Employee Experiences and Why You Need to Focus on Consequences

In the last blog post, you looked at how progressive organizations are focusing on managing their employee experience as a way to ensure the best possible customer experience. From the Service Profit Chain‘s point of view, this makes perfect sense.

You can create super sophisticated employee career journey maps, but you could also only look at what a day looks like on your team from the point of view of an employee experience. What are the emotional highs and lows in a day? You looked at how managing positive ending has a huge influence on how the whole day is perceived.

In this blog post, have a look at why managing the end of the day is just as—or maybe even more—important than managing the start of the day from a motivational point of view.

A reasonably accepted definition of motivation is a reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.

That reason—called the activator—for doing or not doing something can come from...

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What Drives A Fabulous Employee Experience?

For a while now, progressive service organizations have been focusing on the customer experience. It's well-established that the way customers perceive the total experience is crucial to getting their loyalty—and at the end of the day, loyalty is the magic path to profits and growth.

But only the most advanced companies are looking at the logical consequence of that thinking: How are you managing the employee experience? If you're familiar with the Service Profit Chain, this line of thought won't come as a surprise to you.

At the end of the day, the customer experience is a reflection of the employee experiences. It then makes perfect sense to start looking much more closely at how you're managing your employee experiences.

There are different ways you could approach that. You could look at a classic journey map over the life span of employment. What is the pre-employment experience, such as recruiting, among others? How does the on-boarding flow? What is the...

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You Won’t Get Results by Pussyfooting Around the Issues!

I’ve been reading a fascinating book by Ed Catmull called Creativity Inc. Now, you may not be familiar with the name Ed Catmull, but if I tell you that he was one of the three original founders of Pixar, then you’ll probably have an idea of who I’m talking about.

In the book is a chapter where Catmull describes the process behind making a successful animation movie. Catmull writes, "Early on, all our movies suck!" This makes sense when you think about it. But when you see their fabulous animation film, you often forget how that represents three years of hard work from an awful lot of people. Of course, that rough idea was not born a box office hit. It was worked, reworked, and polished endlessly until it became that work of art.

It's one thing being a lone genius—a Picasso or a Rodin—tirelessly and self-critically continuing something until you get it right. But how does that work when you have 60, 70 or even more than 200 people?

...

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Take Charge of Your Energy Levels!

Continuing a series of blog posts on how to best support first-time managers, you now need to look at one of the huge challenges—lack of time.

For most new managers, landing that first managerial job is exciting and challenging, filled with so much to do!

Then, the realization hits—so little time to do it in.

The natural reaction for first-time managers as team leaders is to just put in more hours. Crank up the work volume. Often it works for a while but you then run out of steam. Then, in your pursuit to squeeze more productivity out of the hours available, you start researching time management tricks and tips—maybe even invest in a super to-do app for your phone or fancy leather-bound paper organizer.

Regardless, chasing more time quickly becomes exhausting.

There has got to be a better way.

There is.

But it is not about managing your time, but about managing your energy instead. When you're energized, you fly through the day. Stuff seems to...

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A Team Leader's Key Instrument: Conversations, Not Small Talk

Before you plunge into this, take a moment, and think about leaders that you have admired in your life. This could be a teacher, scout leader, sports coach or boss. Go on. Do it now.

When you think of a leader in your life that you've admired, does a specific conversation come to mind?

I think most people can remember at least one—maybe even several—conversations that they have had with a great boss. A conversation that somehow shifted something in their thinking, understanding or behavior.

Great conversations have a powerful impact.

But great conversations are also time-consuming. For exactly that reason, they're also often the most neglected part of your leadership toolkit. Most people don’t seem to find the time.

That's a shame because when you neglect your conversations, you miss out on one of the most effective leadership instruments at your disposal.

Now, conversations are not just conversations; they come in many forms. Some are...

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A Team Leader's Key Instrument: Behavior

In the previous blog post, you looked at the first of three essential tools that are at your disposal as a first-time manager (FTM). You looked at how action or non-action ends up defining you as either powerful—in the positive constructive sense—or powerless.

Now, it’s time to look at the next key instrument—your behavior.

When I work with young managers who are in their first leadership position, I always give them a brief talk about being on stage.

It goes something like this:

The moment you become a leader of any kind, you're on stage 24/7. What I mean by that is that everything you say and do is registered, compared and interpreted by your followers.

The way you get out of your car on the car park in the morning, how you walk across the parking lot, what you say as you come in through the door, who you talk to first and who you don’t talk to—on and on it goes throughout the day.

It’s as if you have a GoPro camera mounted on a...

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Powerful or Powerless: What Do You Prefer?

In the previous blog post, you looked at the importance of building relations as a basic skill for first-time managers (FTMs).

Essentially, you're the instrument. How you decide to show up from situation to situation will determine how your relationships with other people are formed.

If you're the instrument, you will need to be aware of three things: your actions, behaviors, and conversations. At the end of the day, how you decide to mix and match these three will determine how successful you end up being in your roles as an FTM—or in any future management position for that matter.

In this blog post, you'll explore the first of these three key tools.

What you decide to do—or not to do—defines you in your managerial role.

Leaders who come across as trustworthy and powerful in the best sense of the words are the people whom you know you can trust to act on something when it's brought to their attention. In my view, they are powerful leaders.

There are...

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How Your Relations Affect Your Results

In this blog post, I would like to focus on the importance of relations.

The last blog post briefly touched on this when you worked through the high-performance team model.

The second step in that process—the who part—is all about relations.

Daniel H. Kim, the systems thinker, has illustrated this in an elegant way.

You then have a fundamental choice here which can go one of two ways: You can generate an upward spiral where we are continuously developing our relations and, as a result, performing better, or you can take the downward spiral where it all just gets worse.

It's a choice—a choice that's going to determine whether the team's going to be successful or not.

Ultimately, it’s going to determine whether you're successful in your role as a team leader.

For the first-time manager (FTM), this sometimes comes as a surprise. You may think, "I have a gazillion other things to do. Do I also have to think about that? I just want to get...

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Direction, Alignment and Commitment in 4 Easy Steps

In the previous blog post, I introduced you to DAC (Direction, Alignment, and Commitment), the leadership concept developed by The Center for Creative Leadership. You looked at how that can be useful for first-time managers (FTMs) to understand what they need to focus on from a leadership perspective. In fact, this does not only apply to FTMs. A lot of seasoned team managers could benefit from applying this thinking as well—but that is another story.

To recap, DAC stands for Direction, Alignment, and Commitment. This framework is not something that one person—the leader—tells everyone to do. On the contrary, establishing DAC is a process. It happens as a result of a two-way exchange with everyone on the team. It's co-created, so to speak, but often initiated by the leader.

That's the theory covered in the previous blog post. But if you're a newly appointed manager, you may well be thinking, "This makes sense but where do I begin?"

It's actually not as tricky...

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First-Time Manager: The Challenges

Research conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership has identified a number of challenges that first-time managers (FTMs) have in common. You can read the full list here. I have chosen to focus on the top one because you could argue that the rest of the issues are all sub-issues that arise from the same overall challenge:

Adjusting to People Management: Displaying Authority

The FTM has been used to achieving results through a high degree of control over themselves. They set goals and manage their time and effort in such a way as to reach them. That's exactly what has drawn attention to them in the first place and is the reason they have now been promoted to their first management position.

But the way they control themselves is not going to work on others. They need to learn to switch from control to influence, which is an entirely different approach.

"If you knew how many times I have told them to do that."

But as they eventually work out, telling...

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