What’s the point in winning?

shutterstock_122081617I am competitive.  There I said it and I’d like to enter that confession in the running for “Understatement of the Year”.  Recently, I have been analyzing that truth.  I have always said that I was competitive with a certain amount of pride as if it were an attribute to be sought after, but is it really?  In Hebrews 12:1 Paul says, “…Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” For most of my life I have read that verse and only focused on the word “race”.  If this life is a race, then there will clearly be a winner and then everyone else loses, right?  But what if that was not the keyword; what if the key to the statement was something else entirely.  Nowhere in Paul’s verse does he say, win the race that is marked out for us.  Friends, this where we are going to talk about the Holy 2×4.  In my life, from time to time, God decides to hit me with the Holy 2×4 to wake me up to something He has been trying to teach me that I just missed, sometimes for decades.

So why is winning so important; is competition healthy in the workplace; and how then do we balance the competition, with the pursuit of excellence, with the character of a Saint?  In reality,  I think that is what the verse is really saying.  After meditating on it for a while, I concluded the key takeaway is that you, whoever you are, are in a race; that means it has a beginning, and whether you like it or not, it has an end and our God is more concerned with how you run it than if come in first or last or in the middle. He just wants you to run to best of your “given” ability while loving thy neighbor and working as if you were working for Him.  So in the office or the warehouse or the production floor, how do we harness the competitive nature of so many of our employee and direct it, in a health way, into productivity?   Let’s take a look at a few principals that we believe will make a difference.

Principle 1: Create the Competition

I walked through a manufacturing company the other day as I was preparing to give a shutterstock_181242095presentation on the company’s 401(k).  I saw pictures on a big bulletin board for “Outstanding Employees”.  Displayed here were accolades for their “Employee of the Month”, an award for the employee who caught a mistake in shipping, another award for an employee that refined a process and made it more efficient.  Another company that we work with also highlights an accomplished employee every month and then chooses an “Employee of the Year” who gets a trip to Disney World! These companies created the competition to strategically benefit the employees and the company. This is a brilliant way to motivate and harness the competitive drive in your employees, BUT there are a couple of things that are must-haves in this principle.

  • The rules must clear and definitive: the employees must understand how you win and the variable must be trackable. If this area is vague, you risk your employees accusing the company of playing favorites.   Remember this isn’t a popularity contest.  The winner shouldn’t be the person you like the best but instead, the person who meets the quantifiable goals you set forth at the beginning of the competition.
  • Incentives must be appropriate for the effort required. If you want employees to refine a process that will ultimately save the company thousands of dollars per day and you give them a keychain and pat on the back as a reward, you should expect their effort in finding that solution to be worth about as much as your keychain.  I’m not saying buy them a new car, but know your workforce and choose an incentive that will be meaningful and big enough for them to want to compete.shutterstock_129517958

Principle 2: Build Team Competition

I know this one will not work with every company, but when possible organize all of the teams within your company to compete together. Collaboration is big desire for your millennials, but I think all ages enjoy a good strategy session on how to overcome the competition. Note: When you do this you should be very observant.  In this process you will watch your leaders emerge.  Watch how some people have the ability to align interest and influence their team to moving as one unit.  This can be very helpful in raising up management.

Principle 3: Adopt a Zero Tolerance Policy for Unsportsmanship

I don’t watch a ton of sports but I was at a minor league baseball game in Birmingham recently and one of our home team players was ejected because he took off his helmet and slammed it on the ground.  I questioned the decision and someone I was with informed me that the rule was “no tolerance because the act was dangerous and trashy”.  If you are going to harness healthy competition, the standard of excellence and sportsmanship can never be in question.  If you cheat, you’re done.  If you lie, you’re done.  If you sabotage someone, you’re done. Zero tolerance and swift consequences are necessary, but so are swift praise and good rewards.

Competition can be a great driver but the truth is you, your team, and your company have to know why it’s worth winning. The principles above are important for the process but don’t forget to show employees why you’re competing in the first place.  What difference are you trying to make in the company or even in the community? You have to show people that the race is worth running and then you can guide them through competition to make a difference.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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Millennials in Manufacturing

Attracting Millennials is probably the easy part of this equation, after all we are all looking a job, or at least our parents hope we are. Finding the ones with the talent you need, that will stick around and then engaging them to point of productivity is what takes a bit of finesse. Millennials are the largest and most misunderstood generation and we have seen first-hand the challenges that can arise when trying to connect with this new breed. Focusing on manufacturing, industrial, and construction related businesses, we have seen the challenges that these companies face when it comes getting good talent and keeping it, especially when it comes to the newer generation.   We have identified 12 steps that will help your company get on the right path when it comes to getting the most out of your Millennials.

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calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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Financial Wellness for Your Employees

Employee Financial WellnessFinancial Wellness has come into focus recently as employers have been exposed to the negative side effect of fiscally unhealthy employees. We have seen health and wellness programs around for decades doing such things as giving out pedometers to employees to encourage them to take more steps, offering desks that you can stand at, and even offering discounted gym memberships. Those are all great strategies to improve physical wellness but the burden of financial stress on employees and what that does to their productivity has largely been overlooked.

shutterstock_129454907Financial Wellness is a term used to describe and answer to a cry for help. For many years, companies and financial advising firms have been focused on retirement readiness, but people were trying to tell us we cannot begin to prepare for retirement if we can’t keep our heads above water today! Unfortunately, for a long time those cries fell on deaf ears as the industry went through a period of “plan design tactics” where they would automatic enroll people in their 401(k) plan and even increase their contribution every year automatically. Both auto-enrollment and auto-escalating contribution are usually great ideas but this did not address the real problem or get to the heart of the participant’s pain today.

Financial Wellness programs, at least the good ones, should be focused on educating and encouraging employees to gain financial freedom through processes that are easily implemented and offer some form of personal accountability.   The benefits not only for the employee but also for their employer are staggering. When employers implement these sort of personal finance education, it sends a clear message to the employees:

“You are valuable, you deserve financial freedom, and
we care about your ability to retire successfully. “

For more information on employee education programs including personal financial wellness topics for your employees, contact me. 

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

Follow Caleb on LinkedIn

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Leadership Vocabulary

Increase productivity and employee engagement TODAY by integrating these phrases into your daily vocabulary.   Leaders have to “walk the walk” and “talk the talk“.  Make sure you are talking the right talk.

 

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

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3 Words That Will Make You a Better Leader Today!

3 wordsCould it be that simple? Could there really be 3 words that I don’t have to get a dictionary to understand and that can actually make me a better leader? Well…Yes. It is that simple, but I must warn you these words are powerful and if used correctly will most likely change YOU so be prepared. Now as I reveal this list to you, you must realize that 2 truths: 1) You have to use these words for them to work, and 2) You have to be genuine when you use them. If you can get that, then you will no doubt, be a better leader because of them.

  1. We: Yes, in fact most of these words are short, but we is one of the greatest words a leader can use. A leader recognizes 2 things distinctly – All success comes from their team, and they are a part of their team, not above them. When you as manager or boss start using the word we to describe your success, “Were you able to land that big account, Ted?” “Yes. We were able to show them great value” to describe your challenges “I know you are frustrated, but we can figure this out together” and to describe your vision or mission “We want to change lives by providing them with a strategic path to becoming better leaders”; then people start to feel like they belong. This raises engagement, purpose and tenacity as we as humans (see what I did there) are much more willing to fight for a team that they feel connected with. Using we sends a clear message to everyone on your team, “I am on my way to the top but I’m only going if you come with me!”
  2. Let’s: I know I know this is technically 2 words but keep it down. Let’s, as in ‘Let’s go’, ‘Let’s do this’, ‘Let’s get started’, signals to your team that you are going to be a part of the trial and error, the not-so-fun part of the project as much as you are a part of the completion. Now I know that everyone has distinct roles within a team, but saying something like. “Okay well it looks like we will need to rerun those numbers and get them out by Thursday. Let’s start on that today and review them together on Wednesday. Will you let me know if you need my help on that?” sounds much better than, “Okay well it looks like we need to rerun those numbers and get them out by Thursday. Tim, you get those done and get them to me by Wednesday so I can critique your work.” Simple yet effective.
  3. Will: No not the name and not the estate document, I’m talking about the verb connotating a request. Will you be able to do this by Thursday? Will this be a problem for you? Will you please start working on this pronto? “Will” is a softer deliver. I know that my high D’s on the DISC scale are yelling at me right now. Those are the ones of you that send 1 word emails and want bullet points on everything. You are all saying, “Caleb that stuff is just fluff! Just say what you need to say and get it over with.” News flash! That makes you a boss not a leader. Leaders understand that while they should have a certain level of directness, it also takes a bit of finesse. Starting your request with will gives the feeling of free given effort, which is important to people. It is ultimately important your team has that. There may be consequences if they exercise that freedom to choose not to comply but still they have it and giving them a sense that you are genuinely requesting their assistance is much more palatable than a direct order.

These words or descriptions are not ground breaking or magic, but these three simple words send a clear message to your team that you understand their importance and your role in the team and they are a constant reminder that even as the boss or manager you are still a part of the team. These simple emotions will allow for deeper connections, higher engagement and lead ultimately to raising your leadership lid.

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
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Beyond Engagement

Lots of people and companies are touting the catch-phrase “employee engagement”.  It refers to getting your employees involved and emotionally invested in their job and the company they work for.   Employees being more engaged or driven will obviously mean more productivity and better yet, a greater quality of work.  It makes sense that if someone feels like they are working on something that is an extension of themselves that they will work harder and better.

beI am here to tell you that I want engagement for your employees but I actually I want MORE.  I want the next step beyond that.  I want people to get up and be excited to come to work and want them to feel a sense of fulfillment when they are working that they haven’t ever felt in their lives.  I want your workplace to filled with a new exciting energy. It can happen. I have seen it. I love to be a part of it.

In my best Buzz Lightyear voice, “To Engagement and Beyond!”

calebCaleb Bagwell/Employee Education Specialist
John Maxwell Certified Leadership Coach
Grinkmeyer Leonard Financial
Toll-Free: 866.695.5162 / Office: 205.970.9088
Birmingham: 1950 Stonegate Drive / Suite 275 / Birmingham, AL 35242
Contact Caleb

Follow Caleb on LinkedIn

Follow Caleb’s Blog