Monthly Archives: March, 2018

Do You Know How to Encourage the Heart?

March 29th, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Engagement, Leadership 0 thoughts on “Do You Know How to Encourage the Heart?”

On the Business is ART podcast this week at the TrueChat Network, guest Andrea Davis, co-founder and partner at Flashpoint Leadership Consulting, discussed “Leadership’s Impact on Employee Engagement.”

Among the items Andrea discussed was The Leadership Challenge by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. First published in 1987 and now in its sixth edition, it has long been one of the gold standards in the study, discipline and art of leadership.

Indeed the book Business is ART and the subsequent business planning and strategic management software Plan Canvas have some of their roots in Kouzes’ and Posners’ 5 leadership practices.

5 Practices of Leaders

Those practices include:

  1. Model the way
  2. Inspire a shared vision
  3. Challenge the process
  4. Enable others to act
  5. Encourage the heart

Where Leadership Often Falls Short

Leaders, managers, supervisors and entrepreneurs often put their heads down and start making a mad dash forward, thinking the sprint will put them ahead of game. This mad dash makes it easy to forget any or all of the 5 practices of leaders, but the one that is often forgotten, even in the slow walk, is the fifth one – encourage the heart.

Yet, arguably, it is the most vital in creating a company culture / environment that creates and nurtures employee engagement. It is so much easier for an employee to be engaged in their work and in their employer’s business when their heart is encouraged.

What Does it Mean to Encourage the Heart?

“Encouraging the heart” goes beyond words.

Words like “you know I care about you, right?” and “you’re doing really great work” are important – vital. But they are perceived as insincere, empty, and even offensive when they are not backed by action, or worse, backed by action that is to the contrary.

As a leader, it isn’t good enough to say you aren’t good at this stuff. You have an obligation to get better at it.

Those who follow want more. They need more. You have to learn to encourage the heart, even if it is a difficult, unnatural thing for you to do. If not, you will lose them.

Consider These Options

If working on your ability to encourage from the heart is a priority, Plan Canvas has a number of options for you to consider. Here are two of them:

  • Register for Plan Canvas for Individuals at no cost to develop and continually work on a personal development plan. We do recommend you work with a coach on your personal plan.
  • Join others in our online, monthly mastermind / peer group where we tackle one another’s business and personal challenges while holding each other accountable to the actions we agree to take. In addition to the monthly online group meeting, it includes 1-to-1 consulting and a subscription to the Plan Canvas for SMB Contact us for a free initial consultation. $169/month.

And of course, if you are looking for much more comprehensive leadership consulting that includes all 5 practices identified in The Leadership Challenge and more, contact Andrea at Flashpoint Leadership Consulting.

Note: No one at Plan Canvas is a paid spokesperson for Flashpoint – we just think they are really good at what they do, and are happy to share their information.

Why Your Vision Statement Matters

March 21st, 2018 Posted by Blog Post, Strategy, Uncategorized, Vision 0 thoughts on “Why Your Vision Statement Matters”

A March 21, 2017 article at Entrepreneur entitled “How To Engage Employees Through Your Company Vision Statement” by Andre Lavoie sites a study that found “60% of employees didn’t know their company’s vision.”

Yet, an understanding of and appreciation for the Vision and Strategies is an integral part to both improving employee engagement (approximately 30%) and the successful implementation of Strategic Initiatives (also about 30%).

So it stands to reason that we should be doing a better job of defining and communicating Vision.

An excerpt from an up-coming white paper

The following is an excerpt from a white paper that we are publishing in early April on how to improve strategy execution and why it’s critical to business survival.

Strategy Execution Improvement

Critical Success Factors to Surviving and Thriving

Order a pre-release copy of our upcoming white paper on how to improve strategy execution.

Vision is how you see things in the ideal future. The Mission is often mistaken for or sometimes blended into the Vision Statement, but they are two separate things. While the Vision is how you see things, the Mission is what you do.

Amazon’s is as an example of a well-written, combined, Vision and Mission Statement, as follows:

“Our vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.”

The Vision is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company. The Mission is to build a place people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

Note that in neither the Vision nor the Mission Statement does Amazon mention how they will get there, nor what that “place” looks like. Amazon can change its business model, how it serves customers, and enabling technology at will – without changing the Vision and Mission.

Think of it as remodeling the house without replacing the foundation.

Compare that to Walmart’s Vision Statement

Compare that to Walmart’s Vision Statement, “To be the best retailer in the hearts and minds of consumers and employees,” and their Mission Statement, “Saving people money so they can live better.”

These statements aren’t inherently wrong, but they do generate perceptions that are not necessarily positive, such as:

  • Now a classic retailer, always a classic retailer
  • It might be the best, but I still don’t like it
  • I can only live better by saving money – and purchasing lower quality items

“A Walmart on every corner” is increasingly a losing proposition that may not be dying, but is not well positioned to thrive against an Amazon.

Perhaps some of the reason for that is rooted in their Vision and Mission statements.

10 Ways to Create Disengaged Employees

March 14th, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Engagement, Leadership 0 thoughts on “10 Ways to Create Disengaged Employees”

It’s easy to find advice on how to improve employee engagement, some good, some useless. Here are some ways to create DISENGAGED employees. Our advice? Don’t do the things listed here.

Employee Engagement Begins With You

March 7th, 2018 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Engagement 0 thoughts on “Employee Engagement Begins With You”

There is a lot of advice available to us on ways to improve employee engagement, but, the truth is, it begins with you. We often overlook that simple reality.

No matter where you are in your career, role, or position, while on the job, you are constantly on display. Your body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and the words you choose matter – and they impact others around you.

To better make the point, the following is an excerpt from the book Business is ART.

An Excerpt from Business is ART, Chapter Five

One day, I came into the office after having a significant disagreement with a family member. I reacted poorly to the emotion of hurt and anger that I was feeling and let the disagreement influence my workplace behavior.

When I got into the office, instead of greeting people in my usual friendly way, I entered the break room with a scowl on my face, not looking at or engaging with anyone. I simply poured a cup of coffee and hurried back to my desk.

Later, one of the most trusted members of my leadership team knocked on my door and suggested that we needed to talk in private.

He closed the door and asked in a very concerned tone, “Are we going to announce layoffs?”

The question stunned me. We were growing. We were profitable. We had a couple of small layoffs early on in our path to $50 million, but that was part of the plan. I didn’t know where the concern was coming from.

“No. Why?”

“There’s a rumor going around.”

“How did that get started?”

“Some employees were in the break room this morning and said you wouldn’t even look them in the eye, so they started speculating about what was wrong. Then they concluded you couldn’t look them in the eye because you are going to lay some of them off.”

I started the rumor. Not knowingly or intentionally, but because I was not paying attention to my own behavior.

You are constantly on display

Employee engagement begins with you. At work, you are constantly on display.

Before taking on any new initiatives to boost employee engagement, take a good, hard look in the mirror and ask, “How can modifying my own behavior make a change for the better?”

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