“How do you know you are doing a good job?”
Early in an engagement with a new client I usually go around and ask this question to each of the management employees in the company. It’s a simple question, but having employees who are clear about the answer is key to driving employee engagement and accountability. If you don’t know what success looks like for your job it’s hard to figure out how you are going to make it happen and it’s hard for you as the leader to know when it is happening.
When I ask employees at the beginning of an engagement they frequently respond with some mix of:
- “If there’s less yelling I’m doing a good job…”
- “No one’s complaining so I guess I’m doing OK…”
- “If I can keep my inbox down to one page that’s good…”
- “When I’m not totally overwhelmed then I feel like I’m doing something right…”
When you hear answers like that what would you guess about the engagement level of those employees? Do they need a lot of “babysitting” from the business owner or can the operate pretty autonomously? How confident are you that each of those employees is driving value for the business?
After my team and I work with a client to created clear roles and responsibilities I go and ask that question of the managers again and I hear answers like:
- “The closing rate on our organic leads is improving (38% last month!) and I’m generating at least 4 leads a month through my network.”
- “The average number of days it takes us to complete a job is down from 184 to 163, and I think I can get it down under 150 by the end of the year!”
- “My current clients are renewing their contracts 94% of the time, and we’re generating an average of 136% of the contracted revenue each month. So they are spending more, and they are happier about it!”
When you hear those answers what would you guess about their level of engagement and autonomy? Are those people driving value for the company?
Do you feel like you are constantly babysitting your team members? Do you feel like they can’t go 4 hours without needing your input? It might not be their fault, maybe they just don’t know what success looks like for their job.
On Thursday we’ll talk about one way to help with this.