When I left the corporate world nine years ago, it was one of the best choices I ever made. There were aspects of that journey that I’ll gladly walk away from and other experiences that I continue to embrace and value today.
Today, when coaching work teams, managers and executives, I draw on past lessons learned. Since clients know my business background, I’m frequently asked to share what I believe to be foundational business practices; the simple things that have deep and lasting impact. Having always valued relationships (be they business or personal), it’s easy for me to invite them to consider the following:
- Be Clear. People deserve a clear understanding of what behaviors and outcomes you expect. Many managers are so unclear, employees think that they are intentionally being obscure. Providing precise vision for important goals and initiatives is vital to success.
- Be in Integrity. Most people say they are honest. In any given day, however, many people will break their word repeatedly in small ways. People are quick to spot mistakes and slips in integrity by their managers and peers. Instead of confronting problems directly, they blame, gossip and whine. We all must live by integrity and keep our word.
- Value and Reinforce Ideas. According to an Employee Involvement Association study, the average employee in Japan submits 32 ideas for improvement per year. The average employee in the U.S. submits 0.17 ideas per year. The ratio of Japanese to U.S. improvement ideas equals 188:1. The root of this issue stems from the fact that only 33% of U.S. employee ideas are adopted, compared to 87% from Japanese workers. If we expect people to create and express ideas for making work (and/or life) better, we need to be serious about considering and implementing their contributions.
I’m a fan of facial expressions and body language. As you purposefully engage in relationship building, consider the impact of: a smile; being fully present; listening intently and; integrating these three simple tenets into your thinking and actions. People want to engage with you when you communicate with clarity, authentic consideration and real face time. And I’ll bet you do, too.