Combating the three signs

As part of our assignment for attending the Mentor Plus® Consulting Accountants’ RoundTable (CART) meeting last month, Craig Underhill and I read Patrick Lencioni’s book The Three Signs of a Miserable Job. The book, like all Lencioni books, does a great job of using a business fable to make a point. According to Lencioni, the three signs are : “Anonymity: People need to be understood and appreciated by someone in a position of authority; Irrelevance: Everyone needs to know their job matters to someone; Immeasurement: Employees need to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution for themselves.”  The fable shows how one manager can address all three signs.

Geni:  After reading the tale of an ordinary restaurant that goes from sad to successful, what struck me was the connection between numbers and job satisfaction. We spend a lot of time helping our winery customers understand and apply numbers in achieving their goals, but I haven’t thought about the impact of those measurements on employee satisfaction. Maybe I haven’t been paying attention. We have seen tasting room employees blossom when they are able to make a direct connection between their individual actions and overall company objectives.  We have designed training sessions to help leaders work with their teams to create daily, weekly, and sometimes hourly goals. We have seen the resulting spike in sales and profitability when those goals and results are shared. But I’m not sure we’ve considered the positive impact measurements can have on employee morale.  What is that worth to an organization?  How does employee morale influence customer service?

People respond well to measurement – particularly when they have a clear objective and take a role in setting goals, creating measurements, and determining rewards. I’ve seen it work in the KPIs that we use for our firm. What are you measuring and how do you share those measures with your team?

Craig:  Geni makes a good observation about the impact employee morale can have on the success of any organization.  So often we focus on the tried and true numbers and overlook arguably the most important value — our employees’ perspective.  At the end of their day, does each employee know if they’ve been successful?  If not, it is impacting their performance and their attitude. Do your employees look forward to coming back tomorrow?  Imagine if every one of your employees had a positive response to that question.  How different would their interaction with your customers, fellow employees, vendors, and guests be?

Comments (1)

One Response to “Combating the three signs”

  1. Edi Osborne says:

    Imagine how boring games would be without keeping score? Business is a game of strategy and focus.It is supposed to FUN! But it’s not just the score that is important. People perform best when the “rules of play” are explicit and scoring method is clear. Employees (not their fault) are really good at living up to our lack of expectations. Clear expectations can even fail if we have “fuzzy feedback.” It’s the ultimate one-two punch.

    Tell them what you want (exactly).
    Tell them what you don’t want (exactly).
    Then let them set up a system to measure their performance.
    Empower them with authority and resources to improve their work environment. Then stay out of their way. Stand back and start cheering . . .

    Game ON!


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