“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
Asking someone “How was your day” vs asking “What was the best part of your day” will usually get you two very different answers. The usual response to how was your day is at best “fine.” When you ask what was the best part of your day it forces a person to think through and tell you the high part of their day and it elicits different emotions. This sounds great and you might be thinking like I did “Positivitiy is great but how does it help the business other than it’s a nicer place to work?” Being a nice place to work has it’s benefits from reducing turn over to higher engagement of employees. Aside from that there is some research that shows the amount of positive comments to negative comments can affect sales performance directly.
This the final post about a change management frame work ATEEP. We’ve covered alignment in Framework for Change Management Part I , team in Framework for Change Management Part II, experimenting in Framework for Change Management Part III, and execution in Framework for Change Management Part IV. The last step is the one that almost no one will pay attention to. That is how to make the changes permanent. Another way to say this is how do you make it a part of the fabric of the company. The usual way to do this is to create meeting, metrics, or other management tools. Usually this is helpful but not enough. To create something as part of your culture you need other items like stories, artifacts, and rewards. A story is simply what gets shared from person to person. It’s important to highlight a story and repeat it so that everyone understand the message. One example of a story is the story of how Google started off in a garage and grew to a giant corporation. Or the story of how the Facebook founder came up with the idea for Facebook. Artifacts are that are usually physical that reinforce the culture you want. An example of this would be t-shirts talking about the non profit that the company supports or even placards that you keep next to your ID badge. With rewards it can be both monetary and non-monetary. Non-monetary rewards can be public praise, highlighting exceptional performance, or even a thank you for doing something related to the change you want.
ATEEP is the framework that we use to help accelerate and make change stick. We’ve covered alignment in Framework for Change Management Part I , team in Framework for Change Management Part II, and experimenting in Framework for Change Management Part III. Once you have your solution execution is next in the change framework. At this point you have to take what you’ve learned and role it out to the entire organization. Now this may sound easy but can be the most difficult part. Especially if you haven’t done the first 3 parts properly. One of the tools you want to use is a RACI. This is a way to determine who is Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed during the role out process. Another tool you will want to use is a scope document where you highlight was is in scope and out of scope. There are standard project management tools that are very effective if you have the proper Alignment, Team, and Experiments that will produce the results you want.
ATEEP is the framework that we use to help accelerate and make change stick. We’ve covered alignment in Framework for Change Management Part I and team in Framework for Change Management Part II. This post we’ll cover the first E experimentation. Before we talk about experimenting I want to first talk about the difference between learning goals and performance goals. A performance goal is a goal that most of us are familiar with. Something like I want to loose 10 pounds in 6 months, or we want to reduce defects by 5%. A learning goal would be “I want to learn nutrition science and change psychology so that I can loose 10 pounds.” Another example would be “We want to learn how to produce a better widget so that we can reduce the defects by 5%.” Th subtle difference is that we don’t assume we know he answer with learning goals. Experimenting is part of the learning process and you won’t always be succeeding. This is an important part – you will not be successful with every experiment you run.
ATEEP is the framework that we use to help accelerate and make change stick. We’ve covered alignment in Framework for Change Management Part I. This post we’ll cover T(eam) and why it’s important to the goals you want to achieve. Team refers to the people that you decide to put in charge to get the project done. When you put together a team you are not only putting technical experts but it’s important to put influencers as well. We’ve found that you need about 40-60% of the workforce involved in some way with the project to create a tipping point. It can be as low as 20% if you have the right influencers on the team but not all teams have such strong influencers.