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“Let us realize that: the privilege to work is a gift,
the power to work is a blessing,
the love of work is success!”
-David O McKay

All too often we are guilty of assuming people can read our minds. We notice an employee or colleague does something helpful or impressive and we think to ourselves how much we appreciate them, but we rarely vocalize it. I know I’m guilty of this. Labor Day, a day set aside to honor the American worker, is a time to reflect on the hard work the people around you put into their jobs every day. It’s also a time to reflect on how much work you’ve done this year and celebrate your victories and accomplishments.

As a business leader, we need to make our employees feel seen, heard, appreciated and validated. We can do this in a number of ways. Showing gratitude for their labor does not have to be a grand ordeal. Simply popping into their office to let them know you appreciate them can really change their day and shift the culture of the workspace. Employees are much more likely to work hard when they know their efforts are seen and appreciated.

You can take them to lunch, give them a shout on social media, offer time off, or host a team event just to show your appreciation. There are many ways you can let your employees know that they matter. 

Today, maybe you’re celebrating  Labor Day on the beach, or at a backyard picnic with friends. Maybe you’re still in the office, because you’re a hustler and things have to get done. However you are choosing to spend this Labor Day, remember to take time to reflect on all of the hard work you’ve put into your business so far. Use this upcoming week to remind those around you that their contributions to the company matter. That they matter. When we put people above profits, big things happen. 

My challenge for you this week: 

#1: Be intentional about showing gratitude to those around you.
#2: Use today to rest, but hustle hard this week to not only meet your personal and professional goals but crush them. 

If you’re looking for another feel-good article about easy ways to keep New Year’s Resolutions and a list of the most popular resolutions, this isn’t it. We’re excited about the new year, as you should be because it means limitless options for wealth, success strengthened relationships and reaching the next level. But we are also realistic and know that a significant percentage of goals and commitments made in the excitement of the new year fizzle out by mid-march. Why? Because without a plan, without calculated action steps, without deadlines and accountability, new year’s resolutions are just wishes. So this year, why not decide to be intentional about your growth and success instead of hoping that it happens simply because you said it on January 1st?

One of the ways to ensure that your new year’s resolution sticks and doesn’t fade away once the excitement of the new year is gone is by planning an off season that allows you to plan, analyze, strategize, refocus and recharge. While you may plan to charge full steam ahead into the new year, make sure part of your business plan for 2019 includes an off season. We’ve discussed the many different benefits of the implementing an off season and all the things an off season is not, but one of the biggest moves you can make is implementing the Off Season Training Course into your business plan. If you are going to be intentional about creating a powerful off season, the best way to do it is to completely immerse yourself in the resources, planning pages, workbooks and audio downloads we’ve created to help you maximize your off season results.

Another way to ensure your goals become a reality is by connecting with people who will hold you accountable. Finding a mentor is a powerful way to get a fresh perspective on your ideas and learn new ways to reach the next level. By sharing your dreams and aspirations with someone who is passionate about your success, you are arming yourself with someone who will push you to keep going, even when you don’t feel like it. Especially when you don’t feel like it. Attend networking events, participate in a mastemind class, or simply seek out the guidance of someone who has “been there, done that” to keep yourself accountable.

One final way to make sure you are next level bound in 2019 is to make sure you put habits and rituals in place that will set you up for success. Decide what your absolutes are and stick with them. What are some things you can commit to doing that will benefit you in the long run? What are some temptations that you know will set you back and what can you do to avoid them? This may mean saying no to happy hour with coworkers to stay committed to your habits or distancing yourself from a less-than-supportive friend who often sidetracks you from your commitments and plans. Let a few trusted friends know about the habits and rituals you’re trying to establish so they can help you stick with it.

January 1st is a great time for fresh starts and new beginnings, and we strongly encourage you to use this new chapter as a time to set big goals. By planning a powerful off season, finding a mentor and establishing habits and rituals that will keep you focused, you can make sure your 2019 starts with purpose!

 

One of my favorite sayings is: “I’ll hear what you say, but I’ll trust what you do.” I think this is absolutely brilliant. You should use it when you want to feel real smart and savvy as a leader. I first heard it used by college football coach Jerry Kill at the University of Minnesota when he was giving a motivational talk to a room full of business leaders. He was explaining how he communicates and relates to his players. In other words, you can talk all you want about what you are about to do, what you intend to do, and what you promise to do. However, the only way to truly evaluate you as a player and a person is by watching what you actually do. How you operate tells the story about who you really are.

As you know, I am always thinking. This statement is normally used by a leader talking to a subordinate. They’re saying that they’re watching you and will let you know how you’re doing. If I don’t like something you are doing or how you are doing it, I will be sure to stop you dead in your tracks to correct you. Leaders have such a nice seat up on the mountain where everyone comes and kisses our pinky rings and we give them the lay of the land. We make the decisions and everyone waits for us to bark orders. We even get to go home and talk about them to whoever wants to listen. “My office manager just doesn’t get it. My sales manager needs to be more organized. My legal department is too technical.” Blah, blah, blah.

Let’s think about this statement again: “I’ll hear what you say, but I’ll trust what you do.” Can’t your subordinates use that toward you as well? One thing I want to impress upon any leader is that everyone is watching you with a critical eye all of the time. They will hear what you say, but they will trust what you do. Everyone you lead wants to know if you practice what you preach, so here are a few questions for you to make sure you are not the subject of pillow talk. Think about it: we have all had an idiot for a boss, right? Are you someone’s boss right now? If the answer is yes, this means you could be someone’s idiot. Here is what leaders need to be mindful of.

1.  Integrity- Employees and the people you lead pick up on your heart every time you speak. Do you do the right thing at all times? If you cut corners and cheat, you are sending a message to everyone you lead that it is ok to cheat and be unethical.

 2.  Work ethic- Are you working as hard as you expect others to work? Do you crack the whip and then sit back and drink lemonade all day? Make sure you preach hard work and also model hard work.

3.  Commit to excellence- Is average okay? If you want to build a culture of excellence, make sure you model e.xcellence. If average is okay for you, it will be okay for everyone.

4.  Look like the leader- Everyone you lead needs to have confidence in you as a leader if you want them to follow you. It helps for you to look the part to pass the eyeball test. Most people never think about personal appearance, but it is real. Studies show that the better you look and dress, the more money you make.

Why should you do all of this? Because everyone is watching you.

Are your employees owners or renters?

Studies have shown that employees who take an ownership in their jobs are more accountable for their performance, helping lead the company to greater success.

A leader’s first step in building accountability in a company’s culture is making sure everyone owns something. Everyone needs to be an OWNER.

You can’t expect accountability out of your employees if you don’t allow them to own what they do. If they don’t own their jobs, then they are merely RENTERS — renting a job.

What does a company full of renters look like?

  • Turnover is high and consistent
  • There is low employee engagement
  • There are poor working relationships and little to no socialization outside of work.

I remember how exciting it was to move out of my college dorm for the first time. Moving into the dorm was one thing, but that first apartment in college was another level of excitement. I still remember my first shower curtain, which had a spread of aces from a deck of cards. It was so cheesy, but it was mine — in my apartment.

However, before we could move in there and hang that curtain, there was a minor business transaction that had to be executed. We signed a one-year lease and was informed that after a year it goes month to month. We lived in that apartment for exactly one year and moved out. We moved into another apartment for a year and then moved out.

Renting for most is a short-term relationship. It NEVER crossed our minds to upgrade or improve the apartment. After the initial excitement wore off, we just lived there. We actually left the apartment in worse shape than when we moved in. It was a miracle we actually got our security deposit back.

But we all know what happens when we buy our first home. We get crazed and have a totally different attitude and approach. I don’t care if you build it from the ground up or bought an existing home. Our attitude and engagement are totally different as OWNERS versus RENTERS. We care! And we care a lot! Our hearts are in it from Day 1.

It’s the same in the business world. Some companies have a culture where employees are merely renting a job. No wonder they have high turnover and poor employee engagement. The building is full of RENTERS.

And those companies lose top performers too easily. Top performers are OWNERS, and need to be surrounded by OWNERS.

Here are three tips for creating a company full of owners:

1.  Clearly lay out the expectation of ownership when you hire new employees.

2.  When you become an owner, you take the credit and blame. So you want to hire people that love to perform under pressure.

3.  Always show your employees you have confidence in them and trust them publicly and privately. The confidence you give them will encourage them in their ownership efforts.

 

Great CEOs understand that investing in human capital is paramount to growing their companies. The concept is employee engagement diagram hand drawing on chalkboardsimple: Helping your employees perform at an optimal level will help your profits perform, too.

Every organization has its high-performers — if you buy into the “80-20 rule,” they typically make up 20 percent of your workforce — who consistently produce at a high level. You love them. You wish you could clone an army of them. They’re the star quarterbacks on your bowl-bound team.

But not everyone can be an MVP. The majority of your professionals, the other 80 percent, fall into the “average” category. They aren’t good enough to call “high performers,” but not bad enough to get rid of, either. They are just average.

What if you could get the 80 percent to perform more like the 20 percent? Here’s how I’ve helped companies strengthen average employees through personal accountability.

1. Know how your employees will react

As we’ve established, not all employees are created equal. This is especially evident in their reaction to criticism.

High-performers are accountable by nature, constantly thinking of ways they can improve themselves with or without your well-thought-out performance review. They probably think more about performance improvement than you do.

Average performers, on the other hand, spend less time reflecting on their work and might wrestle with your feedback. They aren’t as accountable as your high-performers, so your well-meaning performance review creates hardship, negative emotions, and contempt. Knowing this changes how we approach the 80 percent.

2. Help employees own their work

If you want to inspire the average segment to get moving, try some type of accountability training prior to your performance reviews. This will condition your employees to own what they do and want more out of it as a result.

If you can convince even half of your average employees to focus on improvement, the entire workforce benefits tremendously. You may even get some of your poor performers to become average.

3. Focus on how “we” can improve

Make sure you communicate that you appreciate each employee’s efforts, but always articulate how can “we” do more. Never focus on “you,” because average performers can become defensive if they feel like it’s a personal attack.

Emphasizing the “we” in your conversation will make improvement feel like more of a team effort.

4. Maintain a coaching culture

Create an atmosphere where coaching is a part of the job when you onboard new employees. By introducing them to the company culture early on — specifically to your high-performers — employees can keep each other accountable.

5. Set ambitious goals

Set high benchmarks that will push your average producers without discouraging them. This will create scenarios and expectations for more production. Always dangle the carrot!

6. Celebrate great performance

Always celebrate your top performers publicly as a motivator for them to keep producing. This will motivate some of your average performers to produce more. Rewards could be things like choice seats at your awards banquet or an invitation-only high-performer’s breakfast with a guest speaker.

7. Nourish potential

There are many great ways to motivate your best average performers to continue climbing. For example, try spending one-on-one time with your average performers who have the most potential to elevate their performance.

You could also budget professional coaching for your up-and-comers, or facilitate team brainstorming sessions. Employees work harder when they feel that their ideas are being heard.

Please share in the comments which of these 7 you will apply in your business and why.