Making your company “sticky” – Employee retention redefined.

Most people are not entrepreneurs. However, we are presently living in a period where many employees appear to be both dreaming about, and taking action towards either self-employment, or searching for a “unicorn” company. In other words, the type of company that ticks off all of the aspects of what an ideal company would be like to be employed by. Does this company exist?

Perhaps because the definition of what an ideal company to work for is harder to define, or even harder to find if you do come up with a definition, is there a happy medium that employees would be content with? This puts both the employee and the employer in a difficult stand-off, but not an impossible one.

One of the challenges companies face with retaining employees is the employee’s dissatisfaction with feeling like they are truly serving a purpose by working there. Let’s face it, in reality it will be a stretch for many companies to be able to define and align their company with offering all of their employees a heartfelt purpose for working there. Or is it?

Sure, some companies will have obvious reasons you will want to work there, and it could be based on the mission or the product or services they are offering others, but what if your company doesn’t fall into these categories? The good news is that despite the fact a company many not have an intriguing reason for attracting and retaining employees to be there, there is something else they should be considering. A consideration that a number of sports teams and their coaches have cracked the code on.

When you think about a sports team, you might first consider who the team is lead and coached by. You might then consider the type of sport they play, and where their team is located. All things not being equal, I’ll keep this analogy simple, as I see and want to share some dramatic parallels to sports teams being compared to companies.

The first parallel is that both sports teams and companies all have a defined leader. The second comparison is that in both scenarios, the people all need to work together. They also need to do their best work to have a quality outcome. So, how is it that some teams and companies are able to consistently outperform others? Are they stronger, smarter, more talented, being paid more, or are they more motivated or in better health? Perhaps, but none of these are the reasons some teams and companies will have better retention than others.

One of the reasons that sports teams and some companies have figured out and cracked the code on being successful with employee retention has nothing to do with a tangible aspect. It has to do with how the athletes and employees feel about how much they are appreciated by their coach or leader. Is it really that simple? Actually, it is, but the hard part is figuring out how to make athletes and employees feel appreciated.

Let’s dial-up the “way back” machine and take all of us back to when we were first entering school. One of the things most of us were taught, or witnessed, was that it was important to be nice to others. To apply simple manners and to be respectful of one another. Do any of these things cost any money? No, but they are some of the foundational aspects of what contributes to why athletes and employees remain at their company. Even thrive.

When a person feels they are treated well, are respected by their surrounding team members, are being invested in by their coach or leader (e.g., via attention, challenging them, communicating and listening to them, teaching and mentoring them) this matters. Or, if a person feels that they are contributing in their own way to a collective goal or mission, this will make all of the difference in a teams or a company’s retention levels. So, what’s the problem? The problem is that this formula isn’t either understood, or appears to be a mystery or magic trick for sports teams and companies who are having retention challenges. Is this your team or company?

You don’t have to pay attention to the news to know about the Great Resignation, you simply can talk to anyone in your personal or professional circle and you will learn about someone who is part of this scenario. Perhaps you are even someone contributing to it? If you are contributing to this scenario, or if you are a sports team or employer trying to figure out how to retain your greatest asset (e.g., team members, employees), I have some suggestions for you.

For sports team members/employees:

  • Other than making a living, what research did you do to determine your team or employer was the right fit for you? Have you defined what the “right fit” is for you?
  • If you haven’t defined what your values are, it would be a great time to do this too, as you can then have a higher percentage of them aligning with the team you will be joining.
  • Can you play a role in being a mentor or finding a mentor on your team or at your company?
  • If having a flexible schedule is important to you, but not for your company, could you reach a compromise?
  • Are there projects or opportunities within your company that would be an incentive for you to be engaged with? Sometimes doing activities/projects outside of what we are professionally focused on, can help to inspire you to want to continue working there.
  • When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with your coach or boss? If your answer was never, can you imagine attempting to have this type of conversation?
  • Is personal balance in your life compromised because you either feel compelled, or have to work constantly? Or, you feel this way because your mind is occupied by work or your team 24/7? Is this your challenge to contend with, or is the team or company culture contributing to this? Maybe both? Only you can control your balance.
  • Do you know how to strike a balance between your personal and team/work scenario? Sometimes it’s easier to apply the blame on external factors, when it’s you that are the actual culprit for not investing in learning how to find balance in your life.

Employers/Sports Teams:

  • What investments have you made, or programs have you recently offered that would make your company or team more attractive to be a part of?
  • What are you doing to make your employees feel valued and appreciated?
  • Have you asked your team or employees what matters to them, and what beyond a paycheck and benefits are reasons they are associated with your team or company?
  • How would you rate your ability to inspire and motivate your team or employees on a regular basis?
  • How comfortable are you with having vulnerable and meaningful conversations with your team or employees? If your comfort level is low, have you considered what you can do to increase your level?
  • What do you really know about your team or employees beyond what their resume or they have told you? Chances are good that this is an area you could significantly improve upon, and with many options which could be considered to do so.
  • If you were to design a blueprint for the ideal company to work at, can you honestly say that you know what the ideal company blueprint would include? Start by coming up with 5-10 ideas that you can brainstorm on with others.

We all can agree that making your team or company a “sticky” or ideal place to work won’t happen overnight. However, making the investment in figuring out the equation to do so will be beyond worth it, as it will provide you and those impacted with the satisfaction of being on a team or at a company that isn’t just a placeholder on their team or work resume. Imagine being on this team or working at that type of company. It does exist, and I hope you find it, or create it.

TAGS: #Employeeretention #Teams #Leadership #Leader #Sportscoach #Coach #Management #Employeeretentiontips #Teamretentiontips #Motivation #Worklifebalance #Balance #Vulernable #Vulnerability #Communication #Thegreatresignation #Employeerention #Howtoretainemployees #Howtoretainemployeesduringthegreatresignation #HR #CEO #President #Humanresources #Peopledevelopment #Business

Excuses. (7) Tips to stop making them.

Today is the first day of the new year. I have always felt a sense of freedom on this day. Perhaps because looking at it from an author’s and business owner perspective, it is similar to providing me with a blank screen to write something about. I find this exhilarating, but some might find it to be anything but that.

What I like about having a day like today, is also being able to take a moment to both reflect back on what I have achieved in the past year. More importantly, to focus on what lies ahead for me to strive for, and experience both personally and professionally. In terms of how I go about crafting what my year will look like, is probably not the traditional way most people would plot out what they want to accomplish.

Although my system works for me, I firmly believe you need to have your own established method or system. This is why I’m not going to jade your thinking with sharing mine with you. I could, but I know that you will be more successful if you think this through on your own. More importantly, that you create a system or method that you will be motivated to follow through with. In other words, make it simple enough to do so. This is step one in not coming up with an excuse to avoid this process.

Now, can you imagine a day without coming up with an excuse about why you can’t do something? For context, I’m referring to things you would be doing which are all in your favor, and wouldn’t have any negative consequences. With this being established, think about how much freedom you could experience and the sense of accomplishment you would enjoy if you were not constrained by your excuses? The word liberating comes to my mind when I think about this. Perhaps even a revised form of freedom you have yet to encounter in your life?

Several things I spend my time on professionally is leading and motivating people and teams. What I find when we begin working together, is noticing how many of them have what I refer to as an excuse default mode. It’s almost as if they begin their day with restrictions, and too many thoughts and reasons about how they won’t be able to do something. Fortunately, this is a habit, and habits can be broken. So, keep this in mind if you fall into this category.

Not everyone defaults to an excuse mode all the time, but I’m certain you have had days or times in your life when you felt this way. The real question is, do you like living your life both personally and professionally with excuses as the basis for your daily operational foundation? Only you can answer this, and be honest with yourself.

Given the choice, the majority of people in life would rather have a life filled with opportunities and more pleasant memories. The conundrum that prevents us from not defaulting to an excuse mode, is both a habit, and because you haven’t given yourself permission to be bold, and imagine how differently your life could be without restrictions. Or, what I refer to as excuses.

Let’s face it. Coming up with an excuse not to do or experience something doesn’t take much effort. Conversely, nor should coming up with ways that you could in fact do, or experience the things you are denying yourself or possibly others from doing. For example, let’s say you want to expand your professional network. Sure, this will take some effort, but far less than you might imagine. In fact, expanding your network can be analogous to walking. It only takes one step at a time to bring you to a different place.

As a professional example related to networking, I wanted to meet more sports coaches from around the country to better understand aspects related to team dynamics. So, I set out to accomplish this by emailing one coach I knew. In my communication, I told him about what I wanted to accomplish, and from this communication, I met an additional fifty sports coaches from around the country. Was this hard to do? Not really, and actually, it was incredibly exciting and empowering on a multitude of levels.

The point is that I could have easily come up with an excuse about how hard it might be to find fifty sports coaches to speak with, but by taking the first step of doing so, fueled and created momentum to continue to reach my goal. This example is something you can leverage, and if you are looking to start the New Year off without being in an excuse default mode, here are some suggestions to help you to accomplish this.

  • Think of yourself as a person who runs marathons. You didn’t just wake up today and say I’m going to run a marathon today. You put in a large amount of training to get to the point that you could run a marathon. So, think like a marathoner, and focus on what is in front of you, take one step at a time, and build on your distance until you reach your goal.
  • Don’t look too far out towards your “end goal”, remain focused on what you can do right now, today or this week.
  • Some people prefer to have an accountability partner. Only you know if you will benefit from having one, but most people will. Who could be your accountability partner?
  • Starting today, when the first opportunity to come up with an excuse presents itself, think about what it is going to feel like when you don’t come up with an excuse about why you can’t or don’t want to do something.
  • Consider rewarding yourself, or keeping track of how many times you avoided coming up with an excuse.
  • Before you say no, or come up with an excuse about why you can’t do or accomplish something, think through what would happen if you said “yes”.
  • Instead of conveying your excuse, ask the person if you can get back to them with an answer. During the in-between time of responding to the person, come up with only a pro list of why you should do what they asked you to do. In other words, talk yourself into doing and accomplishing what they asked you to consider doing.

How liberating would it be if more people were oriented around not being in excuse mode? Perhaps you can set an example for others and demonstrate how you have become someone who doesn’t let excuses rule or limit opportunities in their life. What are you waiting for? Your excuse free life is waiting for you, and imagine how amazing it is going to be! Happy “excuse free” New Year!

TAGS: #Leadership #Opportunities #Opportunity #SportsCoach #SportsCoaches #Communication #Business #Teams #Noexcuses #Stopmakingexcuses #Howtostopmaking excuses #7Tipstostopmakingexcuses #Tips #Motivation #Teamdynamics #Networking #7Tipstostopmakingexcuses #Excuses

Self-awareness. Have you mastered this?

Let me begin by asking you a question. Would you say that you are fascinating or frustrating to others? Perhaps you are someplace in-between? Or, maybe you don’t know. The good news is that the majority of people are on a journey to discovering their self-awareness. Starting with who they are, and then eventually reaching a point when they can appreciate how others perceive them.

Beginning to focus on who you are may seem like an easy task. The challenge is that it is easier to view others and how they come across via their self-awareness than it is our own. Why? Mainly because we don’t have someone video recording our every move, and then sitting down to do a play by play analysis of how we interacted with others. If we did, would this help us? Perhaps to some degree, but developing our self-awareness can take decades to master.

The other factor about our self-awareness is that with more life experience, it can change how we present ourselves to others, and how others perceive us. We might not appreciate the gradual development of our journey, but at some point, we will realize we have made progress.

Are there some people who naturally have more self-awareness than others, and did they have this skill at an early age? Yes, but they are in the minority. One of the factors to those whose awareness level is higher than others early on, is that they embrace early on who they are. For example, perhaps they are a really outgoing person, and yet, they have been told by some people that they are too friendly. Do these people who hear this information dial down their friendly meter? They might, but they will look to monitor this trait as part of their awareness and apply it more appropriately and situationally.

Remaining on the thread of someone who is very friendly and who is aware of the fact they can dial up and down their friendliness level, how do they know which way the dial should be turned? One of the ways they do this is to read the body language of the person or group they are in, and to determine based on the clues that are being given out. Being able to read others body language is a part of how a person can master their self-awareness, but it’s not the only element.

There is also a component that self-aware people have mastered that allows them to more accurately perceive the energy level of people they are engaging with. This is a much more difficult ability to master, and it is even more difficult to explain, as it is a feeling you get, versus something you can see. For instance, consider a time when you came across someone you work with, or are leading, and you sensed they were not having a good day. In this situation, let’s suppose their body language was not giving off any clues about how they were feeling, but you could get a sense by trusting your gut instinct that something was wrong. Perhaps you even felt your own body tighten up and begin to feel the stress they were emanating?

A third element associated with mastering self-awareness is paying attention and actually listening to what the person you are talking to is saying, but more importantly, what they are not telling you. When you engage with someone you know well, and you would normally have a free-flowing conversation with them. Have you ever noticed when in conversation with them, that they are not talking to you the way they customarily do? In this situation, being aware of this can help both you, and them by asking them questions relating to whether there is something they want to talk to you about, but are hesitating to do so.

For people who have not mastered their self-awareness yet, or who are just beginning their journey of doing so, the best thing they can do is to be open to understanding and learning how to master this skill. Although it is ideal to master this skill early on in our lives, the reality is that most people do not do so until their 30’s, and even into their 40’s and 50’s. Yes, this might seem improbable, but I can tell you that from my professional experience, I see this happening on a regular basis.

Is it a bad thing that so many people are lacking in their self-awareness? No, because as long as someone is willing to work on their self-awareness and increasing their level, this is an extremely positive attribute. It is also an indication they will be in a much better place socially, personally and professionally when they do. Especially if they are a parent, leader, mentor or sports coach or someone who is regularly engaging with other people in a teaching manner.

So, are there ways that people can begin mastering their self-awareness? You bet there are, and below are some suggestions to put you or someone you know in the direction of doing so.

  • How would you rate your own level of self-awareness on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest level? If you are at a level 3, ideally being at a 4-5 is where you want to be, and you can get there with practice.
  • Who would you rate in your professional or personal circles as someone who is at a level 5 for self-awareness?
  • Are any of the people you have rated a 5 people you could ask to help you with increasing your own level of self-awareness?
  • Can you think of a time recently when you felt your self-awareness level was higher than it typically is? What were the circumstances in this situation which made you feel like you had a higher level? Could you take elements from that situation and apply it to other scenarios to help yourself?
  • Have you ever had an opportunity to take an assessment to learn more about yourself? There are many assessments to choose from, and I’m not going to bias you on which one to select, but you can reach out to me if you want my opinion.
  • Be honest with yourself. Have you ever considered that you might not be that self-aware? If so, does it matter to you whether you increase your level, or are you satisfied with who you are, and where you are at in your life?

If you are not satisfied with your level of self-awareness, you have taken the first step to improve it by admitting this to yourself. Your investment in your self-awareness journey will be worth every ounce of effort you put into it, and I can assure you of this, as I see what happens on a daily basis to the people who are making this investment in themselves.

TAGS: #SelfAwareness #Awareness #Leadership #Leader #Coach #SportsCoach #Mentor #Parent #Business #ProfessionalAwareness #PersonalAwareness #MasteringSelfAwareness

Why do you make fake plans?

Can you think of a time recently that you were engaged in a conversation with someone you know, and how the topic of planning to do something came up? When this happened, you likely talked about following through and making these plans happen, but what is the percentage of time this actually happened?

Sure, most people have good intentions of following through with the plans they verbally commit to, but I’m going to suggest that these plans are fake. They are fake because if they were real, and the person really wanted to have the plans materialize, they would have acted to see them through. Although perhaps not, as maybe they didn’t follow through with the plans they talked about for a number of different reasons.

The first reason is perhaps they forgot about the conversation, or were only going along in the spirit of making the other person feel good about having another time when they would be getting together to do something. Or, is it possible that people are just lazy, and lack the diligence, energy and commitment it takes to follow through? I suspect the reason is oriented more around this possibility.

Can you think of a time when you made plans with someone, and you genuinely intended to have these plans occur, but they never did? How many times would you say this happens? My estimate of this happening is potentially higher as a percentage than I’m willing to state, but it’s not a favorable number. Although I wish it was. What would your percentage estimate be?

As I was considering some of the other reasons people in general make fake plans, and these occur both in business and in our personal lives, I was discouraged by this phenomenon. Namely because when I personally consider either these fake plans that I have tried to follow up on, how difficult it can be to get people to commit to the reality of them happening. Yes, people are busy, but it’s also a matter of being true to your word. Something that is also woven into this issue of fake planning.

Depending on your lens of looking at the problem of people making fake plans, in my experience, I have both been witness to, and subjected to other people’s verbal commitments, which were often disappointingly not committed to.  This non-committal situation is a foundational problem which has been supporting the issue with fake planning for a long time. The good news is that this problem can be addressed. Taking it a step further, I have personally acted on in my own life to prune fake planning type of people out of my life both personally and professionally.

If I were to ask you right now how many fake plans have you made lately, or let’s refer to them as opportunistic plans that have not occurred yet, would you be in the percentage category of people who are making fake plans with others? Perhaps on a regular basis. As you stop to pause to think about this, consider why you have been doing this. Have or will there be repercussions of not following through on plans you verbally committed to? Do you care, or do you accept this as it’s just that way life goes?

I chose a long time ago to not accept associating with people who are fake planners, and when I meet someone new, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt to prove to me that they don’t fall into this category. When they don’t, I’m pleasantly surprised, and always happy to find someone who has a similar conviction of being true to their word.

When spoken plans are followed through with, they tend to enrich our lives. If you are someone who is a fake planner, or perhaps know someone who is, and are interested in how to stop doing this, below are some suggestions for you or them to consider.

  • Yes, this is going to be painfully obvious, but if you make plans with someone today, follow through today on making those plans happen.
  • Consider why you are making fake plans with others. Do you have valid reasons for doing so, and are you doing this more often than not?
  • What would happen in your life if you actually followed through and made all of the fake plans you talked about occur?
  • Have you noticed that others fall into this category? The first step to breaking a habit or to change the course of action, is to acknowledge you are doing it.
  • Are you aware of some people who are amazing at following through with plans you spoke about? Could you attempt to try out some of their methods and follow through with plans like they do?
  • What if you surrounded yourself with more people who are true to their word, and follow through with what they say they are going to do?
  • Imagine how much more enriched your personal and professional life will be by being able to actually looking forward to plans that will occur?
  • Do you want to be a role model for others? Following through and not being labeled a “fake planner” is a great place to start.

How do you communicate? Do you answer or ask questions or both?

I have always been the type of person who is highly aware of people’s communication styles, and the way they interact with others. Throw in an intriguing accent, and I’m fascinated by listening to what someone is saying. However, it’s not just what they are saying that I am paying attention to. It’s the method they are using to communicate that I notice. 

What I mean by noticing how someone communicates has more to do with the way they are interacting during the conversation. In other words, if I were to simplistically categorize a common way that people converse, it would be to place them in one to three categories. 

The first category is the type of person who is a good listener, and the second category is the type of person who asks questions, followed by the third category of someone who has a balanced approach of both listening and asking questions. However, most people fall into the first two categories, and more often the majority play the role of listener.  

Consider some recent conversations you have had. Which of the three categories would you say you embodied from a communication perspective? Chances are good that you were the talker. In fact, it is much easier to play this role than it is to the be one asking questions. Why? Because when someone is asking you questions, they are typically thinking about how to actively engage with you. This takes both skill and effort, and not everyone is polished at doing this. Or, aware of the fact they have not fully developed their skills of asking questions yet. 

Let’s take a common situation you have or will find yourself in. You are at a social engagement, and you may or may not know the majority of the people there. Sure, you will easily be able to talk to the people you know, maybe not, but more importantly, how will you handle interacting with the people you have not met before? Do you have a common set of questions you will ask them? Perhaps a handful of them? What happens when you run out of the questions you will be asking the person? Do you wrap up the conversation and move on to talk to someone else?

Perhaps the person you were talking to was skilled at asking questions, and was able to go beyond the common set of questions you would typically ask. When you come across someone like this, the conversation tends to flow well, and you feel actively engaged in a lively discussion. If the questions you are fielding are about you, the conversation could go on for hours. However, in this scenario, are you aware of the fact you are not balancing out the conversation? Did you in fact ask any other questions other than your standard set of ones? 

Knowing that when you are in a conversation with someone who is advanced at being able to communicate well, you should observe the next time it happens how much you are contributing to the conversation. Did you hijack the conversation and make it a monologue about you? Many people do this unknowingly, and I’m always amazed by their lack of awareness of this occurring. Part of the reason this happens, is that it is commonly understood that people enjoy talking about themselves. So, when you tap into allowing them to do so, they will seemingly shut off their ability to realize they should sprinkle in asking the other person questions too. 

If you are noticing that you would like to attempt to have more balanced conversations, and perhaps alter your current communication style, here are some suggestions to help you to strive to do this.

·      Intentionally develop questions you could ask either someone you know well, or perhaps don’t know well that are open ended ones that will require more than a one-word response. 

·      Practice weaving your questions into a conversation, and strive to get to the point where you don’t feel like you are awkwardly interjecting questions for the sake of including them in your conversation. 

·      Become aware of the time you are interacting with someone conversationally. If within the first 3-5 minutes you have been doing all of the talking, and have not asked the other person a question, you know its time for you to switch gears and start to ask the person you are talking to some questions too. 

·      When you ask someone how are they doing, are you only expecting a quick and courteous answer, or are you truly looking for them to provide you with more information? Of course, asking this question is situational, so if it’s going to be a question tossed out as you are passing them by, then a brief answer would be appropriate. Conversely, if you are asking someone “How are you?” when you both have time, make sure you provide enough time to allow them to reciprocate this question. Not everyone does this. 

·      Ask someone you trust, and if you are curious, about which conversational category you fall into. Please don’t get defensive with this person if you don’t like their response, and be sure to thank them for telling you about their observation of your communication style. 

·      Your mindset about becoming a more balanced communicator needs to be wide open.

·      It is critical that you will need to authentically be curious about asking questions with the intent of truly listening to what you are hearing. 

·      When you are actively listening, you will hear things being said that will naturally lead you to be able to ask additional questions. That’s if you want to keep the conversation going. 

·      If you are in, or want to be in a leadership role, it will be critical for you to master the art of being able to communicate well. There is plenty of information to consume to help you to become a more advanced or better communicator.

Mastering the ability to communicate well with others is at the top of my list of important skills that everyone should be working on. Yes, this is hard to do, but the rewards of being able to communicate at a higher level will be rewarding to you in so many new ways, and I can’t wait for you to find out what I mean by this. 

TAGS: #Communication #CommunicatingWithOthers #EffectivelyCommunicating #HowToCommunicateWellWithOthers #HowDoYouCommunicate #WhatsYourCommunicationStyle #Business #Leadership