There are a couple of different measures that always matter. Productivity is one of them. You have to hold people accountable to deliver upon the goals and tasks that they are asked to accomplish. The other piece that is not as heavily managed is people’s discretionary energy.
That’s part of what I found out after finishing an interview with Chris Edmonds, a senior consulting partner here at The Ken Blanchard Companies. My interview with Chris will be featured in next week’s issue of Ignite!, our monthly e-newsletter and Chris will also be our featured presenter for an April 14 webinar on Revitalizing the Downsized Organization. Both of these resources are free and you can find out more by clicking on the links above. If you haven’t had a chance to hear Chris speak, here are a few of the ideas that Chris will be sharing:
Most leaders are more comfortable managing metrics like productivity but may not be as comfortable having the type of wide-open conversations about issues that you have to have if you are going to build the passion and commitment you need to move forward in trying times. And because leaders don’t take the time to stop and get everyone involved, you can end up making a stupid short term decision that may look really good right now, but a month from now, or six months from now, continues to have really negative impact on your business.
You want your people to be passionate and engaged in the work that they are doing. And you are only going to get the discretionary energy of your people is when they are feeling trusted and respected as a valued partner and stakeholder in the way that the business operates.
It’s the secret behind organizations like Southwest Airlines where even when times are tough they don’t have folks leaving, demonstrating, or picketing. Instead, they’ve got folks constantly meeting together about how they can help the organization get through this economy. It is a great example of how overall employee commitment and demonstrated discretionary energy is driven by clear communication of what is happening, open involvement in trying to influence the decisions that are being made, and what can happen when people are consistently cared for as a vital asset.