Here is why I guarantee that I can improve your organizational performance

Below is an article about giving up bossing and take-up coaching. This is how I help you improve organizations to improve performance or I don’t get paid. How can I be so confident? Well, only 2 in 10 of your managers have the natural ability to manage people. In fact, some of your managers should not be allowed to manage people at all. When we train you, managers, to move to coach instead of boss sales go up, profits go up and a lot of other good things happen that is described in the article. Give it a read and then let’s have a short call do see if there is a fit for us to have further discussions.

Gallup started studying managers many years ago (including an analysis of 49,495 business units with 1.2 million employees across 22 organizations in seven industries and 45 countries) and found that great managers are completely different from adequate ones.

In brief, they’re not bosses. Bossing is the least of what they do and a last, unwelcome, resort. Rather, these managers are coaches. And coaching is distinct from bossing, Gallup’s research shows, in three key ways:

  1. Coaches focus on individual and team engagement, seeing their role as the provider of what employees need to succeed. Whether by training or preternatural talent — or, ideally, both — they know the 12 elements of engagement by heart and deliver them.

    Bosses, on the other hand, usually just tell people what to do.

  2. Coaches understand, leverage and get great satisfaction from deploying the unique talents and strengths of each employee. Great managers are always developing and positioning talent to maximize outcomes, and they get extraordinary results from it: Workers who know and use their strengths average 10% to 19% increased sales and 14% to 29% increased profit, among other bottom-line results.

    Bosses, by comparison, often just supervise production.

  3. Coaches set clear expectations and performance goals, offering feedback that optimizes individual strengths (a rare practice, as only 26% of employees say the feedback they get helps them do better work) and increases team effectiveness.

    Bosses, however, typically watch for opportunities to correct or punish employees whose performance doesn’t measure up.

There’s another, maybe more noticeable, the difference between great managers and less effective ones: The best managers talk to their employees and teams. A lot. But it’s not their word count that defines them — it’s what they say.

Great managers know great performance comes from frequent, meaningful conversations with their workers. They can’t abide “management by remote control.” They know what to talk about because they know their people well, which sparks conversations that improve performance and build genuine relationships.

So it’s a pity there are so few managers like that. Only about two in 10 managers intuitively understand how to engage employees, develop their strengths and set clear expectations through everyday conversations. In effect, only about two in 10 managers instinctively know how to coach. But the others can learn.

How Managers Can Learn How to Coach

If leaders want their managers to take daily accountability for employee engagement, performance and development — to truly give up on bossing and begin real coaching — those managers need to be coached themselves.

That will require leadership’s ongoing support: training, resources and internal best-practice champions. In fact, a multidimensional and longitudinal development strategy for managers is leadership’s best option. But organizations don’t have to design a whole new management structure — just execute on the right resources.

Gallup’s learning programs and courses can help managers build their own individual development plans, increase their own capabilities and solve their own local-level problems. And time is of the essence: Managers are 27% likelier than their employees to report feeling a lot of stress at work, and many are at risk of burnout. Moving managers from boss to coach may require a better  manager experience.

The best managers talk to their employees and teams. A lot. But it’s not their word count that defines them — it’s what they say.

Leaders should also keep close tabs on their managers’ engagement. Managers are slightly more engaged than individual contributors — not much of a coup, as roughly a third of all U.S. workers, are engaged — and their feelings about work can affect the rest of the team. As one manager Gallup interviewed noted, employees watch and take cues from their manager. While bossing just requires stamina, coaching requires purpose and belief. And leaders can do a better job of investing in manager development.

Be a good steward of time and talent. Start coaching soon.

Gallup research shows that seven out of 10 leaders and managers see developing people as one of their primary tasks, and that’s a good sign. Engagement, performance and development are interlinked and interdependent. The conversations that great managers have — can’t help but have — weave engagement needs, performance coaching and development opportunities together. That brings clarity to strategy and goals, allowing workers to do what they do best.

To be honest, not every manager is capable of that. Some believe their role is to crack the whip until goals are met. Those people have no business managing others. That’s why a scientifically valid selection instrument is so important — it tells leaders what kind of manager they’re putting in charge of employee performance.

Their teams wish leaders would hurry. Along with researching managers, Gallup has been tracking the “will of the workforce”: the elements of a job that matter most to workers. The most highly talented thoroughly reject command-and-control management. They crave development. They expect purpose. And they will leave a boss as fast as they can in search of a coach.

Seven out of 10 leaders and managers see developing people as one of their primary tasks.

The best workers want the kind of manager Gallup started studying years ago — the exceptional ones who catalyze outstanding performance, development and engagement through conversation. Leaders should want that kind of manager too.

Those managers are how companies succeed. And they are completely different from everyone else.

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Employees Want Work That Matters — Managers Can Help

Did you know that young adults ages 18 to 29 in the U.S. view socialism more positively than capitalism? It is the only age group in the country to demonstrate such a preference.

Yet, this interpretation of the data is overly simplistic.

Young adults are not so much interested in socialism as they are disenchanted with capitalism. The reason younger generations expect more from capitalism is as much about their desire to have an impact on the world as it is about their social influences.

Finding Purpose in Work and Life

Church, families and local communities are how many older Americans have derived purpose and meaning from life, but younger adults view these institutions differently. Whereas 64% of Americans aged 65 and older belong to a church, only 42% of millennials do. Millennials are also waiting longer to get married and are less likely to feel pride in their communities. They are much more likely to look to their daily work to find purpose.

Younger generations of employees want more than a paycheck. They want a job that will make an impact, and there is one person in the workplace who can help connect their purpose in life to their purpose at work. That person is the manager.

Managers Who Align Employee Purpose Improve Engagement

Gallup has interviewed tens of millions of employers and managers across 160 countries and found that 70% of the variance in an employee’s engagement — the level of psychological commitment to work — ties back to the immediate supervisor. When it comes to fundamental employee needs that, when met, drive performance at work, managers can influence all 12. From setting expectations and providing supplies and materials to challenging employees to learn and grow, a good manager guides their employees to tap into their talents in pursuit of higher performance. A great manager leverages these opportunities to win employee buy-in and align an individual’s purpose in life with their role in the workplace.

The manager is uniquely positioned to be the one person in the organization who unlocks purpose, especially for younger generations. The best managers help employees understand their worth — not just in their organization and workgroups, but also in society — through the lens of their strengths.

Younger generations of employees want more than a paycheck.

When managers practice strengths-based leadership, it helps them understand the unique talents of the people they manage and provides a common language to discuss what people do best. When employees feel recognized and appreciated for what they bring to the table, they are more likely to open up about what they want from their work. Then, their managers can help employees apply the best of who they are to their purpose and see how it connects to the purpose of the organization.

Uncovering this purpose for the employee is like the hinge of a door for a manager. A personal connection to work opens a person’s focus from their individual needs to the team’s needs. As human beings, we have a natural desire to belong to a larger group and derive meaning from being a part of that group.

When a person feels that they belong and that fellowship means something to them, they begin to focus on the group’s needs and not their own. The employee is able to work with broader horizons in mind once that personal dimension is activated.

The manager is uniquely positioned to be the one person in the organization who unlocks purpose.

When managers engage teams purposefully, they outperform their peers who don’t on a number of substantial metrics including lower absenteeism, less turnover, higher productivity and increased impact. It feels like magic, but it’s not — it’s what the younger generation expects from the workplace.

The Most Powerful Differentiator a Tech Company Can Create

There are some big questions that technology companies in the channel are asking themselves today:

Who is the customer of the future? How can we cement our position in their minds and in the market — and continue to deliver to our shareholders?

While leaders are asking these questions, there are also dramatic disruptions happening in the channel. Tech companies know they can no longer rely on a competitive product and speed to market as a differentiator. It’s merely a ticket to play.

Companies must demonstrate their value and find their “in” with the end-customer to solidify their standing and win a seat at the table.

They can do this — if they solve for customer engagement, not just satisfaction.

Why? Because customer engagement is the key to a customer’s emotional or psychological attachment to a brand, product or company. And customer decisions are predominantly emotional.

When a customer is fully engaged with a company, the customer forms an attachment that influences their purchasing behaviors beyond rational factors.

This presents an opportunity for technology companies, as only 29% of business-to-business (B2B) customers are fully engaged.

Gallup finds that becoming a trusted adviser and delivering customer impact are the most powerful, emotionally-driven differentiators for unlocking the organic growth that’s in such short supply.

However, companies underestimate what it takes to capitalize on the emotional economy and engage customers — and it’s a complex initiative.

Tech companies need to move from being product providers to strategic partners overnight due to industry trends and disruptions, like new technologies being introduced into the marketplace driving digital transformation and the recent tariffs in China.

On top of that, companies and providers have become more matrixed — so new decision-makers and influencers have entered the discussion up- and downstream.

These new players are often overlooked, but it is critical to engage them, share your expertise with them and build trusted partnerships.

How to Ramp Up Customer Engagement During Disruptions

To build trust with every point of contact, you can start by revisiting your customer experience programs and reviewing how you sell to and service all-important relationships in the ecosystem. All of your contacts in the matrix must understand your value and how you can co-create business solutions for them as a trusted adviser.

Below is Gallup’s advice for engaging your customers and becoming a trusted adviser in your matrixed and ever-changing channel.

1. Find out what your customers want using advanced analytics from a third party.

Gallup analyzed nearly 18 million global B2B customers and found that 71% are considered either indifferent or actively disengaged. That means 71% of customers are willing to take their business elsewhere.

Companies often rely heavily on customer service and sales teams or on customer satisfaction surveys for the data they need to make decisions. But that intelligence can be biased or uninformed, depending on how it is collected.

To prevent customers from taking their business elsewhere, customer-facing teams should really know what their customers want and how to deliver value that can affect their bottom line.

But accessing and evaluating the right information — the information that leaders need for good decisions — is a science, not an art. Partner with an objective third party to investigate what customers value.

2. Empower your sales and service teams to deliver on your promise.

According to Gallup research, 46% of customers strongly agree that their vendor or partner always delivers on what they promise.

Unfortunately, most organizations solve for this by putting their sales teams through a training program as the only intervention, and even then, the program doesn’t incorporate specific customer or company data and analytics.

However, by providing your sales and service teams with the right data, insights and analytics about their customer, their customer’s customer, and the industry and market opportunity that exists today, this can immediately position them as a trusted adviser and dramatically impact results.

To position their teams for success, companies should leverage objective, third-party, top-of-the-line advanced analytics to properly evaluate the talent of their sales teams. With that intelligence, companies can then adjust their sales strategies and teams according to their customer-facing talent.

A good talent strategy assesses everyone who impacts the customer experience. Don’t overlook the sales support talent upstream — it can make a big difference to the salespeople’s customer relationships.

3. Revisit and rebuild your corporate narrative from the inside out.

A winning corporate narrative emphasizes why the company is valuable to the market. As technology companies continue to introduce innovative products, their employees must understand the value they bring to their customers and their customer’s customer.

Gallup research suggests that while executives may understand this reality, customer-facing teams often don’t. That can cause uncertainty and, potentially, a lack of communication that damages customer relationships.

This is problematic, as front-line employees have the most significant effect on the customer relationship. Gallup research shows that only 30% of B2B customers say their commercial partner understands their needs.

Leaders should educate and empower their teams with the knowledge of the value they bring to their customers.

Product needs are well-satisfied — but emotional needs are up for grabs.

None of this suggests that innovation and speed to market are less important than they used to be. They are critical, and as competitors enter your space, innovation and speed become more important all the time.

But those competitive advantages aren’t enough. Tech is mature enough that product needs are well-satisfied — but emotional needs are up for grabs.

The most powerful of those needs is trust. The most successful companies will be those who build customer relationships based on it.

By creating a cohesive experience for every partner, supplier, distributor and end-customer in the channel, trusted advisers are the ones who win customers — and a very secure seat at the table.

Need Help

jlmakela@gmail.com

443-364-8341

AI Is Threatening Customer Experiences. Are You Ready?

Slowly but surely, AI is creeping into the realm of customer service and B2B interactions.

Customers are interacting with brands via automated channels every day. Scheduling a doctor’s appointment digitally. Chatting with an interactive bot while browsing a retail website. Selecting features on a custom car.

Tech-driven customer service can benefit organizations and their customers. Businesses can provide more service for less money. And customers are happy when AI streamlines and expedites their experiences.

But when technology gets it wrong — say by misunderstanding the customer request — customer experiences go seriously awry.

This is all the truer when customers have fewer human-to-human interactions with a brand because of the rise of technology. In the absence of positive human connections, problems that would otherwise be molehills can become mountains for the customer.

Consider a customer who orders a pair of shoes online. If those sneakers aren’t 100% accurate, the customer has a disappointing, brand-damaging experience. Had that customer interacted with a friendly, helpful employee as part of the purchase process, any problems in product quality would be buffered by the customer’s positive human-to-human experience.

What does this mean for leaders? In the age of AI, it’s more critical than ever to safeguard the customer experience and foster organizational agility. Every and any human-to-human interaction with a customer is a chance to form a meaningful connection that drives loyalty and profitability.

Consider these three strategies for leaders:

1. Help employees excel by hiring exceptional managers.

It’s true that employees can make or break customers’ experiences. But it’s managers who wield enormous influence over employee performance – and, by extension, how employees serve customers.

Great managers fuel performance excellence by investing in their people. For instance, great managers communicate that they care, continually develop employees’ strengths and help employees see how their role connects to customer outcomes.

In fact, Gallup analytics show that managers account for 70% of the variance in team engagement. When employees have a manager who coaches and engages them, they have everything they need to excel on their teams and this enables the organization to deliver best-in-class customer experiences.

For this reason, hiring, training and developing exceptional managers should be at the core of any customer service strategy.

2. Use the right analytics to understand customers.

Meaningful connections with customers are the byproduct of proactive efforts, not wishful thinking. To create exceptional experiences, businesses need a nuanced understanding of what customers are looking for.

Customer analytics are instrumental in this endeavor. With the right data, leaders can define and deliver the ultimate customer experience. Just as important, analytics empower leaders to continually monitor customer perceptions and zero in on strategies for optimizing customer experiences.

Meaningful connections with customers are the byproduct of proactive efforts, not wishful thinking.

In fact, companies that use analytics to implement targeted interventions for emotionally engaging customers can realize 50% higher revenue, 34% higher profitability and 55% higher share of wallet.

3. Cultivate a customer-centric workplace culture.

Even the most advanced customer analytics are powerless if companies don’t respond with action. Successful leaders encourage desired actions – and, in turn, promote world-class customer experiences — by creating a workplace culture that revolves around customers.

A customer-oriented culture always puts customers first and equips employees to fulfill brand promises with every customer interaction. Creating such a culture requires implementing processes, systems and service values that support top-shelf customer experiences.

For instance, are employees incentivized to resolve customer complaints as rapidly as possible? Or are they encouraged to empathize with customers and go the extra mile to meet customers’ needs?

In the age of AI, customer service may never be the same. But one constant remains the profound importance of employee-customer interactions. As enterprises use AI to save money and streamline customer experiences, leaders must continually empower their employees to deliver unparalleled customer service.

If you want ideas and help in getting the right customer service manager just reach out to me

jlmakela@gmail.com

443-364-8341

Practicing Self-Care in the Workplace

According to the CDC’s Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, between 29-40% of Americans report being extremely stressed at work. With the busy holiday season approaching and year-end deadlines looming, it’s important to find healthy stress-management techniques that promote self-care in the workplace. The most common sources of stress include physical discomfort, interpersonal conflict, multitasking, and disorganization. Below are some strategies to reduce the negative impacts of these stressors and make the workday more pleasant.  

  1. Start the day off right  Mornings set the tone for the entire day. Be mindful of how you spend your time before you get to the office. Glance at your calendar, eat a nutritious breakfast, practice positive self-talk, and roll with the punches that your others might throw at you. Allowing each day to be a clean slate instead of carrying negativemotions into the day will go a long way in being proactive rather than reactive at work.  
  1. Organize your environment Can you see your desktop? Is your work truck full of trash? Are you noticing a strange, stale odor? If so, it’s time to spruce up. Taking a few minutes each morning to tidy your space reduces distractions and allows your work to flow more smoothly.  
  2. Be comfortable  Think about your working environment. Do you sit in the same chair all day every day? Would investing in a lumbar support pillow help you out? If you’re on your feet all day, do you make space to take breaks and sit down? What is the level of noise in your workspace? Can you play light music in the background or use a white noise machine to tune out a loud office? Consider your personal comfort and take small steps to honor what makes you feel good in your space.  
  3. Honor your lunch break – Too many of us bring our lunch to our desks or forget to eat entirely. It’s important to take the breaks that you have. For many, the lunch break is the only option that allows for some amount of movement. Make it a goal to take a walk each day and think about things that are not related to work. Alternatively, if your job requires you to be on your feet all day, turn lunch into a restful time by bringing a book, journaling your thoughts, or calling a friend or loved one.  
  4. Listen to music on your drive home – listening to music is a great way to let go of the day’s stressors. It’s important to leave work at work and give yourself time to be with your own thoughts. Listening to music can help jolt you into your ‘you space’ and prepare you to engage with the world outside of work.  

As the holiday season inches nearer and life becomes even busier, we hope you employ these strategies to practice self-care. To help you further, check out our other free resources designed with you in mind!