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Articles tagged "Guiding Principles"

Do Employee Cliques Have You Stuck?

Do Employee Cliques Have You Stuck?

One of the quickest ways to alienate new employees, restrict their skill development, and keep an organization stuck in a proverbial rut, is to tolerate employee cliques and allow them to control production.

What are they? Employee cliques are destructive employee groupings (gangs) that don't welcome new employees (outsiders). They view new employees and their ideas as threats to the status quo. To them, new employees are a waste of their time—particularly if they have to train the new person who (in their minds) will (in all probability) quit in a few months anyway. So why bother? La-dee-da.

Take a step back and ask yourself, "If I were a new employee, would I want to continue to work for an organization where the current employees don't want me around and won't train me?" Doubt it. I know I wouldn't. I would leave and find someplace else to work—a place where I felt wanted and appreciated. And if I leave, the veteran employees will (in their minds) be vindicated, "See, we told you she'd leave."

Here is what you as the leader can do:

  1. Recognize if and where destructive cliques exist in your organization
  2. Gather your veteran employees together and discuss why they feel the way they do towards new hires
  3. Develop a program, with a select group of veteran employees and your management team, to develop a new hire orientation program to quickly train and orient new employees into your organization, without unduly burdening current staff
  4. Continue to work with veteran and rookie staff members to identify ways to better integrate the ‘old’ knowledge and skills with the ‘new’ 

Trust me: If you don't take action to correct the power of the cliques, they (not you) will control your employee population, its skill level, your employee turnover rates, and ultimately, your organization’s ability to move forward.

 

Copyright MMII - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890

Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching.

 

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on November 15, 2011 in Leadership Development and tagged , , ,

 

Performance Choices and Horse Lessons

Performance Choices and Horse Lessons

My husband and I helped a friend move her horses to a new stable recently. Neither of her horses had ever been loaded on a trailer before, so she was terribly nervous about the unfamiliar adventure facing us. She had visions of her horses panicking, bucking, kicking, whinnying for dear life, and forcibly being pushed and pulled into the trailer.

Instead, one horse walked right on as we calmly talked to her during the loading process, and the other eventually walked on the trailer, without drama, after only 10 minutes. How? We offered her two choices: 1) stand still while we tapped her hind-end with a crop like a pesky and persistent fly, or 2) move forward and stop the pestering. The choice was hers. Simple, if she stood still, we pestered her; if she moved, we didn’t. We limited her options and were consistent in displaying what the consequences would be for each. She chose and we followed up with the consequences.

The performance choices were structured in such a way that the one that helped us achieve our mission was more attractive than the one that hindered. After 10 annoying minutes, she decided it was easier to just walk on the trailer and eat some grain—so she did. There was no panicking, bucking, kicking, pushing or pulling. She chose the least irritating option that, in the end, was easy for her and easy for us. Clear and consistent communication with clear objectives helped us all enjoy our adventure.

I thought of this horse lesson recently while talking with a client. He was recounting how the performance level of his employees had increased over the past 12 months. He stated that our work in helping to change his management style—from one that was dictatorial to one that was more collaborative—had supported a performance increase in his production staff. The new collaborative style gives his employees more control in offering enhancements to their respective processes and in modifying procedures to test their theories. However, the employees are given clear objectives to meet and they have input in establishing some of those objectives. They have more choices in how they perform their respective job responsibilities, as long as their objectives are met.

The employees all know why each person has the objectives they do have. Every employee knows how his or her job fits into the overall structure of the company and how each position can move the company towards its vision. There are no surprises. Because everyone knows the Company Values, each employee can choose to help support the mission of the company or not. If they do (support the mission), they are given more opportunities for growth, learning, and experimentation. If they don't, they have the option of changing their performance and staying with the company, or finding a new position in a different company. Here, again, the choice is theirs.

Clear and consistent communication with clear objectives helps my client and his entire team enjoy their adventure together. There are fewer surprises, fewer conflicts, and much more cooperation and success. 

What performance choices are you offering?

 

Copyright MMIV - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890

Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on November 1, 2011 in Leadership Development and tagged , , , ,

 

Your Values Statement Serves as Your House Rules

Your Values Statement Serves as Your House Rules

We have all seen values statements hanging on the walls of various organizations. They're usually nicely framed and tastefully hung for all who pass by to see. However, other than knowing the executive team developed them as part of a strategic planning effort, most of us who walk by our own organization's values statement rarely understand its purpose - other than serving as a nice piece of artwork.

The values statement of an organization is what I call "The House Rules."

Your Values Statement Serves as Your House Rules

It outlines how we're going to behave as we fulfill our mission and move towards our vision. It's called "The House Rules" because it serves the same purpose as the house rules when we visit someone's home. Certain behaviors are acceptable while we're there and others are not.

Values statements may outline what performance standards an organization will exhibit

(i.e., exceptional product and service quality, complete customer satisfaction, and fair pricing and profits). It may also outline what behaviors are expected of the organization's employees:

  • Demonstrate Integrity
  • Communicate Honestly and Plainly
  • Think Strategically
  • Share Your Knowledge
  • Support Innovation and Improvement

Values statements outline whatever standards and behaviors are "non-negotiable"- to maintain the integrity of the organization's culture. At a minimum, values statements serve three main purposes:

  1. First, they serve as a unifying force in establishing a corporate or organizational culture. What beliefs, attitudes, and values do we as an organization believe in and want to live by?
  2. Second, they outline what type of behavior is expected of EVERYONE who draws a paycheck from the organization or represents the organization. This means front-line staff to the company owners, and the board of directors as well. Anyone who works for the organization or represents it, must abide by the organization's values.
  3. Third, values statements serve as a powerful management tool to help re-align poor performance. Now if an employee behaves in a manner that is not in alignment with the house rules, the values statement can be used to redirect behavior. For instance, if an employee is rude to a customer, the manager can use the values statement to re-align the employee's behavior. All the manager needs to do is point to the values statement on the wall and ask the employee,

A critical point to remember with values statements is that they serve as a guide for the owner and management team's behavior as well. If the executive team can't abide by the house rules themselves, take the values statement off the wall until it's revised to state behaviors that can be exhibited by all of the staff.

Don't just enforce them on others. At a bare minimum, management must acknowledge its own violations of the house rules. If it doesn't, employees see there's a double standard in accepted behavior. When that happens, the employees view the values statement hanging on the wall as nothing more than artwork. Morale will deteriorate because there's a double standard: Management doesn't have to follow the rules but everyone else does.

Ask yourself if your behavior falls in line with the values statement? Because as long as you draw a paycheck from the organization, these are the house rules. You were probably given a copy during your interview before you were hired. They're included in your employee handbook, which you've acknowledged you've read and understood, and they're posted on the website and throughout the facility. If you don't want to abide by the house rules, you're free to draw a paycheck elsewhere. The rules are the rules; as long as you work there you have a choice: either you follow them or you leave.

The true value of a sound values statements is hard to determine. But well thought-out, organization-specific values statements can set expectations for behavior, performance, communication, personal and corporate responsibility, personal and professional development, as well as, fair pricing and profits. With those expectations clearly defined, what it takes to succeed in the organization is easy for everyone to understand.

Take a look at the values statement hanging in your organization. Review it to see if your entire organization lives by and enforces your own "house rules." If not, it's time to redecorate.

Copyright MMX - Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890

Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on April 17, 2010 in Strategic Planning and tagged , , , , , , , ,