Posts Tagged "strategy’

Recognition as a Driving Force for Potential

By Derek Irvine

Compensation Cafe blog logoRecognize This! – Changes in the business world are rapidly accelerating. To keep up, companies will need to recognize more of potential and creativity, and less past performance.

Keeping up with the changing world of work is becoming more and more difficult. No longer just about the pace of change, leaders must now also react and respond to the complexity of interacting and overlapping changes.

As I wrote in a recent piece on Compensation Café, the profile of competencies required of all employees – and how organizations recognize and reward them – needs to change in order to keep pace. What follows is an excerpt from the original post.

The imperative for leaders is in the creation of a compelling vision and how to motivate employees around that vision. Unfortunately, those seem to be the skills that are lacking among high-potential (HiPo) employees in leadership pipelines. Recent research published in the Harvard Business Review found that nearly half of participants in HiPo programs are below average when measured on leadership effectiveness.

A portion of these findings might be explained by a “how/best” mindset that has traditionally guided organizational decision-making. Leaders seek out which decisions are the best and then how to implement them. Where data from past performance or best practice exists, that mindset is both effective and efficient. However, that same mindset presents a barrier in response to situations that are novel or uncertain, situations that require creativity in response to change.

To be future-proofed, organizations need to move away from the types of processes and structures that reward a “how/best” mindset and past performance. Instead, they will need to place more emphasis on how to identify and develop a broader range of employee attributes, including potential and creativity.

One way that business and HR leaders can shift the emphasis is through the strategic use of rewards and recognition. Not only will that contribute to a more positive employee experience overall, but social recognition can also provide leaders with the data on which individuals are being recognized for their innovation, their curiosity in solving challenging problems, and for experimenting with new processes.

Click on this link to read the full post on Compensation Café.

5 Steps to Align Your Culture so All Employees Are Committed to Achieving Your Strategy

Recognize This! – Daily employee behaviors contribute to or detract from achieving company strategic objectives. Be sure you’re encouraging the right behaviors depending on your strategic objectives.

Culture eats strategy… strategy trumps culture… On which side of the culture/strategy divide do you fall? I’ve written about this before, and I tend to side with culture – primarily because culture drives the behaviors of individuals who are the one that achieve your strategy (or not). But culture is the driving force.

Regardless of where you stand, it’s undeniable culture and strategy are deeply intertwined in organizations large and small, global or local, public or private, for-profit or non-profit. Last summer, Towers Watson produced a report on just how deeply this interweaving between the two is and why achieving strategy/culture alignment is critical for success.

Towers Watson also defines culture as “the shared beliefs (either explicit or implicit) that exist within a company and drive behaviors.” The real question we should be asking is: “How do we understand, manipulate, redirect or recreate the shared beliefs in such a way to drive the real behaviors we need to succeed?”

The report attempts to dig into this, looking at why most culture change efforts fail, identifying a lack of two key elements (quoting):

  1. A view of culture that goes beyond generic notions of “high performance” and focuses on those aspects of culture uniquely relevant to a company’s particular strategic goals.
  2. A focus on the underlying systems, processes and behaviors to support long-term culture change.

To resolve those challenges, Towers Watson did deep analysis, resulting in a definition of the 5 primary company strategies for success and the associated “cultural profiles” to achieve those strategies. That breakdown is illustrated here:

 Image showing 5 strategies Efficiency, Quality, Innovation, Customer Service, and Brand/Reputation

Image Credit: Towers Watson, “Strategy/Culture Alignment: How to Identify, and Close, Critical Gaps,” July 2013

This is quite valuable, but how do you make this kind of strategy/culture profile connection real to employees who are the ones focused on achieving the goals? I recommend a five-step process (using the “Customer Service” strategy as an example):

1) Redefine the culture attributes into actionable core values. (Information Sharing, Teamwork, Customer Focus, Leadership, Decision Making, Taking Action)

2) Define behaviors associated with each of those core values. (Teamwork behaviors: Committed to common goals, active participation and leadership, open communication up and down the chain, willing sharing of resources)

3) Frequently and very specifically recognize any and all employees who demonstrate those behaviors by calling out clearly the core value demonstrated and explaining how those behaviors impacted you, the team, the customer or the company for the better. (Sam, you really lived our value of Teamwork when you went out of your way to locate the necessary research materials needed to move the Juno project forward. You didn’t have the information yourself, but you knew who did and how to get that information in the right hands. By doing so quickly and without prompting or direction, you helped us beat project deadlines, thrilling our client and making them a partner for years to come.)

4) Share that recognition across the organization so it can serve as training for others on what desirable “Teamwork” behaviors look like in the daily work, encouraging others to demonstrate similar actions.

5) Closely monitor, measure and report on areas where values are being more or less recognized to intervene where necessary with additional training or resources to ensure all employees both understand and are committed to achieving the company’s strategy – in their own work, every day.

What is the primary strategic goal for your organization? How are you aligning your culture (and the associated daily behaviors of employees) to achieve your strategy?


Plan for the Future, but Keep Your Eye on the Present

Recognize This! – The reality of today often changes the best laid plans for the future.

After the holidays, it feels good to get back into the daily routine. Catching up with team members during the last few days, I heard several stories of time with family and friends and, for my American colleagues, extra time enjoyed with family due to massive snow storms. I asked, “When snowed in with family for an extended period, how do you pass the time?” My team member answered, “We played lots of games. It was fun to watch my dad anticipate his next play, but then realize his planned move had been blocked when his turn came. He’d nearly always have to rethink his strategy from the beginning.”

Therein lies a good lesson for all of us – Plan for the future, but keep your eye on the present.

If we’re too focused only on our strategic plan for the future, we may miss the small daily changes that can affect our strategy implementation. If instead we focus too strongly on the day-to-day, we fail to anticipate changing future needs and lay the groundwork to achieve long-term goals. Success lies in the balance – setting a strategic course for the future while monitoring and incorporating daily changes into the tactical path.

What’s your strategic course? How have you seen daily occurrences impact or change your direction?

If Your CEO Doesn’t Care about Strategy, Should You?

Recognize This! – Lack of commitment to vision and mission affects engagement at every level, but doesn’t remove individual responsibility for mission achievement.

Do you believe in the strategy of your organization? Indeed, do you know the strategy of the organization as espoused by leadership? More importantly, should you even care if your executives don’t?

A recent blog post on Switch & Shift revealed these disturbing statistics:

  • 54% of executives “didn’t fully believe in the strategy of their organization” (Booz & Company)
  • 52% of employees don’t believe their senior execs are committed to organization’s overall vision and mission (Root, Inc., and Kelton Group)

If your executive leadership doesn’t fully believe in the strategy of the organization, how can they possibly inspire others to care about achieving that strategic mission, too? Think about the stated strategic goals of your organization. Now think about the senior leader of your group. Does that person make achieving that strategy possible through the daily efforts of your team? If not, it’s important to understand why not. Do they not believe in the strategy itself or do they just do a poor job of communicating the strategy and how each employee can contribute to achieving it?

This is an important distinction. A senior executive who doesn’t believe in the strategy of the organization needs to be dealt with, but that’s not within the control of those who work for him or her. If the executive simply cannot communicate well how others’ work contributes to achieving the strategy, then there are ways to bridge the gap – primarily through others on the team (at every level) looking for ways to positively reinforce and recognize others when they contribute to achieving the strategic objectives.

Should employees be accountable for achieving the overall vision and mission if their senior leaders are not? As unfair as it may sound, yes. Each individual is employed with the implicit contract of working to achieve the company’s goals. Being fully engaged in contributing to this success does become harder without senior executive buy-in, but it’s certainly possible, especially if peers and colleagues take on the role of encouraging and appreciating others in their efforts to do so.

Does your senior leader believe in the strategic mission of your organization? Do you?

Culture Drives Employee Engagement, Not the Other Way Around

Recognize This! – Executives are still missing the mark on understanding what employees need if they’re going to choose to engage fully in their work and achieving the organization’s objectives.

I greatly enjoyed the summary of Deloitte’s Core Beliefs and Culture survey in The importance of company culture and it’s foundation – the core values and beliefs – are indisputably important to employees and their ability to engage in the organization and their work. Yet executives are still missing the mark on several points.

Thankfully, executives (94%) and employees (88%) alike agree company culture is important to business success. But there are big misses on several fronts, too.

Employees Say Strategy Is Nothing without Culture

I’ve written several posts on this point. Without culture, strategy cannot be fully effective. Employees agree, yet executives are still missing the point a bit.

“However, there’s more work to be done to close the gaps on other business priorities. The study indicates executives tend to prioritize a clearly defined business strategy (76%) above clearly defined and communicated core values and beliefs (62%), whereas employees value them equally (57% and 55%, respectively). Also, 70% of employees who agreed that their companies had performed well financially said their boss speaks to them often about culture. But only 19% of executives and 15% of employees believe strongly that their organization’s culture is widely upheld.”

Unless all employees – at every level – are committed to living the culture by demonstrating the core values in their daily work (and are reinforced, praised and recognized for doing so), then that last point above will remain lackluster.

What Employees Need to Be Engaged Is Different than Executive Expectations

In nearly every survey that even comes close to this topic, executives, leaders and managers always rank money in some form as most important to employee engagement, yet employees always rank better management (communication, recognition, opportunities to grow and learn, etc.) as what they really need if you want them to engage.

“The Core Beliefs and Culture survey found a consensus (83% of executives and 84% of employees) that having engaged and motivated employees is a top factor substantially contributing to company success. However, executives ranked tangible elements such as financial performance (65%) and competitive compensation (62%) most highly as drivers of employee engagement, while employees rated more highly the intangible elements of regular and candid communications (50%) and access to management/leadership (49%).”

Someday, the cumulative weight of all these surveys will have to sink in for executives. It’s part of my mission to speed that process along.

Executives Don’t Do as Well as They Think at Living the Core Values

Your employees are watching, closely. Are you really living the core values? They are following your lead, so be sure you as a manager as setting the right example.

“Deloitte’s survey indicated a significant gap between executive belief and employee perception, often punctuated by executive overstatement. For instance, 84% of executives believe senior leadership regularly communicates their company’s core values and beliefs. Only 67% of employees feel that is true. In terms of “practicing what one preaches,” 81% of executives compared to 69% of employees believe senior leadership acts in accordance with the company’s core values and beliefs.”

Please chime in in comments, but tell me if you’re in management or are an individual contributor – what do you value most? What do you most need to be engaged in your organization?

Wisdom from Leaders: Globoforce

Recognize This! – We often don’t need to look far afield to learn important lessons from leaders. Don’t forget to look to your own CEO.

In keeping with my blog theme this week of wisdom from CEOs, I’d like to share the wisdom I learned from my CEO just this week.

Right now I’m at my company’s annual kickoff meeting, which we call Ignite. A tradition since the beginning, Ignite is a tremendous opportunity to network with colleagues from around the world, learn the latest exciting news, and – most importantly – hear the strategic direction set by our CEO, Eric Mosley.

The key piece of wisdom shared by Eric is the importance of focus. We must keep our focus as we continue to grow by helping our clients achieve their ambitions and success goals through new cultures of recognition. But what must we focus on?

  1. What we do – We must not ever become confused about what we do. We must maintain laser-like focus on our reason for being as a company – to deliver the world’s most innovative social, strategic employee recognition programs that change a company’s culture into one in which employees want to engage.
  2. How we succeed – We are not successful unless our clients are successful – every one. That is our definition of success. When our clients achieve and surpass their own goals, and we help them envision and then achieve even greater success in the future, then Globoforce is a success as well.
  3. Where we lead – We do not follow. We do not imitate. We innovate, create and push the boundaries of the power of social, strategic recognition ever forward. We are always ahead of the market, delivering new solutions to solve problems many don’t even realize could be solved through the big data available in a truly strategic recognition program.

Focus is critical in any organization for success. The challenge, however, often lies in communicating to employees not only what they must focus on (that’s the easy part), but how – in their individual roles every day – they can deliver the results and demonstrate the behaviors required for that focus.

What does your CEO focus on? How do you, in your role, contribute to achieving your CEO’s goals?