Your Mission, Should You Choose To Accept It...

“Our mission is to delight our customers as the number one technology driven global manufacturer and marketer of value differentiated XYZ products and services. We will strengthen our leadership position through a shared-value culture of employee involvement where an intense focus on continuous improvement delivers shareholder value in everything we do.”

In the last LinkedIn article I published, Mission Accepted? Mission Accomplished?, I painted a picture of a mission statement full of big words, printed on fancy paper and mounted in an expensive frame, hanging on the wall in the front lobby of most organizations. Then I challenged anyone reading to consider whether or not anyone other than the first time guest at the location ever paid any attention at all to what it actually said…

The one I sanitized and shared above was not only hanging in one of those really nice frames, it was printed on the back of everyone employee’s ID badge they used to clock in and...

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But I Don’t Even Smoke?

A little over twenty years ago, a friend of mine was promoted from his role as a machine operator in the department we worked in to supervising that same department on an off shift. In those days, even the night shift crew had a ton of seniority and experience. That company had a much deserved reputation for being one of the best employers in the area… I had been there for two years or so and was still one of the newest people in the building!

While nearly everyone had significant experience, I’m not suggesting that everyone was actively engaged and working to exceed expectations like we’ve been discussing through the last few posts… In fact, one of the most senior guys on the shift, although being a true master of his craft, was about as actively disengaged as anyone I’ve ever seen!

Let’s pretend his name was Tim… Tim was a smoker. Before I move on, this isn’t meant as a shot at anyone who smokes - it’s just the story I...

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Attack the Issue, Love the Person!

We’ve been looking at different scenarios where team members aren’t performing to the level they’re capable, whether that be through their words or their deeds. In some cases, it can be very intentional. But there are certainly times where they’re just not aware that more is needed. 

For the most part, supervisors, and owners have great relationships with the people around them. That’s how it really should be, right! Solid relationships lead to long term working relationships, but that can also make it pretty tough to have a candid conversation… That said, not addressing a situation can lead to all kinds of yucky business down the road!

One of the fundamentals I learned early on with behavior-based safety, more specifically when addressing at-risk behavior with a peer, was to be very intentional about pointing out the potential for injury from that behavior and be very careful not to question their ability or intent in the process....

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Sometimes We Need to Go All In!

A number of years ago, I was scheduled to visit some job sites with the field supervisor at the company I was working with. I met him at the warehouse just before 5am so I could have some time with his team members as he was making sure they each had the materials they would need at each of their jobs that day. Before everyone went their separate ways, one of the most senior team members had apparently lost a few nickels in the soda machine. He was stopping around like someone had kicked his dog. He made a comment about how fitting it was that the soda machine was there. He said it was just like the company, always taking and never giving…

I’m not gonna kid you. That comment went through me like a knife! This fellow had been with the company for around 25 years and was one of the highest paid guys on the payroll. Compound that with the fact that the soles of his shoes likely wore out long before his work gloves, and the fact that the owner of the company was an...

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What Are You Willing To Risk?

In the last blog post, I Just Can’t Take The Risk, tiptoed around the edges but stopped just short of defining what that perceived risk was… With limited time right now, I’ll touch on the perceived risk quickly and toss out a few other risks that many managers or business owners may not recognize until it’s too late. 

Don’t worry though, I won’t drop the ball on you! I’ll circle back with the next few posts to cover some things we can each do to effectively handle each of the risks we look at now.

The risk I’ve seen so many supervisors, managers, and business owners work so hard to avoid is the potential for losing a long term, highly skilled team member to the competition after addressing an issue with them. In many of those situations, that person is truly a master of their craft. But from time to time, even the best in the business get lackadaisical… But there are also times where a senior team member can begin to...

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I Just Can’t Take The Risk...

Over the last decade, I’ve seen dozens of situations where a senior or incredibly skilled team member has chosen not to exceed expectations. The challenge in most of those instances really boiled down to that team member actually choosing to not even meet the expectations the organization (or business owner, or their team members) had clearly defined for the role they were in.

As we looked at how failing to exceed, or even meet, expectations can impact customer retention and the organization’s overall profitability through the last several posts, it was extremely clear that average performance won’t be what separates any of our businesses from the competition. This is just as true when it comes to the culture we build internally - how tasks get done even when a customer will likely never have direct exposure to them…

Let’s be honest, highly skilled team members are hard to come be regardless of the ups and downs of the economy. That often results in...

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Like It or Not, That’s How It’s Gonna Be… Really?

Have you ever been told that by a company you’ve done business with? Like it or not, that’s how it's gonna be… Have you ever heard a supervisor say something like this to one of their employees? Have you ever been that employee???

I remember being told something very similar to that by an administrative assistant for the attorney I was dealing with about 15 years ago following a nasty car accident and the other party had a less than stellar insurance company. After being jerked around by the other insurance company for weeks and not hearing back from the attorney for quite a while too, I began calling daily until I got a response. After a few days of this, she told me “You’re not our only client. We’ll get to you when we get to you.” That didn’t go as well as she thought it would…

While I can’t say that I’ve ever been anything like that by a supervisor, I’ve certainly heard it said a few times. It’s one...

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