Supervisors: You Won’t Believe How Easy It Can Be To Build Your Department’s Performance!


July 25, 2014

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Transform Your Group Into A Performance Building Team Through Friendly Competition, Peer Pressure and Mutual Support.

Are your people working as individual contributors in a production-focused function? Sometimes people find it increasingly difficult to motivate themselves over time to perform at their very best, in environments where the work they do is repetitive and similar from day to day. This can happen in both office and manufacturing departments.

good breakout session bing free to use and shareBy building a team environment you can enable them to build mutually supportive work relationships, re-energize themselves and one-another, and build performance. Use a variety of approaches over time. Following is a 3-step team strategy you might want to use.


Team Game Plan

Resources Needed:

  • Whiteboard
  • Flipchart
  • Markers
  • Time ear-marked for two 5-10 minute team gatherings per day, in an area not disrupted by noise or interruptions
  • A manual or automated method to collect performance data; ideally, data will be available real-time, or at least daily.

3 Steps:

1. Plan the day.  Gather your people together10 minute discussion at the start of their workday.

  • Communicate the day’s production goals (Put the goal on the Whiteboard)
  • Facilitate a group discussion about the goals, to anticipate obstacles and develop solutions and preventive actions.  Record anticipated issues and action items on the Flip-chart.  Involve your team members in the discussion and in recording the information on the flipcharts.

2.  Review progress. Pull your group together to update them on progress, sharing data on performance against the goal.

  • The team’s performance data (not individual performance) should be included with the goals on the whiteboard.  Ideally, you’ll do this mid-workday, discussing that day’s performance.
  • However, if your data for that day is not available due to system limitations, you may need to schedule your progress update at a different time.  In either case, a mid-day update will enable you to hold a follow up discussion on the earlier anticipated obstacles and the action items — re-energizing and renewing team-focus on the day’s plan.
  • Keep the meeting fast-paced, discussing issues and actions, not blame or side-issues.
  • Provide each team member with a handout including his own individual performance as well as the team’s performance as the meeting ends.

3. Establish a Winners’ Circle.  Make sure you communicate about this in advance, i.e. during goal-setting, explaining how people will be selected for inclusion in the circle.  Typically, people join the day’s Winner’s Circle as a result of meeting individual performance goals for the day.  Use a whiteboard and keep a daily, a weekly, monthly and calendar-year record. Keep these visible to the group continuously.

  • Put individual names into the circle based on factual performance data.
  • Set goals to grow the numbers of people in the Winners’ Circle.  As each of these goals is met, raise the goal, with the outcome of eventually achieving 100% of team membership in the Winners’ Circle.  Reward the entire team with small gift cards as they achieve these goals.
  • This will encourage people to help one another to improve performance.  It will also generate an element of peer pressure to perform.  Provide individuals with training as needs are identified by the individuals or by you as supervisor, ensuring it is done as a developmental activity vs. as a punitive action.


What are some other ways to help engage people and bring out their best performance and team spirit?


The Truth About Trust, Engagement And Organization Performance


???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????As managers in today’s organizations,during an economic recovery that is challenging even to the world’s top 1% of businesses, our primary concerns are about building business performance and growing. The fact is, the top 1%, including Fortune 500 companies, are not necessarily the models of successful leadership that we might emulate, since many of them have been recipients of government interventions designed to support them financially: aid totaling $63 billion dollars in government subsidies funded by taxpayers during the past two decades – according to a February 26, 2014 article, “Fortune 500 Companies Receive $63 Billion In Subsidies” by David Siroto on This surprising-to-me statistic aside, it is incumbent on us as business leaders to create paths to successful achievement of high performance and growth, despite the challenges we face.Our solutions must be found by looking within our organizations, since business performance and growth are in the hands of our workforce. According to the S&P 500, today’s businesses are primarily valued based on their intangibles, including assets such as intellectual capital, talent, and leadership’s ability to execute the strategy. Engaging our people, developing them, leveraging their skills, knowledge and experience, and retaining them — are the recognized keys to our success. In recent years we’ve learned that Employee Engagement is primary in driving performance. Fortunately, we have lots of knowledge and many experts on engagement to guide us — but, as with other strategic objectives, our challenges lay in the execution much more than in developing the plans.

Analyzing engagement, we can see that Trust is the essential foundation. How do we develop trust? Many would say that we build trust by being honest and by doing what we say we’ll do. But, when you think about it, there’s more to trust than that, isn’t there? I trust people who care about my well-being; who value me and my work and who I can count on to help me to succeed. Do you use similar criteria (and more) in deciding who you’ll trust? On reflection, in the past decade, leaders and managers have been faced with challenges we’ve never before encountered. Leaders have made difficult business decisions with hard trade-offs that impacted the employment of millions of people. People have been downsized, work schedules were reduced with pay reduced accordingly, salaries were frozen, and managers’ focus shifted from people-leadership to tasks, goals, efficiencies, metrics and measures. Training and development budgets were cut, rewards and recognition diminished, and jobs were eliminated by management choices to off-shore them. Looking back, it’s not surprising that the over-riding message received by employees from these collective actions in recent years is actually counter to any message of caring about our people. Trust has been lost. But now, more than ever, leaders and managers need their workforces to improve business performance.

Interestingly, decades ago, multi-year studies by Elton Mayo and Nathaniel Hawthorne that involved changing lighting in a Western Electric plant resulted in a conclusive result that became well known as The Hawthorne Effect. The Hawthorne Effect is described as increased performance resulting when management shows that they care about their people. This early research discovery fits with today’s knowledge about the impact of Employee Engagement levels on organizational performance. Indeed, managers showing they care about their people and people’s performance are inter-connected.

Today’s leaders are reading articles and books about engagement, strategy and execution regularly. By integrating these ideas and assessing our organizations, we gain insights and solutions can be crafted and tailored to fit our business needs. I am convinced that Employee Engagement needs to become a priority within the business strategy. Then, organizational leadership, systems, policies and practices must be aligned with the strategy. And, like other business strategies, it’s execution that needs executive level attention and support.

Showing employees that leaders and managers care about them is critical to building Trust, which is the foundation for Engagement. Engagement is the driver of business performance improvement and growth.

Following are 5 targeted tactics managers can include in initial action plans to build organization performance and growth, through a strategy of Employee Engagement, starting with Trust.

  • Providing broadened, company-paid, proactive wellness programs that do not require employee disclosure of related personal information. For example, on-site fitness centers or reimbursement for memberships conveniently located for employees; cafeterias serving affordable, healthy foods; child day-care options reducing related stress and expense
  • Designing safety initiatives that support employee well-being. For example, a manufacturing organization might, well in advance of summer, set up a team including employees and managers to locate water and other beverages enabling quick and easy access to all employees, to ensure people are able to remain hydrated during the hot working conditions we know will come in the months ahead; providing safety coaches who walk the floor to provide helpful coaching or reminders to employees in safe lifting, proper use of PPE and other safe practices
  • Making time to follow annual performance planning with regular, frequent, and supportive (individual and team) feedback and discussions
  • Sharing information that enables employees to find meaning and purpose in their work. For example, managers might find various, interesting ways to educate employees about the business strategy, so that each employee understands clearly how he contributes to delivering on the company’s differentiation through the work he does and how he does it on a daily basis; sharing information about competitors, customers and the use of the company’s products and services.
  • Solicitation of employee input on changes that impact their work, prior to change decisions; including employees in monitoring change initiatives to obtain and utilize their feedback throughout implementation.

To drive strategic performance such as this, managers are usually good at setting goals and developing action plans to execute the strategy. And, some organizations use systematic approaches to monitor and measure execution. Participation by senior leaders and/or support from the right consultants can be invaluable in turbulent times such as these, when managers are pulled in many directions due to pressing operational demands for their time.

Is your organization taking action to improve organization performance? Is engagement a priority component of your company’s business strategy? What is working? Please share your ideas, opinions, knowledge and experience.

Re-printed from LinkedIn on June 26,  2014