Friday, 27 July 2012

Driving Engagement = Driven Performance

Can monetary rewards actually have a negative effect on performance? Is task performance intrinsically motivating? 

There's a disconnect between what science knows and business does. The purpose of Daniel Pink's "Drive" is to bridge this gap. So, why is this important to me?

If you're responsible for growing an organization, getting the motivation component right is critical for employee engagement. According to Gallup, companies with engaged employees grow 2.6 times faster than those lacking.

Old school motivation tactics need to be challenged in today’s market place. The carrot and stick mentality of reward and punishment no longer works in the information age and can also be a talent drain. Left brain work is algorithmic and repetitive. Right Brain work is heuristic and creative. An example of left brain work is to make 100 parts per hour for eight hours. Right Brain work would be to create a new software module. Work that requires continuous thought needs a new motivation standard. 

89% of the Fortune 500 value is created from the intangible assets. These assets are created from thinking or right brain work. They include intellectual property, business models, good will and customer relationships. 

"Drive" contains relevant studies of how people flourish in the work place. It describes the problems and misconceptions of old school motivation tactics and examines how to change them. I would like to focus on self-motivation which is achieved by three things: autonomy, mastery and purpose. I will discuss the What, Why and How of each. 

1. Autonomy – Autonomy is defined as independence or freedom, as of the will or one's actions. People want to be engaged as partners of the business. Autonomy is important because we are in a free society and people want freedom. The problem is that old school management does not trust enough to encourage autonomy. Examples of autonomy are a flexible work schedule and working from home. If you have any experience dealing with creative people, then you know that people hit their “flow state” at different times. For some people it might be 8:00 am, for others it could be 11:00 pm. This can be difficult for managers to grasp because we've been conditioned to start at 8:00 (get in earlier) and leave at 5:00 (stay later). This creates the perception of hard work but it usually does not work that way. 

TEST IT: You can try a couple of things to test autonomy on your teammates. First, try a work at home day for a couple of your best people. See how this works. You will notice a performance improvement. If you see successes then expand it. Note: Autonomous team members still have to get their work done. You need to make sure the tasks are defined. Just because autonomy exists is NOT an excuse to slack off. You will find the opposite holds true. Autonomy will also build more trust with your people. 

2. The second tenant of self-motivation is mastery – The desire to get continuously better at something that matters. Mastery is tricky because you need to make sure that your team members are in the right seat and doing the right job. If you give me a task to solve a race condition issue in a software routine, I will hate it and fall on my face even if I get to do it at home. On the other hand, if my task is to create a profitable business model for a new widget then I am in my element. Mastery can be a pain in the ass but it is the challenge that is the reward for humans. This is why the most important aspect of mastery is to make sure the people doing the work love what they do. When this happens then engagement is at its highest level. One thing you can do to encourage mastery are to make sure your teammates truly are good at what they are doing.

3. Purpose is the key to moving from C level work to A+ work. The most deeply motivated people who are most productive and satisfied hitch their desires to a cause larger than themselves. Dr. Frankel said it best in his award winning book Man’s Search for Meaning – “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself.” 

If you are a company leader or manager, you need to scout your talent pool and make sure they are in the right positions. The wrong positions absolutely kill purpose. The work and the ends have to have a purpose bigger than the individual. The long term affects will result in prosperity. 

"Drive" by Daniel Pink is a good book that's based on research, but more importantly it jives with common sense. If you are a leader and do not believe in the material then I ask you a simple question:

Will you put yourself in a position without autonomy, mastery and purpose? If you won’t do it yourself then don’t expect others to do it. 

Joe at Success Progress


Friday, 20 July 2012

Upward & Onward

A friend of mine recommended that I read this book. I will say, it provided some very compelling insight. That insight is simply this: Freedom is the reason for our progress. There has been no place in recorded history except the US that has harnessed human energy to foster progress. For 6,000 years humans have suffered from mass hunger, yet in American history, hunger and famine are not problems. The poor in the US today have about the same house hold amenities as the middle class did in the 1950s. 

Dictators operate and control human energy similar to a beehive. Basically, you have the queen bee and all the worker bees creating and sustaining life. With a true Republic, man is free and controls his own human energy. How does this relate to progress? Look at East Germany and West Germany after World War II. When the Cold war ended, the Berlin Wall came down and East Germany found itself 40+ years behind West Germany. 

Centralized power cannot control human energy. Progress will always be stifled. This is why some of the cruelest dictators are at the heart of poverty and famine. You can simply look at Sudan and Somalia for proof. 

"The Mainspring of Human Progress" dives into history and discusses the problems with centralized power over creative freedom. Henry Weaver looks at the past and shows without a doubt that the most productive and innovative periods in history were garnered under a free society. For the sake of time, I'll review three of the main points.

1. Genius thrives on rivalry – If you look at all great victories in the past, you will agree that rivalry is critical for achieving great success. Here are some examples: Seabiscuit and War Admiral. Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. Secretariat and Sham. George Patton and Rommel. This also works in business. Sales is probably the best natural competitive field because there is no second place. You either win or go hungry. 

2. Human Energy flourishes with free will – We cannot force people to do anything. There is a great debate that the Egyptian Pyramids were in fact created with free labor and not slave labor. Historians know that nothing could be created that perfect under slave conditions. The ingenuity that comes out of the U.S. is still the best in the world. People are free to tinker in their garage and work on what they want to solve problems. Free will is the key to innovation. 

3. Ten Commandments – The Ten Commandments are designed to highlight individual responsibility and not centralized responsibility. Without individual responsibility and accountability then there would be anarchy. In philosophy this is known as the difference between self-regarding acts and other regarding acts. Laws exist to set grown rules on other regarding acts. A self-regarding act is when you decide to jump off a cliff. You can die but it is your decision. An other-regarding act is when you push somebody else off that cliff. Other regarding acts need laws and consequences for the actions. 

"The Mainspring of Human Progress" is an interesting book and a look back in history. The main point is human progress flourishes under freedom. 

I appreciate your input. Have a great weekend.



Friday, 13 July 2012

Anonymity, Irrelevance & Immeasurement: Time to Leave

There are several schools of management thought and thousands of books on the subject. Management theory can get pretty deep and technical. That is probably why most of it does not really work. Do you know a lot about your friends personally? How about your employees? I realize that managers try not to know their employees on a personal level because one day they may have to fire them and how do you kill your friend. 

Why is this important to me? 

I am not doing this summary to waste your time. It is my vision to provide concise action steps that you can adopt right now to enhance your life. People spend over 30% of their time on work related tasks. This is time spent away from family, friends and other activities. Gallup shows that 91% of employees are either disengaged or actively disengaged which means that they hate their work. 

Why do something you hate? All work has aspects that you will not like doing. Regardless, hating something that encompasses 30% of your time is really heart breaking and costly. Can this be fixed? The short answer is yes. 

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job spells out three principles that are notoriously simply. The level of simplicity is probably why most organizations do not do it. I will chat about each one. 

1. Anonymity – People cannot be fulfilled in their work if they are not known. Belonging is a core requirement for humans one rung up from safety on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Belonging is so strong that you can parallel this to gang life. Gang members relate to each other and will do anything for another member because their desire to belong is human nature. Managers fear getting close to their employees because they may have to fire them one day. This is really unfortunate and can be fixed. The success of Facebook and social media companies today solidifies this notion that people need to belong. As an effective manager, it is your job to be genuinely interested in your people. There is an old saying in sales that applies here: People don’t care what you know until they know that you care and people buy from people they like. Why would it be any different from an employee / manager standpoint? It isn’t. 

2. Irrelevance – Everybody has a purpose and wants to perform. The goal is to help people become more of what they already are and help them perform for the company. In order to do this, people need to understand how their work is relevant and who depends on them. This is a bit easier to identify if you are customer facing but if you are in the back office then it is harder to see unless your manager points it out to you. Here is an example in our organization. Our software developers have to build great products or we cannot sell and create revenue. If they make bad products then our support staff’s lives become a living hell because customers are unhappy. Development makes a huge impact on customers, service and the company. EVERY position in the company has an effect just as powerful as this one. If we don’t acquire new customers as sales people then it does not matter how good the product is because the company will go out of business. Everyone needs to know that their job matters. It is the manager’s job to bring this out and show it to their direct reports. 

3. Immeasurement – College and professional sports generate billions of dollars per year in revenue. People love sports and love to compete. Would they love it if there was no scoreboard? Would they watch if there was no winner and no loser? Absolutely not! The same holds true for every job in every company. Each person has to have their own scoreboard and they need to be concrete and tied to relevance. This is the secret to great cultures. This is how to build employee engagement. Organizations with engaged employees grow 2.6 times faster than organizations with disengaged employees. You compound that year over year and you have the makings of an outstanding organization with huge competitive advantage. 

There is an excellent book called Plain Talk by Ken Iverson from Nucor Steel. They created a culture like this and literally changed the steel industry. They did not define it this way but the tenants of their actions fall into these three components of eliminating job misery. Patrick hit it out of the park with this book. This is a must read for everybody because you want to work for organizations with this type of culture. The number one reason people leave their jobs is because of their direct supervisor. This book can give you some hints on interviews to make sure you want to work for the company. Don’t set yourself up for misery. 

I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is simplicity works. Focusing on simply behaviors each day will compound into huge results. Don’t let your ego get in the way of building a great company, department or work area. Life is too short being miserable for 30% of it. 

Joe Mosed


Friday, 6 July 2012

Oxycise: The New Exercise?

I was recently in Powell’s book store to purchase a book called "Foundation," which is a great book that I will profile it next. While I was there, I saw this book in the used section and bought it. What intrigued me about it is it's methods of oxygen use. I have been doing oxygen therapy based on the book “Flood Your Body with Oxygen” and it has been beneficial so far. 

Why is this important to me?
I realize there are people out there that hate working out. If this is you, this might be a good alternative. Deep Breathing is beneficial on so many levels for relaxation, meditation and stress relief. Deep breathing magnifies the power of oxygen in the body, including the blood and lymph systems. 

Jill Johnson's "Oxycise" is a book that promotes losing weight through isometric flexing and deep breathing.  

Below, I will answer three essentials: What? Why? How?

1. What is it? Oxycise is a 15 minute routine combining deep breathing and different flexing poses to help you lose weight and tone.

2. Why is it important? There are two things I picked up in this book that hit me right in the face. One, fat is excreted from the body via CO2. I'm sure the doctors in the audience would say that this is obvious but I never thought about it. Also, when you flex, you increase the blood supply there and increase the need for oxygen. So my second point is actually a question- can you spot reduce fat on your body? I have seen several articles saying this is not possible, which very well may be the case. But if we look at simply logic, this routine may help you spot reduce because you are increasing the blood supply say to an area you want to ton and through deep breathing you are exhaling fat through CO2. For those of you that want to spot reduce or get rid of cellulite then this may be something to try. 

3. How does it work? Jill goes through different exercises in the book that are very low impact and perfect for those of you that hate exercising or going to the gym. To see some examples, simply search YouTube or Google for Oxycise and you will be able to follow the routines. 

Oxycise may be something you want to try. I have not tried these specific methods, but I can tell you that I do deep breathing in my daily commute as well as during stretching. The effects are outstanding. I have done the Combat abs routine by Matt Fury which incorporates focused deep breathing to help ignite fat loss and this DOES WORK. 

I hope you have found this short video summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is daily deep breathing. I implore you to do a deep breathing routine each day. The simplest way to do it is when you are driving to work. Try this routine – breath in to a count of 10 (from you belly not your chest), hold your breath for a count of 10 and exhale slowly for a count of 10 and picture your belly button touching your spin as you exhale. Do this ten times for 30 days and you will feel light years better.

Hope you all had a happy 4th! Enjoy the weekend.