Sunday, August 12, 2007

Week 43 - Eliminating "Not My Job" Syndrome

Most business owners want to get the best from their employees. Often they struggle in vain to influence the employee’s attitudes hoping that suddenly they will feel a new sense of responsibility. Bluntly, the first place to look for a solution is in the mirror. You have to be the embodiment of what you expect from your employees. Here again perceptions play a key role – how do your employees perceive your commitment to the business? Do they believe you want the best for the business and them, or do they think you only care about yourself?

Enough about you - what about the type of people you have hired? I once heard someone say “I always try to pick happy and bright people with common sense”. “The cash register”, the person stated, “is easy to teach. It is much harder to teach an unhappy person how to be happy!” I couldn’t agree more and obviously this will differ from industry to industry, but you should seriously consider adding it to your list of hiring criteria next time you have a vacancy. A major side benefit should again be increased sales. People buy from people they like! Sounds simple because it is, we buy from people we can relate to and feel comfortable with. If your employees are not happy and capable of building these relationships your sales are almost certainly suffering as a result.

When employees are made to feel valued through regular training and inclusion, and further, they are empowered so they can be made accountable, you should be 90% of the way to creating a environment for positive attitudes to flourish. The word individual means “having no like or equal” and this gives you a further hint about how you can get want you want from your employees. Yes every business has a purpose, but the employees are individuals, all are working there for different reasons. Try to tap into exactly what each individual is looking for. If you can help them to achieve their goals whilst getting what you want, it makes for an extremely positive environment.

In their book Fish, authors Stephen Lundin, Harry Paul and John Christensen point out that it does not matter what type of business you are in, enjoyment is a choice you and your employees have. Fish uses the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle USA as a metaphor. How can you get more uninviting than a cold, wet smelly fish market? The authors present the keys to the employees enjoying the environment and turning up to work each day:

  1. Choose Your Attitude – Who do we want to be while we work? The choice of being unhappy or otherwise is yours to make each time you walk through the door.

  2. Play – Have fun at work, fun creates energy.

  3. Make Their Day – Involve your customers in your fun, go the extra mile, create an experience.

  4. Be Present – For the benefit of both customers and co-workers.
Take time out and ask “how could this work for my business?”

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