I’m having a ball at work
If you want something done, give it to a busy person. Truisms have truth in them, and results-oriented consulting derives from the core of this saying. Busy people often have an internalized system of accountability, methods for organizing, and the follow-through to get many things done, having fun along the way.
SPEED Metrics was the title of Ted Garnett’s session at the Control System Integrator Association (CSIA) Executive Conference in May. Garnett, president, Performance Resources Consulting, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, explained that SPEED stands for structure, productivity, engagement, execution, and dependability (or due diligence). Examples follow.
He started the session by challenging each person attending any meeting to teach the team, upon return, at least one thing of value from the meeting or, better yet, one thing from each session.
Researchers took two groups and asked each to write 100 life goals. One of the groups also was asked to practice various accountability techniques: track them, make plans, and tell others in their lives. Over time, the group asked to be accountable was 27% more likely to achieve the goals than was the group who were asked only to make the list.
One of Garnett’s college roommates garnered laughter upon sharing, “I’m going to be an NFL quarterback.” All the decisions and trade-offs aligned thereafter, until Kurt Warner got it done… and was named to four Pro Bowls, played for three NFL teams, and went to three Super Bowls, winning one.
“In your family, community, neighborhood, and company, are you doing what it takes to achieve your NFL goal?” Leadership is a verb, not a position. The mission to get things done starts at the top, and having a performance culture can help get that done.
One gauge of a performance culture is to do a rough measure of how your teams are having a ball at work: Ball and chain, juggling many balls, and life is great? What percentage of each do you have? (40-40-20% or 20-60-20%?) The goal is to get zero in the first “red” area. A high-performance cultural chain of impact results: Satisfied employees lead to satisfied customers, leading to satisfying business profits, time, cost, and quality.
How many on your team say: “What a stupid weekend. I cannot wait for Monday?" How can you change culture to get the performance needed?
On the next page, see more advice, including getting the right results and time management.
Get the right results, beyond doing
Accountable culture management asks, “Can we do this, have fun, and get results?” High-performance culture is a process, not an event. Some waitresses would get fired for dancing on a table with a customer on her birthday. At Hard Rock Café, it’s encouraged.
A systematic approach involves finding what ingredients create satisfied employees in your organization. How can you find the problem? You cannot reorganize your way out of a cultural performance issue.
Make a strategic plan. Goals should be aspire and be realistic. Stretch. Set clear expectations, make ways to score progress, and set timing along the way. Test the results. Are you winning? How do you know? How do you know when you’ve accomplished success?
Just crossing things off your “to do” list isn’t good enough.
Resource deployment differs depending on where in the game you are. If you’re behind, but have a plan, that still can be a good response. In any organization, it has to be clear, “How do you know when we accomplish success here?”
Productivity time, cost, quality, and output: Compare to others in your industry and others outside your industry. Avoid self-deception.
Consider continuous improvement versus a one-time goal. Among questions to ask: “What do we start or stop doing to improve X?” If there are time-management issues involved, be sure to start meetings on time. What will attending a meeting do to improve time, cost, quality, and output -> requisitions? (If nothing, don’t do the meeting.)
Energy + attitude = engagement. Ensure goals are realistic. “We’re expanding to Europe” (YAY!) “We’re leaving tomorrow.” (Yay.) “In a rowboat.” (I hate my job.)
Time management, measurements
Are those on your team energy takers or energy makers? Takers have a negative attitude and are unrealistic, with unclear goals and unspecific critiques. They whine, complain, and are unfocused. “I want to promote takers to my nearest competitor.”
Garnett asked if things like Facebook, YouTube, or American Idol are necessities or optional. You might not be as busy as you think you are. Take stock of time. Are the things you’re doing necessities? Set your priorities. Do the right things. Think again and stop guessing: Measure. We think we know how we’re spending our time, and we don’t.
Pressure is external, and stress is internal. Put pressure on others to perform. That’s positive. Tell them the results you want. (Don’t create stress.)
Always say yes to a request, explaining what resources will be needed, and then be willing to look at the constraints to bring about the desired results. What changes are needed? Along the way, keep in mind that earning trust is hard. Re-earning it is harder.
Tips along the way:
- Start, stop, and continue
- Ownership = more questions
- Maintain values and integrity
- If it’s not fun, make a change or fire yourself
- Don’t stop believing in the power of your people.
Founded in 1994, the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) is a not-for-profit, global professional association that seeks to advance the industry of control system integration. Control system integrators use engineering, technical, and business skills to help manufacturers and others automate industrial equipment and systems. CSIA members provide services for dozens of industries. Headquartered in Madison, Wis., CSIA helps members improve their business skills, provides a forum to share industry expertise, and promotes the benefits of hiring a certified control system integrator. CSIA has more than 400 member firms in 27 countries.
– Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer, with information from CSIA, email@example.com.
This online version contains more information than the June 2013 Think Again column in the North American edition of Control Engineering. See also a video summary from Garnett, at top, and other coverage from the CSIA Executive conference, linked at the bottom