business 2013

Four Necessary Aptitudes for a Self-Motivated Team

21668369_s Leaders and managers have learned over time that there is not a single test that will provide you with all the answers you need to identify, manage, develop and retain the best employe. If someone tells you a test will do just that, they are ill-informed and have more interest in selling you something than helping you.

Astute leaders have begun to rely on a battery of assessments that will allow you to establish and benchmark the four critical areas requiring attention and focus. Two areas must be aligned to ensure the job is performed with success, while the other two must receive equally focused attention or the first ones will fail miserably.

The first two areas revolve around the task (job description) to be performed. They require skills and initiative to ensure the job is completed satisfactorily.

You must MANAGE the following:

  •        Competency – “Can they do the job?”

Does the individual have the observable abilities, skills, knowledge, motivations or traits defined in terms of the behaviors needed for successful job performance? You must know if the individual has depth in the requisite abilities and/or qualities to function, respond or develop in a particular way. This is where most employers focus the majority of their attention – and rightly so. However, even if a person has the skills, this does not mean that they enjoy the work, find satisfaction in the work, or see the work as providing value to themselves and others.

  •        Character – “Will they do the job?”

All individuals possess mental and ethical traits that individualize them. These characteristics are what make one person distinguishable from others. Most managers want employees with the integrity and work ethic that distinguishes them as trustworthy, loyal and a person who can be counted on when needed. Just because an individual has the “competencies” does not mean they will perform well, especially if they are operating under work-related stress from an improper job fit.

The second two competencies revolve around the people aspects of job performance. Because the vast majority of people (67%) are relationally oriented (in comparison to task-oriented) understanding and developing an ability to apply them determines a critical aspect for a marketing manager’s success.

In order to achieve long-term success and personal satisfaction, the CMO or marketing manager must cultivate an internal desire for each employee to perform over a long period of time. Continued, sustainable excellence can only be achieved when a marketing manager develops the people attributes in his/her team members. This is the primary reason employees leave their positions – NOT because of competence or character issues.

You must DEVELOP the following:

  •     Chemistry – “Can they work in our culture and well with our team?”

Psychologists agree that about two out of every three individuals possess the desire for relationships to work well together. However, just because people enjoy working together does not mean they will enjoy working with your employees or other company associates. In most work environments this is a very specialized and measurable culture which, if interrupted or tampered with, will have an impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of all team members. There must be mutual attraction, attachment, or sympathy between people working together making their interaction harmonious or effective. This is why there is often conflict between sales people and employees or employees and purchasing agents – they are not looking for the same type of environment. Even very competent individuals with a strong work ethic and character will not remain in what they perceive to be an abrasive or difficult environment.

  •    Capacity – “Will they be able to mature personally and professionally?”

Capacity is most often viewed as “the potential or suitability for growth and development of an individual’s mental and professional abilities.” Most employees have the ability to receive new information or concepts which will help them perform at a higher level. This is true of a vast majority of employees, meaning you must pay attention to their potential or you will lose them.

Yes, there are some who are at the top level of their potential and must be considered differently.  They will remain content doing what they feel they have mastered or what provides them with a high level of comfort. However this does not pertain to most employees. Top managers hire people with the potential to perform at higher levels. Ignoring this potential is the number one reason top employees leave jobs, develop morale issues, or become disgruntled.

The manager is responsible for helping strategize and advance each employee’s growth and development process, NOT the company. Failure to do this will be blatantly ignoring the primary individual issue for leaders today.

What Does Employee Engagement Look Like in Real Life?

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You should be able to see engagement taking place as you walk through your organization. It has an “air” or appearance that is unmistakable – it has the attributes of collaboration with flair. You can see it in meetings with members of differing departments asking questions like:

  •          What can our group do to help you get the answers you need?
  •          If we were to send over a couple people from our department would that help you get the project out on time?
  •          How can we make that transition easier for you?
  •          What expertise can we offer you that would provide your clients with the best possible solution?

As you can see each of the four questions above address the 4Cs by extending each aspect from one group to the other, in a unified effort to engage the entire company.

Corporate engagement works best if it comes from the executive office. If this is not the case you will have to build it internally within your own group, which requires you to develop your leadership skills, and use them to your greatest abilities. As you do this, it can still have a positive impact on the organization, but may take longer.

You should be able to see the same thing happening in your department when you see the collaboration between employees. Collaboration is not just chemistry. Collaboration is the sharing of skills and knowledge, commitment and work ethic, interacting and encouraging, as well as opening up the minds and building new abilities in others. This cannot happen without your inspiration. Managers manage tasks, but leaders inspire, which creates the depth necessary to take a marketing department from one level to the next.

This inspiration will not occur until there are investments of time and energy in each individual employee.  That is a conscious decision you must make. Project deadlines, corporate goals and annual objectives will not disappear when you make the decision to move from management to leadership.

However, your approach to engagement will require you to move from dealing with day-to-day tasks, to a mentality of strategy as you approach each day. Think about leading from the perspective of the 4Cs, with an approach of the 4Ps:

  • Priorities – Make sure that each day has priorities and objectives, NOT just tasks. Think about each priority as a tool to enhance your department’s long-term vision. Make sure that each priority is a tool to enhance the vision and mission of the group/organization.
  • Projects – What projects must be completed in order to achieve those priorities? Consider the final priority and work backwards, identifying each key progression as a step toward the ultimate objective.
  • Plans– Take the time to plan each project generally. Identify the project plan to those who will be involved and ensure they have enough input so vital details will not be left undone. Once the plan is executed, you now have something measurable that can receive focused attention.
  • Positioning – Readjust your mentality to the position of the “completed state.” You must begin thinking from this paradigm or the transition will not occur. Who will need to be in this state? What will it look like, taste like, and smell like? The shift in mentality will allow actualization to occur more quickly.

If you approach your department with this paradigm of thought, it will translate to a mentality that will permeate other portions of the company. Once this type of collaboration, not just communication, begins to occur there will be a greater willingness from others to embrace the engagement process. The next step is to make sure, as a leader, you are focusing on the four aptitudes necessary to build a strong, lasting team.

Blending Cultures for Maximum Results in Business Development: Part 3

Part 3 of 3

Corporate management, through the direction of their HR professionals can facilitate and achieve culture agreement. Their combined efforts can help in the facilitation of any culture merger. Each group can find common ground and have a positive experience by following these steps for blending business cultures.

  • Assess the CEO’s perspective of the company’s principles, policies and procedures. Use an empirical tool (as well as common sense) to measure what he or she has established.  Address any sensitive or problem areas to ensure the spirit of the law is being communicated effectively. Make sure that the measurement process identifies central core behavioral, attitudinal and value issues as well as their impact on the employees.
  • Use the same empirical measure with staff and management to isolate their perspectives. Staff members should define the reasoning on which they believe the guidelines are based.  Note any unclear areas for future discussions. Their perspectives of behavior, attitudes and values will also be critical.
  • Compare and contrast what you learn from the differing groups. There will be obvious discrepancies in thought as you move from the CEO to the staff.  Define the differences and describe how these differences may affect the workforce. Many times the CEO is charismatic and people will be drawn to him or her.  However, this does not mean that his or her principles, policies and procedures will be widely accepted. Sometimes these very things drive employees away from the company.
  • Sample the workforce.  Be sure the sample is indicative of the group as whole, as well as each individual department or merged groups. Make sure that the entire workforce understands they are participating in a culture development process and their opinions are valued.  Have a sample or representative group solicit input from everyone, and present it at the appropriate time.
  • Take the results of each of the individual departments or merged cultures and compare and contrast them. Have each department select “representatives” that are comfortable with and willing to present their perspective of the results. The empirical results will need to be visually and objectively presented to the group so they understand how close or divergent their views are. Individual groups should note the similarities and divergences of views and be willing to work together to find the correct vision, etc., that is acceptable to all parties.
  • After the staff and management team has reviewed their results, they should meet with the employee representatives, exchange their merged concepts and finalize recommendations for the executive committee. Ask for input and build trust; creativity will flow.  Human Resources should facilitate this process to insure there is a balanced approach that provides congruency, rather than adversity.
  • Redefine existing principles, policies, procedures, all vision, mission, objectives and other cultural related concepts to conform to the executive (or his appointed committee) desire for a positive performance-based approach. The CEO may have some final “tweaks” in some areas, but multiple sources of input from employees with different behavioral types will provide a greater opportunity to benefit the company as a whole. Once the finalized concepts are developed, the committees should be reconvened and be tasked with finding their individual departmental objectives and how they will enhance the completion of the corporate goals.  This will alleviate any confusion employees may have and provide a clear explanation of the outcome expected. It will also provide each department with an opportunity to identify their specific role in the profitability of the company.

Now, share the results with the company in meetings, bulletins and corporate newsletters. Use this as a public relations opportunity. Make the most of the employee-driven culture concept. Most employees will embrace ideas and concepts they have played a role in assembling. The new revitalized corporate culture and philosophy, as well as the employees, will be prepared to meet any new change on the horizon. Additionally they are mentally prepared for growth, due to a higher morale, creating conditions perfect for performance enhancement and profitability.