Disney Nails It Again

Instead of a Culture Crusher this week I thought I’d take a different angle.

Think about how this security guard adds to the Disney experience. He’s not just a security guard, he’s part of the image Disney is trying to create, part of the experience. You know, the one that causes millions of people a year to throw fist-fulls of money at them for the pleasure of walking through their gates? They hired for fit and they gave him the autonomy to do something that he believes will help make their vision a reality. It’s just another reason Disney nails it and just another reason visitors will keep going back.

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Posted in Awesome Comapnies, Marisa Keegan | 1 Comment

Bad Managers Sandwich. Good Managers Drop The Bread.

Are we all familiar with the Sandwich Feedback Technique in which a good bit of feedback is given (praise), then constructive feedback (criticism), then another good bit to round out the burger…er, sandwich?

Can we all make a promise that we’ll never use this technique again? Puhlease!!

Here’s why:

  1. It’s confusing. Are you telling your direct report that they are doing well or telling them they need to change something?
  2. If you sandwich once I’m willing to bet you sandwich a lot and your direct reports know it. This dilutes every compliment you ever give because employees know that the next words out of your mouth will be criticism.
  3. Truly, this technique waters down the positive feedback you give to your employees.
  4. Managing is about being able to be honest and up front with your direct reports. Try this, “Hey Bill, stop doing this shit because it’s costing us a lot of money. Okay, thanks.” Actually, scratch that but seriously, being honest just works better and if done a bit more tactfully then my example your employees will appreciate it.

If you struggle with giving critical feedback ask for help from other managers, get a coach, practice in the mirror beforehand. There are techniques you can use to allow you to give straightforward and honest feedback that will help your employees grow. Believe me, they don’t want to be confused either so just come out and say what the problem is. Then offer to help them with the solution.

Save the bread for a time when the only thing you’re giving out is a compliment without the butt.

…see what I did there? Was that little butt pun good or terrible. Let me know – openly and honestly.

Marisa is a leadership coach, management trainer, and motivational speaker on all things Culture and Engagement.  She has helped lead the culture and engagement initiatives at two nationally recognized great places to work; Rackspace as Culture Maven and Modea as Talent Manger. Today Marisa consults, coaches, and leads seminars for organizations looking to increase productivity by focusing on management training and employee engagement.

 

Posted in A Rant For The Sake of Ranting, Marisa Keegan | 3 Comments

I’m A Bad Communicator. You’re Fired.

It’s amazing to me that two grown adults can go into a meeting, hear the same person speak, and leave with two completely different opinions of what just happened. Perception is reality, right?

I was recently working with Phil, a manager at a software company, who was having a lot of problems with a direct report. By the time I came into the situation Phil was completely frustrated with Jim Bob because his work wasn’t up to par. Phil swore up and down that he’d told Jim Bob over and over what he needed to be doing but that he continued to fail to get it done. He had completely given up on Jim Bob and wanted to fire him but before he could do that I was called in to ensure that the proper steps had been taken and documented.

Of course, my next step was to meet with Jim Bob who, when questioned about how he thought he was doing at work, replied “great”. I dug into previous conversations that Phil had told me about and Jim Bob repeated that he’d received good feedback about his performance. The disconnect between this boss and his direct report was staggering.

Not only was Jim Bob not at all expecting a termination in his future but he didn’t even realize he was having performance issues.

Never fire an employee unless they can clearly articulate the top two reasons they are being let go. Is this a law? No, it’s just good practice.

I ended up mediating a meeting between Phil and Jim Bob where we talked about three specific areas that Phil needed to see improvement. We wrote very clear and specific goals that Jim Bob had to meet, and set timelines for when they had to be met by.

Guess what? Jim Bob met all the goals. And when he and Phil had their next meeting and set another set of clear goals he met those as well. It turns out that a very big part of the problem was that Phil wasn’t being honest enough with Jim Bob about what the expectations of his job were. Jim Bob was off doing other work that he thought was adding value but he was off the mark. When Phil had been ‘having tough conversations’ with Jim Bob he wasn’t being direct or honest enough which led Jim Bob to believe he was doing pretty well.

The moral of the story, before you jump to firing someone ask yourself if you’ve really had the tough conversation with them or if you just think you did.

Marisa is a leadership coach, management trainer, and motivational speaker on all things Culture and Engagement.  She has helped lead the culture and engagement initiatives at two nationally recognized great places to work; Rackspace as Culture Maven and Modea as Talent Manger. Today Marisa consults, coaches, and leads seminars for organizations looking to increase productivity by focusing on management training and employee engagement.

 

 

Posted in A Rant For The Sake of Ranting, Marisa Keegan | Leave a comment

Lazy Bosses Are Awesome

It’s Culture Crusher Friday!

Samantha started a new job as the manager of a department of 5 employees. During her first week her boss asked her to write goals for her department. In order to make sure there was alignment between her departmental goals and the goals of the organization she asked her boss if he would send her the organizations goals. His response, “Oh, I don’t have time to write those down. I’ll just take the goals you come up with and will stick them in a binder with all of the other departmental goals. That way, we’ll have a book that makes up all the goals of the organization.” 

Samantha, I’m sorry but your boss is just lazy. And you know what? Lazy bosses breed lazy employees because if the boss doesn’t care then why should anyone else?

Nothing screams, ‘welcome to your new company, we don’t have alignment and don’t plan on coming up with it any time soon’ like a boss not taking the time to think through and write down the organizational goals. Being a good leader and creating a passionate, motivated, engaged workforce is about being able to tell the story of where you want to go and who you want to be as an organization. Don’t mess that up!

Editors Note: Culture Crushers will be posted every Friday. Let us know if you have a doozie to share.

Posted in Culture Crushers | 3 Comments

I Wish We All Worked In Candyland

I love the Olympics and even though the London games are behind us I’m still feeling the spirit. But it isn’t because I am a huge sports fan.  To me, the best thing about the Olympics is hearing the passionate and motivating stories about the athletes all over the world.  Stories of overcoming disabilities, stories of escaping serious life challenges, stories of being the underdog and rising to the top; they are all amazing to watch.  As I sit on my couch in my cumfy house with all my blessings, I often forget how blessed I am to live in one of the super power countries of the world.  The Olympic Games tend to humble me and leave me in awe of people who have to beat the odds to even attend the games.

At times, I feel the same way working for The Beryl Companies.  I have been here so long that at times I forget what it can be like in a corporate environment where the business and profit come way before employees.   I worked at a horrible place before I came to Beryl but it was so long ago that it is a distant memory.  I often hear about things that happen to others at work that leave me in disbelief.

My mom called me one day to tell me that a co-worker of hers was selling many of her pre-owned designer purses in the break room.  She wanted to know if she should buy one for my daughter.  Me being the inquisitive one, I asked why she would be selling such great purses.  My mom proceeded to tell me that this co-worker was about to have major surgery and was going to be docked her pay for the time that goes over her allotted PTO.  So she decided to sell her personal things to pay bills.  I shrieked, “Whattttt? They are doing what?  Docking her pay!”  It was then that my mom said something that has stayed with me for years.  She said, “Lara Baby, we all don’t work in Candy Land.”

Wow.  What a statement!  That was when it really hit me how very lucky I am to work for a man who not only wants us to take care of the people but he expects us to.   I actually have payroll funds in my culture budget to cover the salaries of employees who have a personal crisis but are out of PTO.  Now of course there is a lot to factor in with this type of benefit; are they a good performer, do they come to work, etc.  But the fact that I have the autonomy to do the right thing for someone is invaluable to me.

What are some of the horror stories you have experienced at work?  My fellow “culture fanatic” and founder, Marisa Keegan, often focuses her blog on what she calls, “Culture Crushers”.  She talks about some of the crazy things employers do to crush their workplace culture.  What are some of the things you have experienced that make you wish you worked at Candy Land?  Let us know!

Editors Note: For the past 12 years Lara Morrow has been The Queen of Fun & Laughter at The Beryl Companies, a title accidentally appointed due to her wacky personality.  She spearheads their internal communication, recognition, employee relations, leadership training and culture strategy. Her efforts have led to Beryl being recognized nine different times as a best place to work including being voted the #2 Best Medium Sized Company to work for in America. She is a co-author of Smile Guide, Employee Perspectives on Culture, Loyalty and Profit. After hours, Lara “releases steam” through her passion for cooking, blogging and reviewing local restaurants.

Posted in Culture, Lara Morrow | 1 Comment

Good Leaders Embrace Being Human

No one is right every time, has the answers all the time, or is is strong at every moment. But as leaders we often feel like we should be. A good leader isn’t afraid to show weakness or doubt. In fact, if done in the right fashion and at the right time showing doubt or weakness can be an effective way to rally your team. It’s part of being transparent and can go a long way towards building a strong relationship with your employees.

I’ll never forget when the CEO of a company I worked for sent an email out to the entire company at 3am telling us that he couldn’t sleep because he knew the economy was getting rough and that we needed to find ways to increase sales and decrease spend. He very openly told us that he didn’t have answers but that he needed our help. That small gesture created a huge movement. Every single employee did their part to help him solve our problems and it was moving. From the VP level employees down to our janitorial staff everyone focused on those two things: increasing sales, decreasing spend. Employees put up a board where they could ‘brag’ about money they’d saved the company and over time the board filled up with items like “used our credit card points to buy paper and pens”, “found a grant to pay for our recruiting campaign”, “re-used my water cup for two days”.

Why were employees so eager to help? Because our leader showed that he was human. He asked for help, empowered the employees to come up with solutions, and gave them the opportunity to make a difference. That’s powerful stuff.

“Even the toughest leaders have moments of fear.  It’s what you do with those that make the difference.” Trish McFarlane

Marisa is a leadership coach, management trainer, and motivational speaker on all things Culture and Engagement.  She has helped lead the culture and engagement initiatives at two nationally recognized great places to work; Rackspace as Culture Maven and Modea as Talent Manger. Today Marisa consults, coaches, and leads seminars for organizations looking to increase productivity by focusing on management training and employee engagement.

Posted in Employee Coaching, Marisa Keegan | Leave a comment

The Company Picnic: The New Cool…Again.

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Why have many organizations let the company picnic become a dying art?  In this day and age is it now seen as corny?   Possibly, but I can tell you that a few weeks ago, at the annual picnic we call, Beryl Family Day, it was pretty awesome to see seven hundred of us running around intermingling with one another and having a blast!

Here at Beryl, the annual picnic is just as strong as ever.  In this day and age of insane multi-tasking and the dependence on technology for communication, it is nice to have dedicated time where we slow down and enjoy old fashioned fun with our families and co-workers.

Beryl’s Family Day festivities begin a month before the event with the kid’s art contest.  The event is announced and the “Beryl Kids” start submitting their drawings based on the theme.  The drawings are posted down the long, main hallway at Beryl and we vote on our favorite.  The winning drawing becomes the art on the t-shirt for the event.  The kids love participating and the employees love the shirts!

The Ranch at Lonesome Dove in Grapevine, Texas, was the perfect location to enjoy water balloon tossing contests, noodle races, softball, bounce houses, rock climbing, pony rides and more.

While the kids had their faces painted or participated in ranch Olympics, adults enjoyed BBQ and lemonade under the trees.  For a little while we forgot about projects, deadlines and initiatives and just relaxed.  The day wrapped up with a hugely competitive, big game of bingo.  It was a day of completely unplugged entertainment.  Sure some may see that as old school, but for us, the camaraderie built during events like these is invaluable to our organization.  The spirit of family carries back into the work place where respect for one another is evident.  Plus there is just something pretty cool about watching the CEO in his Family Day shirt, throwing the Frisbee with the kids.  As a matter of fact, Our CEO, Paul Spiegelman, recently wrote a blog for Inc. Magazine about this very subject.  You can read it here.

Editors Note: For the past 12 years Lara Morrow has been The Queen of Fun & Laughter at The Beryl Companies, a title accidentally appointed due to her wacky personality.  She spearheads their internal communication, recognition, employee relations, leadership training and culture strategy. Her efforts have led to Beryl being recognized nine different times as a best place to work including being voted the #2 Best Medium Sized Company to work for in America. She is a co-author of Smile Guide, Employee Perspectives on Culture, Loyalty and Profit. After hours, Lara “releases steam” through her passion for cooking, blogging and reviewing local restaurants.

Posted in Culture, Lara Morrow | 1 Comment