Friday, May 29, 2015

To the Graduating Class of 2015: 80/20 Rule of "Selfies"

Congratulations to the Class of 2015! your hard work has paid off! Get a “selfie” of that! Do not forget to thank all those supporters who helped you get here including your parents, family and most of all your teachers. Get an "usie” with all those folks!

In 1906, Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist observed that 80 percent of the land in Italy was owned by 20 percent of the population. He observed that the same ratio was applicable to other areas of economics.

Check your “selfies” and “usies”. Are they in line or contrary to Pareto’s Principle?

The Pareto Principle—also known as the 80-20 rule—doesn’t just describe the way things are; it can also be used as a powerful tool to help you focus and redirect your energies, becoming more efficient and more successful in the long term. Pareto’s Principle is about unconscious consistency and habit.

Pareto’s observation applies far more widely than he originally imagined. The 80-20 rule holds true for things like:
20% of the clothes in your closet are worn 80% of the time.
20% of the food you eat is the same 80% of the time.  FYI -  20% of food you eat contributes to 80% of weight gain.
You spend 80% of your time with 20% of your friends. Look who is in your “usies”! 
80% of the space on shelves, in our closets, in our drawers hold clutter.
80% of what you own brings you 20% of your happiness.
Think back to clubs or groups you involved with. Was not 80% of the work done by 20% of the membership?

Bottom line, 20% of activities produce 80% of results. My apologies to the educational institutions, but 80% of what you learned these past four years (or five, or six years) you will forget. 20% is crucial. Don't worry, the Internet will be there for you.

Here is another 80/20 reality. You will fail more, perhaps as much as 80% of the time, than succeed. It’s okay as long as you fail forward, in other words learn from your mistakes and failures. It’s in failure where the great discoveries are made. One of my favorite TED Talk presenters, BrenĂ© Brown, points out that the TED conference is actually the failure conference! Many speakers share their multiple failures on the way to reaching success. That 80% failure rate means we constantly need to learn and relearn. And you thought you were done with homework!

"We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated." - Maya Angelou

If you want to achieve the goals you desire, change your strategy and refocus your energy on the 20% of activities that will help you to achieve these goals.

If you don’t have a job yet I suggest you utilize Pareto’s Principle. 80% of your possibilities lie within 20% of your contacts. Make sure these people are in your “usies”! Could they refer you to those who might benefit from the passion, gifts and knowledge you have? If you’re looking to lengthen your list of powerful, profitable, connective contacts, it’s worth your time to ask for referrals from the folks who already spend the most with you.

Take time to discover who is worth spending the time and those who generate the most life enhancing benefits. This accounting will show you where to spend time and resources wisely.

One of the key take-aways of Pareto’s Principle is recognize that most things in life are not distributed evenly. In other words, life is not fair. Remember, the Pareto Principle is an observation, not a law of nature. The Pareto Principle does not have to define your life…unless you let it. You have a choice on where, on how, on when and with whom you spent the important 20%. Get a “usie” of you working on this!

Learn to maximize life with those who matter most. What matters most is sharing.

"Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time".  -Victor Hugo

Lisa Gansky, The Mesh: Why The Future of Business is Sharing, speaks to our relationship with stuff. We live in a shared economy. Our trust of government and corporations is at an all time low. Add to this, Paypal and EBay showed us we could trust the Internet to do transactions. Apple and Google created cell phones that make us reachable and findable. Facebook and LinkedIn validated who we are and the 2008 Great Recession changed lives! This “perfect storm” has lead to, we don’t need to own “it,” but we do need to share it! I believe Pareto’s Principle speaks to this! Own 20% of what you need and share the the 80% of what you want!

Need transportation, call Uber or Lyft! Need housing? Connect with Airbnb, HomeAway or Windu! Want food away from the typical venues and don’t want to dine alone? Try EatWith! Need funding for a project? There is Kickstarter, LendingClub and Prosper. Need help with a project? Try TaskRabbit or Zaarly. Got tools to share with neighbors? Go to yerdle. Have you got excess energy and want to put it on the grid? Connect with SolarCity!

Woody Allen says that 80% of success is showing up. For Uber
Airbnb and the other players in the shared economy, it’s more like a 100%! Listen to Uber, not Woody.

Learn to make sharing irresistible. Learn to make sharing vital. What if sharing took upwards of 80% of your time and energy? How might sharing impact the law of abundance for you?

Sharing allows us to test things out. It allows to expand and contract, be more vibrant and engaged with others. Sharing also allows us to share our vulnerability, our fears, our mistakes and our failures! When we share more, guess what happens to trust? Guess how much closer and quicker we get to success? Those are the “usies” we need to see more of!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

You Want Employee Engagement?

Dan Pink’s Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, says organizations not using Motivation 3.0 are headed to irrelevance. Motivation 1.0 was about survival and outrunning the hunter. Motivation 2.0 was about reward and punishment, carrots and sticks. Motivation 3.0 is about autonomy, mastery and purpose. Watch Pink's presentation at  

Isn't the common organization mantra, "People are our most important asset?" Aren't organizations continuously trying to tap into their most important asset? Installing Motivation 3.0 in the workplace culture will get you employee engagement, which can yield faster, better, less expensive and safer solutions to problems. Employee engagement has shown to improve morale and reduce turnover. Productivity is increased.

But before you install Motivation 3.0, it might be wise to check the “work culture operating system.” What is the work culture and who impacts the work culture? What behaviors create engagement versus disengagement? It boils down to two practices, good etiquette and vulnerability-based trust.

Who is the “customer?" The "customer" is anyone who relies on our work. The way internal customers are treated impacts external customers. Be responsive to questions or requests. This is work etiquette 101. When an employee asks a question or makes a request, don’t ignore it until they have to ask again. Respond the same day if possible, within 24 hours at the latest.

Walk-your-talk. Set a positive example. “Do as I say, not as I do,” kills respect, hurts integrity and lowers morale. Be a role model, not a hypocrite. If you want respect, give respect, including:
- Don’t be late to meetings. This is bad etiquette.
- Turn off your cell phone in meetings. To look at your cell phone, or worse, take a phone call during a meeting is bad etiquette.
- Take notes on paper, not on iPads or laptops. Even if you are truly taking notes on an electronic device, it creates suspicion. The only person who should take notes on a electronic device in a meeting is the designated recorder or secretary.
- Don’t be a workaholic. Sending emails and texts late at night or on weekends and expecting a reply, says you don’t respect cohorts' life outside of work.

If you are not actively listening to others in face-to-face encounters or in meetings, you are hurting employee engagement. Multitasking during face-to-face meetings is bad etiquette and a relationship killer. When your eyes drop to your lap, you are hurting your credibility.

Remember what you ask team members to do. Leaders forget now and then. When you do forget, it sends the message that what you asked them to do may not really be that important.

Be aware of your Leadership Privilege. Do not be ashamed of Leadership Privilege, but do be aware of it and do not use it to take advantage of followers. Leadership Privilege looks like:
- Always having reliable transportation to get to work on time. It may include having a company car.
- Special parking which is great especially in bad weather.
- An office with good lighting, an ergonomic chair, the latest computer and privacy.
- Always having a seat at the meeting table and usually in a key location.
- Having knowledge that followers do not have. Knowledge is power. Be mindful of impact of withholding or not being transparent. Misusing your power is a form of bullying.

Take a lesson from the Marines. Officers always eat last!

Be aware of disloyalty, betrayal and brutality. These three behaviors destroy employee engagement and kill trust.

- Disloyalty. An employee shares an idea and the leader doesn’t acknowledge it. This is treating the employee like a stranger. 
- Betrayal. An employee shares an idea and the leader shares it with higher ups and takes credit. This is treating the employee like a competitor or an enemy. 
- Brutality. You are in a meeting and you share a thought or idea. The leader responds: you are stupid; that is the worst idea ever; asks, 'why you can’t be more like ______?' This is treating the employee as if he/she is sub-human and unworthy. This is a form of bullying.

Be sensitive to overworked employees. The leader, manager or supervisor that ignores or is oblivious that an employee is overloaded will not get engagement. How many times have you heard “My boss has no idea of what I do or how hard I work!”? Bosses need to take time to shadow their staff, do ride-alongs and go to where their staff works. Open door policy should be replaced with “let-me-walk-a-mile-in-your-shoes” policy.

Is there ROJ
(Retired on the Job) in the workplace? ROJ makes it harder on everyone else. If you supervise someone who has ROJ, don’t ignore it. This sends a negative message to those who are still working. Guess what it does for employee engagement?

Do not over-promise and under deliver. Do not make promises you cannot keep. This not only hurts credibility, it creates distrust and unwillingness to go the extra mile.

Micromanagement is not only an employee engagement killer, a huge trust killer.

Here are a couple of other Employee Engagement Killer apps:
- Playing favorites.
- Indecisiveness, waffling, avoiding a decision creates stress, bottlenecks and disengagement. 

- Continuously changing the company org chart sends a signal of indecisiveness especially when there is little information on the reason for the changes.
- Betraying confidences kills relationships and employee engagement.
- Unwillingness to admit when wrong or own a mistake. Furthermore, to blame someone else for your mistake brings down employee engagement.
- The right way is my way on getting things done. This is a sign of a big ego.
- Unpredictable moods. Mood swings are disturbing and cause avoidance behavior.
- Don’t be a helicopter leader or ghost leader. In other words be available. Make time to meet one-on-one with staff.

As Tom Rath and Barry Conchie point out in their bestselling, Strengths Based Leadership, followers want leaders whom they trust, who have compassion, who build stability and who give hope. Live into these four behaviors and you will get employee engagement.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Customer Survey. Please STOP!

Recently, I spent money with an organization. It was a good experience and one I would recommend to others.

Then I got home and received an email asking me to fill out a survey.

I can't do it! I've got survey-fatigue. Filling out surveys maybe good for the organization, but they aren't a good use of my time.

I understand that in today's world, best experience wins, but the request for my time to fill out a survey actually hurts my experience with the organization. Furthermore, I know that the longer the survey and the more personal information requested, the business is actually gleaning more information about me for marketing to me. The trust factor takes a hit.

If I have had a negative experience with an organization, they will hear from me. How they respond will determine if I return or how I share my experience with others including via social media.

If the business really wants me to return as a customer, forget SurveyMonkey, eServ or Murvey. I suggest asking no more than three open ended questions about my experience before I leave the premises.

Finally, reward me for taking my time to answer the questions. After all I just spent money with you! Give me a coupon for a discount to entice my return. 

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