Gaining Commitment At The Operational Level

Young professionals are quick to suspect the worst when leadership stumbles on people issues.  Here are five ways to build trust and gain commitment.

1.  Recognize effort and achievement. Recognition means different things to different people.  For some, recognition means public awards and praise; for others its just knowing they’ve gained your approval; and the ultimate recognition, being given the opportunity to achieve.  Ask your professionals how they prefer to be recognized.

2.  Create an environment of growth and personal responsibility. Every human being wants to shape  their own destiny and work on assignments they believe in.  The best recognition is acknowledging this desire in others and helping them tap into it through one on one sincere discussions about what is important to them (do not feel obligated to provide resources you do not have access to).

3.  Look up from your work and make eye contact with the person speaking to you. The highest respect one individual can give to another is the courtesy of listening with the eyes.  This communicates respect and builds trust.

4.  Give credit where it is due and to the person to whom it is due immediately. This is done with a proactive, going out of your way effort…across positional boundaries…. to give a sincere personal, “Thank you for a job well done.”

5.  Share and Tell Success Stories. This can be done in group meetings, casual hallway conversations, by email or by establishing a formal monthly process where you and your team selects someone who did something exceptional in client service, team support or went the extra mile in effort.  Write a brief Success Story about the person, the situation and their accomplishment or outcome achieved.


Staying Power

“Change is the narrowest and hardest groove that a man can get into.” G. K. Chesterton

The operations manager lamented that his company had been hot and cold on implementing lean manufacturing for the past ten years.  He was coming to the realization that as his energy level and commitment to the process ebbed and flowed, so did that of his managers.

Change is not a sprint; in fact, it’s a marathon requiring inexhaustible energy and staying power from those who lead it. And, for the people who prefer a less hurried and more monotonous work pace, you are wise to count the cost before committing to that groove.

And then, there are those restless souls who get bored quickly and have to keep changing things.  During a recent coaching session I pointed out to the Managing Director his high work pace and need for variety and change.  He replied, “So, you won’t be surprised to learn that I’m on my third marriage.”  We laughed; and yet, there is a certain sorrow and exhaustion in that groove.

Fight change, and it will break you.  Ignore change, and you become irrelevant. Worship change, and you become its slave. Respect change, and you will discover the richness of the past and the promise of a future.  Staying power!


Trusted Recommender

I’ve heard it said that we are no longer in the information age; we are in the recommender age.  Google is the best example of this reality.

A national tax leader shared with me that he has made it a practice to connect his clients with third-party resources to solve problems outside the bounds of his expertise.  He knew that he would benefit from acting in the clients best interest, even if his firm didn’t realize revenue directly from that transaction.  In his view, this practice creates loyalty in the client. It sends a strong message to your client that you have their best interest at heart.

A few months ago a partner recommended me to his client and it resulted in a great contract for me.  The next time we met, I was impressed by how pleased he was for having made the recommendation. He explained, “When I connect my clients with a great resource, it strengthens my relationship with them.”

Be a trusted recommender.  It’s good for business and the soul.