Improving and changing your organization takes work and energy. Gratitude is a way to replenish the gas tank so you can keep improving. Our brains are wired to minimize energy usage and have two basic systems for thinking – System 1 and System 2 (Thinking Fast and Slow). System 1 is a quick gut response and system 2 is a more complex thinking through the details process. System one is easy and requires almost no energy to execute while system two is much more in depth and requires more thinking. A classic example of system one thinking is asking a person to spell SILK three times then ask what do cows drink? They drink water but the majority of the time people answer milk. That is system one at work.
If you are expecting to hire someone and have them hit the ground running you are in for a rough time. Even if the person seems to know all the technical skills and knows your industry they still have to learn the culture goals, roles, procedures, and interpersonal dynamics at play with the job. This also applies to people who were previous employees who come back to work for you.
Before hiring you’ll want to gauge a few things about the position.
What are the measurable outcomes that determine success for each of the tasks and the job as a whole
Fear setting is a great tool to use in conjunction with goal setting. Many people know how to goal set but fear setting is a little different. It’s writing down your fears, creating an action plan to prevent those fears from happening, and coming up with a plan if the fear comes to reality. Here is a Ted Talk with Tim Ferris (author of the 4-hour work week) on fear setting.
Annual performance reviews probably don’t help you achieve your strategy and business goals. Most places I go it seems they are more used to justify end of year bonuses or fire low performers. Reviews should be used as a feedback mechanism for learning and improving. The longer between reviews and feedback the less likely learning happens. A great alternative to the annual performance review is a 2 week performance review. Here is an example of what you would cover:
Open forum for any concerns that the employee might have
“I can’t get good help!” “If I could just find the right people.” “No one seems to want to work anymore and they keep leaving.” These are common phrases I hear from business owners and executives. I want to talk about how to hire the right person and how to know if you have a good team player working for you. We’ve talked in the past about “Delivering Feedback to Millennials (and everyone else)“, and “Psychological Safety (a critical part of delivering feedback).” Both talked about how to help people improve. Let’s talk about the traits and skills for a good team player. These attributes can all be worked on improved and are not related to skill. The three items you want to look for are :
Our post on Delivering Feedback to Millennials (and Everyone Else) talked about how feedback is critical to managing an organization. One key element to doing that is the develop a safe space where people feel open enough to give and take feedback. This is called psychological safety and it can mean the difference between learning high performing teams and teams that are average or under performing. Amy Edmondson does an excellent TEDx Talk on Psychological Safety and it’s worth the 11 minutes.
Don’t build the perfect product just build one good and make adjustments are you go. This is a common theme in Silicon Valley and the Lean Startup world. It has a lot of real world testing and validation with companies like Dropbox and Welathfront using it to grow and be very successful. One of the biggest concepts of Lean Startup are to be faster than your competitors to market so you can test your product first and iterate, pivot, and profit first. For Example if the average time for new product development is 1 year in your industry then doing a new product every 11 months is an advantage because after 12 years you have essentially iterated 1 whole extra year. There is a similar concept in the military world called Boyd’s Law. Boyd’s law says that if you can make decisions and changes faster than your opponent you will win a majority of the time. This was first applied to fighter aircraft where inferior aircraft would win dog fights because they had tighter turning radii. Boyd’s Law has what’s called the OODA loop. It stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act. The faster you go through this cycle the more of chance you have to beat your opponent. This is similar to the PDSA or PDCA cycles where you plan do study act or plan do check act.
If you want to make the biggest impact to the business with the least amount of resources and effort. You need to find your high leverage metrics. These are metrics that drive your business and will give you the biggest impact to the business if you change them. Obviously it’s a bit more complicated than just saying we should measure money and money out of a part of the organization. You want to look for metrics that are leading indicators that you have control over that will help produce a desired goal. There are three criteria you will want to ask if you want to know if your metric is high leverage