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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Winning by Giving

Succeeding Through Kindness

When I chased after money, I never had enough. When I got my life on purpose and focused on giving of myself and everything that arrived into my life, then I was prosperous.

                                                          – Wayne Dyer, author and speaker

When we're at work, we can spend a lot of energy trying to get help from those around us. However, how much time do we spend helping others in return?
Having a strong social support network at work raises engagement, productivity, and overall success. If we truly want to succeed, however, each of us can spend time "giving ourselves" to those in our network. Only then will we experience the true benefits that giving brings, and start to see the success we've dreamed of.

Benefits of Giving
Giving makes us happy. The happier we are, the more energy we have, the better we think, and the more friendships we develop. Giving not only feels good, but research shows that it lowers your chance of depression, strengthens your heart, lowers stress, and can literally add years to your life.

Professionally, giving also offers several benefits. One study found that fostering positive social support at work raises productivity. Another study found that those who give at work ("work altruists"), are far more engaged with what they do and are more often promoted, compared with colleagues who stay isolated while doing their job.

However, you probably don't need research to tell you that giving makes you feel good! Just think back to the last time you helped a colleague who was stuck with a problem, or took your assistant out to lunch. Giving boosts our energy in a way that nothing else can. We feel connected and engaged when we help others, because it reminds us of what it means to be human, at its best.

All this, in turn, comes back to us in ways we could never expect or predict. Giving creates a network of trust, goodwill, and good energy at work that can pay off many times over in the future.

Giving and kindness also have an important ripple effect, which is why one generous person can transform a team or an organization. The person you give to feels great about the help they received. This can create a desire in them to "pay back" that kindness to someone else. Much like ripples in a pond, one act of kindness can impact dozens, or even hundreds, of lives.

How to Give More
The good news about giving is that you don't need to invest huge chunks of your time to do it. Often, the smallest acts of kindness and consideration can have a big impact on those around us.

So, how can we give at work?

1. Just Listen
A great way of giving is simply to listen to others.
When you do this, listen without contributing your opinion, and without trying to "top their story." Use active listening skills, so that you can fully grasp what they're telling you, and respond with empathy and understanding.

2. Offer Specific Help
How many times have you heard a colleague say, "Let me know if you need any help!" but had the distinct feeling they didn't really mean it? Vague offers of help can come across as half-hearted or insincere. Offering help in a specific way shows that you mean it.
For instance, your colleagues may be complaining about their workload. So, offer specific help: volunteer to collect their lunch for them, so that they can continue working, or give them a hand with a task if your own workload allows. When you offer specific assistance, you let others know that you're truly willing to help.

3. Show Gratitude
If you're in a leadership position, how often do you give praise to your team? How often do you say "thank you" to your assistant for the good work he or she does every day?
Showing gratitude to those around us, whether above or below us in the hierarchy, is a simple but powerful way to give. So, find ways to say "thank you" to your team and colleagues. You might be surprised at the difference that this makes to your relationships!

4. Become a True Mentor
When you mentor others, you can share a lifetime's worth of knowledge and skill in order to help them succeed. This unselfish act not only benefits the professionals you work with; it can change your own life in many ways.
It probably goes without saying that your organization will benefit when strong mentoring relationships are formed within it. Start mentoring in the workplace now, and experience the satisfaction that comes with helping others to succeed.

5. Share Resources
If your team or department has ample resources or supplies, why not offer to share them with another team or department, particularly if it is not as well funded as yours?
This could include sharing resources such as physical supplies, but also knowledge, technology, and team member expertise as well. (This won't be viable in some situations. Use your own best judgment here, and make sure that you're doing your own job properly as well!)

6. Offer a Hand to New Employees
Can you remember what it was like on your very first day at the organization? You didn't know anyone, and you probably felt overwhelmed by all of your tasks and responsibilities.
When a new employee joins your organization or team, spend time with her during her first few weeks and help her have a successful induction. Offer to help her get used to her new role, and take her around to meet everyone that she'll be working with. Share your knowledge about the organization's culture and values.

This can make a challenging transition smoother and less stressful.

7. Practice "Random Acts of Kindness"
Random acts of kindness can transform both you and the person you help. When you are kind to someone anonymously, you give for the simple, ego-less pleasure of giving, and that's it. So, practice random acts of kindness when you're at work.
What can you do? Leave a cup of gourmet coffee on your colleague's desk when he or she is having a bad day. Send an anonymous "thank you" letter to your organization's cleaning staff. Bring some healthy snacks or homemade cookies to work, and leave them anonymously in the break room, with a note letting others know that they're for everyone.

There are endless ways that you can make a positive impact on someone else's day. Just use your imagination!

8. Find Your Purpose
Every job has a purpose. It's easy, especially when we're busy and stressed, to forget how our role helps others. But, no matter what we do or where we do it, ultimately our work should benefit someone else.

Take time to find your purpose at work. Once you dig down to find the ultimate meaning of what you do, you may be surprised by how much your work helps others.

Although it's important to give your time and energy to others, it's equally important not to go too far! If you spend too much time helping your coworkers, you may find that you don't have time to accomplish your own objectives. It's important to find the right balance between helping others, and focusing on your own goals and tasks.

Key Points
Giving our time and energy to others not only feels good, but it's been proven to make us happier, more productive, and more engaged with our team and organization.
Giving also offers positive physical benefits as well: it helps alleviate stress, helps lower our risk of illnesses like depression, and even helps us live longer!

You can give back to others by doing any or all of the following:

1.               Just listen to others.
2.               Offer specific help.
3.               Show gratitude.
4.               Become a mentor.
5.               Share resources.
6.               Offer a hand to new employees.
7.               Practice random acts of kindness.
8.               Find your purpose.

Make an effort to give regularly – you'll love the results.

All the success,

Peter Mclees, LMFT

P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping restaurants, stores, branches, distribution centers, food production facilities, and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Helping Employees Embrace New Systems

Embracing new systems and processes can be challenging for many. Even for those who aren't apprehensive about technology, automating a manual process that employees have been accustomed to for years can be overwhelming.

With profitability and efficiency among businesses' top priorities, and technology a valuable tool for increasing both, how can business leaders help employees to adopt, and even openly embrace, new technology?

When considering a new technology — be it software, hardware or even a simple upgrade — talk to your team members about their current challenges and frustrations to gauge what features are 'must-haves.'
By taking a solution-oriented approach and integrating technology that meets employee needs, it will be easier to integrate the technology into day-to-day operations.

Show Them The Benefits
The best thing to do is to introduce the problem to employees and present the new system or process to them as a possible solution. After allowing them to learn more about it, they should be encouraged to give you feedback. Once you've identified the right system or process for the problem, you can make it available for use.

Just like you would train a new employee on office procedures, it is important to train team members on how to best use new technologies. When developing a training program for your team members, consider company culture.

Is your company or department bursting with early adopters? Do team members lag behind in their adoption of technology? Knowing who you are working with is as important as understanding the technology itself. Understanding the culture will help.

It is also important to develop a program that trains all team members, not just system administrators. Training all team members on the system will prevent administrators from being bombarded with questions and reduce the number of team members who resist the technology due to lack of understanding.

To help increase team members adoption of the technology and minimize any apprehension, coordinate team training sessions in small groups where the team can work hands-on with the new technology and receive on-the-spot support and guidance. A small group setting will help people to feel more comfortable asking questions.

Measure results
Evaluating the effectiveness of a new technology is crucial. It both helps to determine if goals are being met and demonstrates the technology's value to the team.

Before implementing a new technology, set benchmarks. Potential benchmarks include how many team members you want using the technology after a set period of time, projected increases in productivity and desired reductions in system interruptions.

These measurements will help management to evaluate return on investment and illustrate the value of the technology to employees who are resistant to or struggling with the transition. Showing employees that customers are receiving better service, that they are more efficient in their role, and/or that the business is operating more smoothly, will motivate them to become familiar with and consistently use the new technology.

Once you have measured how many employees have become proficient with the technology, interface with those who are resisting the change or encountering possible difficulty.

Is there a key system functionality that team members have overlooked? Are team members using the system incorrectly, and are therefore frustrated? Identifying the reasons employees are not using a new technology can help to identify areas where additional training is needed and help to refine your purchasing strategy for future technology

Be patient
Wouldn't it be great if team members were on board and running at full-speed from the get go? Unfortunately, this is not always realistic.

Be patient when implementing a new technology and team members are trying to learn the new processes. While training will help, it still takes time for things to run smoothly. Anticipate that team members will have questions and challenges as they work with the new technology. Take the time to educate team members on the value of the new technology and highlight how it will make their job faster/better/easier.

It is important to evaluate the effectiveness of all technology, consider team members feedback, and assess overall impact on day-to-day operations. When implementing a new technology, work closely with team members to ensure that the technology is being used properly and that they are comfortable with the new processes.

Taking the time to help employees transition to using new technology effectively is key for allowing businesses to realize optimal increases in efficiency and cost savings while helping them to refine their purchasing and implementation strategy with future technology.

Unlearning and Relearning
Futurist and author Alvin Toffler once stated that the illiterate of the 21st century won’t be those who can’t read and write, but those who can’t learn, unlearn, and relearn. That remains a prophetic statement for the period of accelerating change facing many companies today. Unlearning is about allowing ourselves to go through the full cycle of change—from contentment to renewal. Personal power resides with our ability to recognize what is in front of us and to be willing to push through our own denial and confusion to reach that light at the end.

All the success,

Peter Mclees, LMFT

P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping restaurants, stores, branches, distribution centers, food production facilities, and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why it's good to stretch outside your comfort zone

Think you have big goals? Several years ago, I read an article in Wired magazine about a long-distance runner named Dean Karnazes.

Get this:

·    He ran fifty marathons in fifty states on fifty consecutive days.
·    He once ran 350 miles in three days—without stopping and with no sleep.
·    He’s run the Badwater Ultra Marathon eleven times. It starts in Death Valley, 250 feet below sea level and concludes, 135 miles later, halfway up Mt. Witney, at 8,360 feet. He won the race in 2004 on his fifth attempt.
·    He runs 100 to 170 miles a week.
·    He couldn’t find time to run 4-6 hours a day, so he began sleeping less. He currently sleeps four hours a night.
·    His resting heart rate is 39 beat per minute!

In another interview in Outside magazine, Dean makes an important point that many of us have forgotten:

Western culture has things a little backwards right now. We think that if we had every comfort available to us, we’d be happy. We equate comfort with happiness. And now we’re so comfortable we’re miserable. There’s little real struggle in our lives. Little sense of adventure. We get in a car, we get in an elevator, it all comes pretty easy. What I’ve found is that I’m never more alive than when I pushing hard and I’m in pain, and I’m struggling for high achievement, and in that struggle I think there’s a magic.

This rings true for me. I think there are three reasons why we should embrace discomfort by stretching outside our comfort zone, whether we deliberately choose it, or it simply happens to us.

  1. Comfort is overrated. It doesn’t lead to happiness. It makes us lazy—and forgetful. It often leads to self-absorption, boredom, and discontent.
  2. Discomfort is a catalyst for growth. It makes us yearn to something more. It forces us to change, stretch, and adapt.
  3. Discomfort is a sign we’re making progress. You’ve heard the expression, “no pain, no gain.” It’s true! When you push yourself to grow, you will experience discomfort.
A few months ago, I started a daily practice of meditation. It sounded easy enough. Boy, was I wrong! It has proven to be incredibly challenging to sit for thirty minutes straight. But that’s the very reason I value it. I feel like I’m making progress by doing something that isn’t easy for me.

The bottom line is this: we can either be comfortable and stagnate or stretch ourselves—become uncomfortable—and grow. We may think that comfort leads to happiness. It doesn’t. Happiness comes from growth and feeling like we're making progress.

(Check out our post on the 'Progress Principle' )

Get out and stay out of your comfort zone. I believe not much happens of any significance when we’re in our comfort zone.”
                                                                       --Bob Parson, Digital Entrepreneur

Adapted From M Hyatt

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The #1 Way to Engage and Motivate!

Tap the Power of the Progress Principle

Amabile and Kramer's Progress Theory
Using Small Wins to Enhance Motivation and Engagement

Recognize progress, and boost motivation.

There are many ways that you can motivate, engage and inspire your team.

For instance, you can provide a positive, exciting workplace, with plenty of opportunities to build strong relationships. You can use incentives, such as bonuses or other rewards, to keep your team focused. And you can provide great support, and publicly recognize people's hard work.

However, recent research has shown that the way that people complete their work can also have a significant effect on motivation, and that's what we're looking at in this post.
In it, we'll see how consistent progress in the form of "small wins" can boost people's motivation and performance, and we'll explore strategies that you can use to help your own team achieve small wins as part of their work.

About the Theory
Professor Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer wrote in detail about how progress can boost performance in their 2014 book, "The Progress Principle."

In their research, they asked 238 people (from 26 project teams in seven major organizations) to keep an anonymous diary, so that they could track their experiences on a daily basis. They received more than 12,000 separate diary entries, which they used to analyze people's "inner work lives" – their perceptions, emotions, and motivation levels – and to explore how this affected their performance.

They found that when people consistently take steps forward – even small steps – on meaningful projects, they are more creative, productive, and engaged, and they have better relationships. This, in turn, has a positive influence on their work performance.
In short, achieving and recognizing regular "small wins" helps people have rich, engaged, and productive work lives. As any experienced manager knows, happy, engaged, and productive team members can achieve far more than unhappy team members.

Applying the Theory
So, how can you apply this theory with your team?
Amabile and Kramer identified six things that you can do to give people the best chance of experiencing and recognizing meaningful progress.
These are:

1. Set Clear Goals and Objectives
When people have unclear or changing goals, they don't know what to focus on. This means that they're likely to be less engaged with the work they're doing, and they're unlikely to see the small tasks that they do as "wins."

So, make sure that you set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals for everyone on your team; and change them only when you have to. Your people need to understand what's expected of them, so that they know when they've achieved these goals.

They also need to understand the connection between the work that they're doing and the value that it provides to others, whether these are the organization's customers, the organization itself, or even society as a whole. After all, we all want to feel that our work has meaning, and that it benefits others.

2. Allow Autonomy
Although your people need specific goals, they need some freedom to decide how they accomplish these goals – the more control that people have over their own work, the more empowered and creative they'll be, and the more they'll recognize their own achievements (even on small tasks).

So, make sure that you avoid micromanagement – this destroys morale and engagement, and leaves no room for autonomy.

3. Provide Resources
Without sufficient resources in place, it will be difficult for your people to succeed consistently in their work. They may conclude that their work isn't important, and they may waste time on non-core tasks that don't help them reach their objectives.

So, make sure that your people have the tools and resources they need to do their jobs properly. This includes technology, knowledge (includingtraining and development), support, and supplies.

4. Allow Ample Time
Your people need enough time to complete their work: consistently setting short deadlines will harm creativity, drive down work quality, and cause burnout.

That being said, there is an optimum amount of pressure that can actually enhance performance. Therefore, you need to provide the right amount of pressure – try to set deadlines that create enough pressure to motivate good performance, yet still allow people the freedom to be creative and innovative.

5. Provide Support and Expertise
Make sure that your team has access to the help and expertise of other people, so that they can move forward with their work.

As their manager, this includes you, but it also includes other managers, colleagues, outside experts, or even customers and suppliers.

Also, foster a collaborative environment, where people can be creative and bounce ideas around.

6. Learn from "Failure"
No matter how well you plan and prepare, there will be times when people fail at tasks or projects. This will sometimes be because their work was careless; however, other times, people may have done their genuine best, but failed for reasons outside their control.
Clearly, sloppy work needs to be dealt with appropriately.
However, some organizations deal harshly with honest failure. This not only lowers morale and makes people afraid to try new things, but it also encourages them to see failures as wasted time, rather than as experiences that they can learn from.
Support your people when they've done their honest best, but have still failed. Without assigning blame, discuss how all of you will move forward and grow. Teach them how to overcome fear of failure, and allow them to take appropriate risks.

Recognize and Celebrate Success
These six mechanisms will help your people make consistent, meaningful progress. However, it's particularly important that you routinely recognize and celebrate success.
Encourage people to keep track of their achievements and successes on a daily basis, for example, by keeping a diary of their achievements.

Then celebrate these in team meetings, and reward your people for their small wins. This doesn't have to be a monetary reward – a heartfelt "thank you" and simple recognition is often reward enough.

Amabile and Kramer's Progress Theory is an important and useful approach to motivation.

Key Points
The Progress Theory was developed by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer.

They determined that achieving consistent, small wins was the biggest indicator of a rich inner work life. This rich inner work life, in turn, enables people to be more productive, more engaged, and more creative in the work that they do.

Amabile and Kramer came up with six mechanisms that leaders can use to help their team achieve small wins:

1.               Set clear goals and objectives.
2.               Allow autonomy.
3.               Provide resources.
4.               Allow ample time.
5.               Provide support and expertise.
6.               Help people learn from "failure."

As well as using these mechanisms, you should also encourage your people to recognize and celebrate their own successes, however small.

All the Success!

Peter Mclees, Principal

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Sage Advice from a 2,000 Year Old Slave

"The first person you lead is yourself."  
                                                           -Epictetus of  Hierapolis  55 to 135 C.E.

Standing in line at the register the other day in Vancouver, I couldn’t help overhearing the women on her cell phone in front of me.

Her mother had abused her. Her employer didn’t appreciate her. Her kids disrespected her. By the time she was done, I could have sworn I heard the sun was too bright outside and the birds were singing too loud.

Some things never change…

If a citizen of ancient Greece or Rome were magically transported into the modern era, he would be astounded by the current state of agriculture, transportation, housing, medicine, architecture, technology, and living standards.

But humanity itself would offer few surprises. We remain the same flawed human beings we always were, struggling with the same human faults our ancestors wrestled with millennia ago.

That is why ancient philosophers still speak to us—if we listen. The wisdom of the classical world transcends place and time.

The Stoic philosophy, for example, dominated the ancient world for nearly 600 years, beginning in the late 4th century B.C.E.

Stoics believed that reason was supreme. Tranquility is only achieved, they taught, by suppressing irrational emotions—like regrets about the past—and accepting life’s unavoidable disappointments and setbacks.

One of the great exponents of Stoicism was a slave named Epictetus, born around 55 C.E. in the east outreaches of the Roman Empire.

Epictetus had few advantages in life. Aside from being born into slavery, he had a permanent physical disability. And he was poor, living a simple life in a small hut with no possessions.

Yet he became one of the leading thinkers of his age. When Epictetus was freed from slavery—we still don’t know how—he set up a philosophical school on the northwest coast of Greece, spending his days lecturing on how to live with dignity and tranquility.

As his reputation for wisdom grew, people flocked to hear him. One of his most distinguished students was the young Marcus Aurelius Antonius, who became ruler of the Roman Empire.

Epictetus was not one for airy theories (Read: The Secret). In his view, the job of philosophy is to help ordinary people deal with the challenges of everyday life. And his words, captured in a great book, The Art of Living, are a wise today as when he spoke them nearly 2,000 years ago:

“Keep your attention focused entirely on what is truly you own concern, and be clear that what belongs to others is their business and none of yours.

One of the clearest marks of the moral life is right speech….Glib talk disrespects others. Breezy self-disclosure disrespects yourself….If need be, be mostly silent or speak sparingly.

Let the quality of your deeds speak on your behalf. We can’t control the impressions others from about us, and the effort to do so debases our character. So, if anyone should tell you that a particular person has spoken critically of you, don’t bother with excuses of defenses. Just smile and reply, I guess that person doesn’t know about all my other faults. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have mentioned only these.”

Now is the time to get serious about living your ideals. Once you have determined the spiritual principles you wish to exemplify, abide by these rules as if they were laws.”

Epictetus had a deep understanding of human beings, of society…and of life. But he also understood death, too.

“I must die. If the time is now, I’m ready…How will I die? Like a man who gives up what belongs to another….A good death can only come from a good life.”
Epictetus argued that our prime motivation should be inner achievements, not outer ones. The right attitudes and values allow you to flourish no matter what the external world throws at you. Inner achievement lays the foundation for peace, tranquility, and personal freedom. And so he taught that true success comes from focusing ourselves within:

“We cannot choose our external circumstances, but we can always choose to respond to them.

“If someone irritates you, it is only your own response that is irritating you. Therefore, when anyone seems to be provoking you, remember that it is only your judgment of the incident that provokes you.”

“Those who are dedicated to a life of wisdom understand that the impulse to blame something or someone if foolishness, that there is nothing to be gained in blaming, whether if be others or oneself.”
If anyone is unhappy, remember that his unhappiness is his own doing…Nothing else is the cause of anxiety or loss of tranquility except our own opinion.”

“He is wise who doesn’t grieve for the things he doesn’t have, but rejoices for the things he does have.”

“Fortify yourself with contentment, for it is an impregnable fortress.

Whether you are janitor or a CEO, Epictetus insists that your main job in life---your most important work---is improving yourself. Yet, always a realist, he emphasized moral progress over moral perfection.

Today Epictetus is widely recognized as the world’s first philosopher of personal freedom (Victor Frankel picks up on the theme in Man’s Search for Meaning). Its attainment, he insisted, is the result of mastering our thoughts, yielding to the inevitable, pursuing virtue rather than wealth and diverting our attention from constant desire, yearning and attachment.

In a modern translation of the Art of Living, philosophical writer Sharon Lebell observes that, “His was a moral teaching stripped of sentimentality, piousness, a and metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. What remains is the West’s first and best primer for living the best possible life.”

Ironic, isn’t it? A man born into slavery was among the first to show us a path to personal liberation.

“Anyone is free who lives as he wishes to live,” said Epictetus. “And no one is free who is not mater of himself.”

In the words of another Stoic, Seneca:

“As long as you live, keep learning how to live.”

Peter Mclees

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Building an engaged workforce is perhaps the biggest challenge today’s employers face. The benefits are many—increased customer loyalty, profitsproductivity and safety, to name a few—yet it can be tough to lead a workforce that maintains consistently high levels of passion and motivation.

This A to Z list about engagement from an employee’s perspective will help leaders determine where to focus their attention. Armed with these insights, you will be well on your way to developing the engaged workforce that create consistently great customer experiences.

Ask : Ask me questions, ask me for ideas, or ask me to participate. Ask me how we can improve the customer experience. You will grab my attention and begin the process of engaging my heart, mind and spirit.

Behave: How you behave towards me, my co-workers and those we interact with tells me a great deal. When you treat us like adults and contributors, we can move forward.

Treat me the way you'd want me to treat the customer!

Treat me as overhead, a resource, or human capital (whatever that is), and I will drift off to another place. Yelling, screaming or ignoring me—except when I mess up—won’t work either.  "Seagull" style managers don't earn my whole-hearted commitment.

Communicate and collaborate: If you want me to be engaged, help me understand what’s going on in the company. Tell me what led to or shaped our decisions. In other words, communicate with me. It’s from this foundation that you, me and others on our team can work together to clarify opportunities and determine how we will succeed. Let’s collaborate.

Deliver: When you make promises or say you’ll get back to me on something, please remember to deliver. You will build credibility and trust. If we can rely on you, rest assured you can rely on us.

Encourage and empower: This is actually a simple concept. When you tell me I did something well, I smile more. I learn, and carry that perspective forward. Let me know that you trust me to get the job done in the way that makes the most sense to me. Encouragement and empowerment are keys to keeping me engaged.

Feedback: Tell me how I’m doing. And not just once or twice a year—all the time. Tell me when you like what I’ve done; tell me what didn’t work and why. Providing both positive and constructive feedback regularly will help me improve. Share  formal and informal customer survey results. You’ll be surprised at what I will achieve.

Goals: Provide me with goals I can work toward. Better yet, let me in on developing goals that make sense to me, our team, the customer experience and the company.

Hello. How are you? Stop by now and then to say hello and ask how I’m doing. Ask about my family or just talk a little. Did you know I play golf? It couldn’t be simpler. It shows you care, and more important, helps build the bond we need to enjoy our time at work.

Integrity: Earn it, keep it, and reap the rewards. I’ll do the same and so will our teammates. Just imagine the possibilities.

Journey: Just like the company, I’m on a journey. Let’s find a way to connect the two. It will take some work, of course. You’ll need to get to know me a little. Find out what you can about my goals, ambitions, hopes, dreams, and where I hope my journey will lead me.

Find out who I am outside of work, too. I will return the favor by getting to know you. Remember to also share the company’s journey. Only then will engaging me become possible.

Knowledge: Share what you know with us employees, and allow us to share what we know with you. Make sure we share amongst ourselves as a team. Then, help us apply that knowledge in a way that leads to success.

Listen: Actively listen. Listen with your ears, eyes and mind. Let me know what you heard to make sure that is what I intended to say. When you do that, you will be surprised by what you learn.

Listen to me the way you'd want me to listen to the customer!

Meaning: My work has to have meaning, because I’m here for much more than a paycheck or social time. I want to contribute. Work with me to build that meaning and link it with our goals. Then you’ll really begin to capture my heart, mind and spirit.

Notice: Take notice of what I do and how I do it. Better yet, take notice of what our team does both individually and collectively, and give us credit for our efforts and achievements. Don’t forget that taking notice includes letting me know you did.

Opportunity: Use what you know about me to consider opportunities for me to get involved in other areas. From special assignments, leadership roles, and cross-organizational work to training and development, I appreciate the chance to deepen my capabilities and contributions.

Passion: Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

Questions: Ask, consider, answer, probe and challenge. Questions are the gateway to deeper levels of awareness, understanding, knowledge and potential. Ask, "How can I help?" and see me soar.

Recognition, rewards and relationships: Let’s redefine the three Rs. Recognize what I do and reward me appropriately. Build a relationship with me on a professional and personal level. Forget the three Rs at your own peril.

Smile: A smile really goes a long way. Try one on for size and you might be surprised by how far it goes.

Smile at me the way you'd want me to smile at the customer!

Trust: Showing that you trust me and giving me a reason to trust you is perhaps the most important of the ABCs. Without trust, the rest is meaningless. Remember that we earn trust over time. While it’s not hard to earn, it’s very hard to get back once we lose it.

Unify our team: Work with us as a team and let us work on our own as a team. There is a difference. Allow us to work together to build a shared vision and set our goals. Let us have ownership and participate in the way that makes the most sense to us. Let us share our hopes, dreams and fears with each other so we can work together.

Victory: It’s important to us that you celebrate our wins, whether they’re large, small or anywhere in between. It lets us know our efforts paid off, that you care, and that you notice.

We: As the saying goes, many hands lighten the load. Let us in on what’s happening and we can succeed together.

X-traordinary: The results we can achieve by working together will be extraordinary.

“Yes and,” not “yes but”: When you say, “Yes, but...” our conversations and my creativity shut down. Next time, try “Yes, and...” You’ll be surprised by where it may lead and how it will make me feel.

Zenith: If you follow the ABCs of employee engagement, my full potential and commitment will be yours and our customers will be wow'd.

All the success!

Peter Mclees, Principal

P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping companies create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.