer and usually have a marketing type feel. The organization’s purpose is defined by those who provided the service and why they believe in the Mission and Vision. It is essential that everyone knows it and sincerely believes it.
- ALIGNING – Now, you have an organizational purpose. We will need to align that with everyone’s individual purpose. Sound impossible? All it takes is effort! Most people have a purpose or are reaching for one in their lives, and it tends to show up in their career choice. The organization needs to care about employees enough to know what that purpose is and help each employee define it for themselves. It is the core desire of a great leader to ensure this happens. When purposes align, magic happens.
- INVOLVING – Every team member must be included in creating, sharing, and serving the organization’s purpose. When everyone is accountable to a purpose, it creates a common ground regardless of title or job description. That bond creates momentum that is hard to stop and leads everyone to be a part of the success.
The four factors to clear Expectations:
Expectations are an interesting phenomenon; everyone has them, very few share them, and we judge others on how well (or not) they meet ours. One of the most prevalent issues we find in entering troubled workplaces is the lack of communication of expectations from the leadership and the individuals on the team.
- SHARING – Creating a way to encourage daily sharing of expectations by everyone in the organization is the first factor in clarifying expectations. While this looks different in every team and organization, this is vital to creating a positive communication culture. The leader will need to model what this looks like, and the best way to get the concept integrated into the culture is to have a short meeting at the start of every shift. Do not skip this if the team is remoting in! Include the assignment and give everyone one minute to share their expectations for the day.
- TRANSPARENCY – Especially for a leader, to be transparent about your expectations is vital to creating space for employee growth and improvement. When you expect less from individuals, you will most assuredly get what you expect, whether you share it with them or not. Sharing your concerns about skills, work ethic, or anything else, while uncomfortable, is not hurtful and is the most important way to show you care about an individual or team.
- REFINING – Expectations are always changing, as they should. When a team or individual improves, expectations do and need to go up too. Constantly refining expectations will be critical to avoiding the expectations conflict. The daily meeting helps solidify this within the culture, so it becomes second nature for all.
- INDIVIDUALIZING – I once heard the greatest unfairness is treating everyone the same. When it comes to expectations, I believe this to be true. Expectations need to match what the team or individual is capable of at this time with just a bit of stretch to have a challenge to encourage growth.
The three ways to create a Teach and Learn culture:
- All information is available to everyone. Everyone needs access to all of the information available within their job area. The sharing of information includes team members sharing with each other. Create a culture where sharing knowledge is more important than the knowledge itself.
- Everyone has value. The leader models this for sure, but everyone must buy into this concept. You and I can learn from anyone as everyone has gifts and skills that we do not.
- Search for hidden skills and knowledge – When team members are hired, we tend to focus on the skills we need from the job title. Everyone brings other skill sets with them. It is paramount that we find these additional skills and put them to use if we can.
That brings us back to individuals serving their purpose to make them happy, healthy, and productive!