“Help Your Employees Develop Humility”

the difference between inspired, engaged, and satisfied team members

Do you know the difference between inspired, engaged, and satisfied employees? Are you aware of the impact of the difference on their productivity? it is significant!

Read the article by Eric Garton and Michael C. Mankins on HBR.org for some very interesting insights!




a note to senior leaders – their commitment may be more important than your insights

Marshall Goldsmith
Marshall Goldsmith

Good blog post by Marshall Goldsmith, “Their Commitment Might Mean More Than Our Insight”.

He talks about how much more powerful employee commitment to an idea is than is the “brilliant” insight of the leader.

Following is a paragraph from his post:

The next time you are working with a direct report or team member and you start to “improve” upon their ideas with your insights, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Is it worth it?”

When communicating with direct reports, don’t just ask for understanding – search for commitment. Listen to the tone of their voices and look at their faces. When describing a project, ask the employee to rank their level of enthusiasm for executing the plan. Ask a simple question, “How can we work together on this project in a way that will lead to your highest level of commitment?” Listen to their ideas. Be willing to trade off some of your insights on content to gain their commitment and enthusiasm.

Read the full post – especially if you are a senior leader in your organization and you truly desire to make your organization more effective.


are some staff/positions more valuable than others?

Good morning, looks like a beautiful sunrise here this morning!

Recently, I was asked if some roles or positions (people) more valuable to the organization’s mission than others.Following is basically how I responded. After you read it, tell me what you think.

I once very much subscribed to the theory that some were more important than others to an organization. And my opinion went very much along with the thinking that the higher up or more prominent they were, then of course the more key they were to the organization. Then as I matured, I began noticing who it was that really made things happen in an organization. Usually they were the quiet (often underpaid) people that kept the organization going and productive – and often in spite of the organizational “heroes”.

In business, one man told me that if you were in management not to get too proud of yourself because in reality you were just an overhead expense – it was the people on the production floor that made the money for the company. In the Army we quickly learned the value of the soldiers. They were the ones actually meeting the enemy face-to-face in battle, they were the ones loading the trucks, they were the ones preparing and serving the food, and so on.

If you are familiar with machinery, you know the value of a linchpin. A critical little piece of metal no one notices, until it breaks. In all organizations, there are linchpins – not noticed, but absolutely critical to the operations of the organization. (Check out Seth Godin’s book Linchpin)

Another analogy – that of a spear. It is often used in the military, but is true in most organizations. The edge of the spearhead is what actually cuts, yet it is a very small part of the spear. Yet no matter how sharp the spearhead, without a good shaft, it is useless. If the shaft is rotting it is in danger of breaking at a most inopportune time. So, the spearhead gets all of the attention, but in reality it is useless without the rest of the spear – just like an organization.

And finally, read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. An organization is a body with many parts. Note this one phrase, ” . . . the parts of the body that seem weaker are indispensable, . . .” In light of that Scripture and that of what Christ said in Matthew chapter 20, I can no longer say one is more important than another.

As in Scripture, there are different roles, some with more authority/responsibility, but in Christ, no difference in value and no less important. The same is actually true in a healthy organization and, yes, the “lower” level positions are just as important as the senior leaders.

All who are part of the organization are important and should be valued. If their position is not needed, if they are not trained well, if they aren’t a good fit for the job, if they really don’t belong in the organization, if they don’t have the tools to do their job, if there is not enough money to pay them well – it is not their fault! Those are all management decisions and not of the staff member. Joseph Juran often stated that at least 80% of all [problems] are caused by management. He also went on to say 100% of firings are management caused. Yet, so often, those lower in the organization pay a heavy price for the poor decisions of management.

Now, no matter how hard we try and with the best of systems, organizations do bring on the wrong people. However, the healthy organizations take ownership of their mistake and do not penalize the employee for the organization’s mistake. They work hard to find a place that does fit the employee.

Look at one of my posts sharing something from the Ken Blanchard Company, he states that power is held in trust. As leaders we are stewards of the lives of others – others who are precious in the site of The Lord. This is not to be taken lightly.

So, I do believe that while we may have differing levels of authority and responsibility in an organization, no one is more valuable than another – in a healthy organization.

I would be interested in hearing your take on this as I imagine there are many of you out there that may disagree.

Blessings on your day!


12 questions to ask your staff

Fall in MI OCT 2013Good morning! A nice morning here, but there is a freeze warning for tomorrow – not sure if I am ready for that!

Questions are powerful tools – that has been proven time and again. However, if you’re like me, you may have a hard time coming up with good questions. So, what I have done is to become a collector of good questions developed by others like Bobb Biehl.  Another person is Marcus Buckingham. In his book. First, Break All the Rules, he lists 12 excellent questions for people to ask. I am going to slightly  modify the questions so that they become ones that you can ask those that you lead. Here they are:

1. Do you know what is expected of you at work?
2. Do you have the materials and equipment that you need in order to do your work right?
3. At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
4. In the past seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
7. At work, do your opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission or purpose of this company make you feel that your job is important?
9. Are your coworkers committed to doing quality work?
10. Do you have a best friend at work?
11. In the past six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
12. This past year, have you had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

Try these questions with your team and then just listen. Don’t respond at first and especially don’t become defensive – just listen. What you learn will be critical to the success of your team.

Blessings on your week,

Enjoying Stories

Tell stories! That is what most of the literature tells us we should do as leaders and it is a good thing. Stories communicate in a powerful way that is much more effective than slogans, posters, memos, and so on.

But today, I want to encourage you to listen to some stories. Sit down with one of your team members or colleagues and ask them to tell you their story. Take them to lunch or go get a cup of coffee. Then listen! You will be amazed.

Have a great weekend,