Why Healthy Organizations Are More Productive

‘A strong positive culture can enhance employee engagement by 30%, resulting in up to a 19% increase in operating income, and a 28% increase in earnings.’ – PDR Senior Consultant Christine Mikhail.


Are you one of those organizations that have a culture deck no one in the company knows about? Do you even have a company culture deck? Have you ‘borrowed’ another company’s deck and put your logo on it?

I can name a few companies that have actually copied the culture deck of another company…YES.

I still remember what happened in the last company I was working for…

We got all called into a meeting room for a company culture ‘presentation’, when the slides started to roll, something was familiar to me…‘I think I’ve seen this deck before…but with a different logo on it…Ah yes! This is the culture deck of Netflix!”

Netflix’s culture deck went viral a few years ago and it still is. It has over 17M views so far on LinkedIn slideshare. AMAZING! Many companies have taken this deck as inspiration to create theirs…(and some companies just copied it).

On the other side, there are those executives who feel skeptical about the having a company culture defined for their business. They probably think that there’s no need to create a culture document – they’ve employed a few women and bought a pool table, so they’re DONE.

If this is YOU, I invite you to keep reading

Your company culture is NOT just a fancy deck to show around when someone asks.

A strong company culture is built over time and it NEEDS to be reflected by employee behaviour. A GREAT company culture has the power to align your organization’s people, processes, and workplace.

I recently read this quote from the Chief Revenue Officer of a company that was voted the “Best Place to Work” in an employee survey conducted in Kansas (USA). He says this about their culture:

“We will work hard to maintain our company culture of honesty, respect and transparency by embedding our core company values in everything we do” – Paul Hunt

The most important thing about your culture is that you believe in it and your employees believe in it EVEN more. When this is achieved…you have done a great job.

Let’s assume that you have started working on your culture or you’ve seen another company’s culture that you like and want to implement in your organization (hey, you need to start somewhere 😉 )

What do you do NEXT?

Well…this is the hard part: you must implement it and make sure everyone is on the same page.

But…HOW can you do this?

This is when Team Health Checks come into play.

Team Health Checks are based on the principles and values that are a part of your organization’s culture. These principles and values will be the indicators that will help you measure the health of your organization.

As Peter Drucker says…‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’

Running Team Health Checks will give you a clear picture of your company, the areas that need more work and the areas your teams are absolute masters of. A great tool for companies that are looking to implement a continuous improvement culture within their teams.

To sum up, these are the steps you should follow:

  1. Define your culture. Identify your company values, principles and vision. Ideally you should create a presentation and make sure everyone in your company understands every single aspect.
  2. Run regular team health checks. From your company culture, extract a list of indicators that will help you visualize and understand the health of your organization.
  3. Take action. Empowered with the data coming from the health checks, you will be able to identify the areas of improvement and take action where needed.

 

So in CONCLUSION…If you want to BOOST your results and create a company that delivers VALUE to your employees and to the world, you need to wake up to the value of team health checks.

Have you awoken?

Please share your comments

15 Reasons Why Team Health Checks Are Better Than Morning Christmas

Team Health checks are a very hot topic at the moment and this is no coincidence. Companies and businesses are waking up to the importance of team health checks as a way to measure the health of their organization.

In the same way we go to the doctors to get regular health checks, go to the dentist for a check up, or pass the MOT of our car to ensure it won’t break down unexpectedly.

Some companies have started to apply the same principle to their teams.

And…it makes a lot of sense to me!

But what exactly is a Team Health Check?

A Team health check is a qualitative measure based on the team’s assessment of 11 focus areas (i.e. learning, support, trust…) that were chosen as health indicators by the Spotify Health Model.

Those 11 indicators are the ones Spotify identified as the key metrics for their teams BUT each company and each team should identify their own ones depending on their culture, environment, circumstances, project, etc.

I started to do some research and analysed why some of the MOST successful companies run teams health checks.

Here are 15 reasons WHY you should ALSO run regular team health checks at your company:

  1. Employee Retention.
    Team Health Checks provide a safe space for your teams to express their concerns (if any) and create dialog. By doing so your employees feel empowered over the destiny of their projects and feel their impact within the organization, they will feel motivated and committed to their work.
  2. Accountability.
    When employees reflect on the way they work and try to find solutions to improve by themselves, they will consequently take ownership of the work they do. Accountability does not necessarily have bad connotations, on the contrary, it is a source of motivation.
  3. Increased morale and happiness.
    Running Team Health Checks will allow your teams to regularly check on their morale and productivity. The feedback obtained will allow them to
    take action and continuously improve. The team will become self efficient and more productive. A productive team is a happy team.
  4. Loyalty.
    By empowering your teams with the data they need to continuously improve and trusting they will take responsibility for it, your teams will get ownership and will feel highly committed to their projects and consequently to the organization. A company culture that
    commits to its teams work and takes care of their ‘health’ will get the same commitment in return by their employes.
  5. Improved performance.
    Team Health Checks are a way for the teams to check on themselves and understand
    which areas need improvement. This allows the team to take action and continuously improve sprint after sprint.
  6. Productivity.
    As mentioned before – a happy team is a productive team. By implementing Team Health Checks on the culture of your company and establishing a continuous improvement culture to create a healthy organization, your overall productivity will be boosted.
  7. Identify areas of improvement.
    Through the implementation of regular Health Checks in your organization, your teams will be able to
    visualize and focus on the areas that need improvement. It is also important to identify the strengths of the teams and transfer their knowledge across the teams in the organization.
  8. Greater focus.
    Health Checks are very important for the team and the organization to understand
    where to focus their efforts. Each team may have different challenges and it is extremely important to identify these as soon as possible to find solutions, before these issues become threats to the company.
  9. Continuous improvement culture. 
    This is a very popular concept, but how many companies are actually able to say they have a CI culture in place and
    measure the impact? Very few. Running Team Health Checks will allow you to understand the status of your teams and the best practices.
  10. Increased revenue. 
    A healthy organization equals greater profits. Teams are continuously improving and finding
    better ways to work together which leads to innovation.
  11. Identify issues before they become threats.
    Running Health Checks empowers your teams with the data to make the right decisions at the right time. Being able to
    identify the challenges before they threaten the delivery of the project.
  12. Team unity/ bonding.
    Team Health Checks ensure your teams have the time to reflect and discuss with their teammates about their work. This way of working will force the teams to work together towards the same goal. Great unity will come out of this.
  13. Increased communication.
    Teams will regularly reflect on the communication across the team, the department or even the organization. Health Checks help
    set the right tone and provide a way for teams to start conversations to reflect and create value.
  14. Align the business.
    Running Team Health Checks allows the organization to visualize and understand the ‘health’ status of each team. Promoting a culture where
    everyone works towards the same goal: continuously improve and generate greater results.
  15. Greater employee engagement.
    When you trust your teams and give them the responsibility to manage their own work you will see an improvement. Even though many tools have come up in the market addressing employee engagement, there are loads of statistics showing there’s still room for improvement, but maybe because
    it is not all about individuals. It is also about how individuals interact with their teams and how they work together.

So, do you know how well your company is doing? And your teams? Do you have a continuous improvement culture?

Would love to hear your comments!

Why mom was right about Team Health Checks

Last year the start up I was working for went from raising £20M to shutting down in less that 2 years. This is a cliche that has been overused and gives the startup industry a bad name…there’s even a series (<3) called Silicon Valley which illustrates it…


But this article is not about the tech startup phenomenon and how not to burn £20M in 2 years (without releasing a product). That’s another article entirely. What I really want to talk about is how teams play a KEY role in any organization and how taking care of them can MASSIVELY contribute to your success.

At the end of the day, teams are the ones that get the work done and the ones who ultimately make a company a success OR a failure.

There has been a massive interest in employee engagement over the last few years. Companies are learning the importance of taking care of their employees and they are implementing multiple measures to increase their employee retention.

But who is taking care of the teams? Who is making sure those great individuals are happy and productive as a team?


And don’t get me wrong, the power of individuals is unlimited but the interactions and synergies amongst those individuals is what can take a team and consequently a business to the next level.

There have been countless times where I’ve been put in a situation with my team that we were not able to solve, because we were unable to come together and put forward solutions…

We were amazing as individuals, but we were too focused on OURSELVES instead of being able to bring our strengths together and be an even GREATER force.

BUT my the biggest challenge was that no one in the company was able to SEE that we were in trouble, that we were not functioning as a team. All the individual feedback we were providing didn’t flag out that we had issues in the team that made us JUST another team, not the great team we could have been.

We were delivering – YES, but we were not healthy and that was a handicap for the company.

Now, after reading a lot on this topic and sharing my experience with other companies, I have understood the importance of taking care of the team. But what does that mean? And how do you do it?

I started by measuring the happiness of the team first and then over time started tracking other indicators (i.e. teamwork, support, trust…). This method helped me understand the health of the team on a particular project and take action when needed.

My new GOLDEN rule…Track the health of my team on a regular basis to inform the success of my projects.

You know that moms are always right, and in this case, I have the role of your mom telling you to do the housekeeping at your company and make sure your teams are in good health. This will ensure the success of ALL your projects.

So my question to you. Do you know how healthy your teams are? Are you aware of what is the implication of this.

The MVP Health Check

The MVP health check is designed for teams who are working towards creating an MVP.

WHO IS IT FOR?

The MVP Health Check is designed for startups, companies and early stage projects who are at the early stages of building their MVP.

 

WHY?

It’s extremely easy to lose focus and lose track of where you are and where you need to be. In the early days you need to speak to lots of customers and it’s extremely easy to be swayed by every suggestion, comment and feedback that comes your way. The MVP health check has been designed to keep you focussed and clear on your goals to ensure everyone in the team is aligned on the path towards the delivery of your MVP.

 

INDICATORS?

Happiness: How happy have you been this period?

Communication: How would you rate team communication this period?

Delivery: How would you rate product delivery this period?

MVP: Rate how close you are to achieving MVP?

 

FREQUENCY?

Weekly

 

RETROSPECTIVE TEMPLATE?

Health Check Plus

What Are Mastermind Groups?

As a business owner, entrepreneur, manager, or a career person, you may find that you are wanting to take your business and career to greater heights. Perhaps you want to establish yourself as an innovative leader within your industry but are struggling to connect the dots between points A and B.

In this place, it becomes easier to feel alone and overwhelmed. Fortunately, you are not alone. Many people around you in various niches and in your industry are facing that same feeling and desire. As such, a common purpose unites them. They begin to take action in their work environment with outstanding results.

Take Responsibility As A Way To Improve

As you analyze your work environment, you may see a variety of things: a need for fresh ideas and perspectives, stuck in a rut, a lack of mentoring and training (or the training available is not taking you to where you want to go), etc. How can you take action in your work environment?

Deciding to change your work environment may seem daunting and a million thoughts may race through your mind laced with doubt. Yet, change is possible and you can be the facilitator of change in your work environment. If not for your department or business, perhaps for your own career and business growth. As you advance your business or career, the effects of changing your work environment filter through into other areas of your business, inspiring colleagues or encouraging your department to take action in re-evaluating training and mentoring of employees.

The desire to advance in your industry eventually becomes stronger than any doubt. So, you explore your options: training opportunities, networking in the hope of finding that mentor who will give you the advice you are looking for, team building, team meetings, etc.

One area you may wish to explore and that I want to explore with is that of mastermind groups. Mastermind groups are one of the ways that you can take action in your work environment and benefit from personal accountability with your career and business.

What Are Mastermind Groups?

With mastermind groups, you are benefiting from personal accountability for both your personal life and your business. A mastermind group can take your business and professional capacity into leaps and bounds as you learn from other experts in your niche. Together you work towards a similar goal.

Understanding what a mastermind group is, its history and the types of mastermind groups available will help you decide if you want to enroll your business in a mastermind group. Here’s a quick look at the history behind mastermind groups:

History Of Mastermind Groups

The concept of a mastermind group was first pioneered in the 1900s by Napolean Hill with his book, “Think and Grow Rich”. In his book, Hill explained mastermind groups as two or more people working together towards a similar and definitive goal or purpose. As the saying goes two heads are better than one. In fact, Hill claims that where two minds come together a third mind is created albeit a more “intangible force likened to a third mind”. (Greenstreet)

With a mastermind group, the group decides on the agenda for each meeting. With mastermind groups you are in an environment for personal accountability as your peers are able to give you feedback, brainstorm new ideas and possibilities, and create opportunities for personal accountability. As such you are able to take your business to greater heights since you are benefiting from the collaboration of brilliant minds in your niche.

Interestingly, history has been laced with mastermind groups dating back to before Hill pioneered the concept of mastermind groups and after. Ryan Battles gives us a few of these historical mastermind groups:

  • The Junto which was formed by Benjamin Franklin in 1727. It was comprised of twelve members who met regularly to discuss scientific, moral, and political topics.
  • The Inklings came into being around the 1930s and 1940s to discuss unfinished written works of some of history’s greatest authors. These authors included CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein.
  • Nine Old Men was Disney’s mastermind group (1930s to 1970s) responsible for many of the Disney classics loved by animation movie fans. These classics include Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and Cinderella.

(Battles)

Different Types Of Mastermind Groups And Their Purpose

Mastermind groups are formed around almost any topic. What makes a mastermind group is that the group meeting meets the definition above and has clear goals and vision. They can be formed around business, politics, science, personal growth, or inspirational reasons and topics.

However, the key to a mastermind group’s success lies in the participation of each member in the group. A high level of commitment and participation is needed in order to experience the depths of personal accountability provided by these groups.

Given, that mastermind groups and personal accountability can be formed under any given topic or motivation, we can categorize them into two categories:

  • Traditional mastermind groups are those groups that meet face-to-face on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. These groups provide the most effective growth and personal accountability than long-distance relationship because you see each other more regularly and have a stronger support and involvement in your business life. (Sieverkropp,2013).
  • Long-distance mastermind groups also provide personal accountability however they operate more on Google Hangouts, Skype, Facebook groups, etc. This allows people all over the world to benefit from personal accountability, support, growth, and other benefits that mastermind groups provide. The challenge is keeping such a group focused on applying the definition of a mastermind group. (Sieverkropp,2013).

 

Why Should I Join A Mastermind Group?

Besides personal accountability mastermind groups provide you with a myriad of great benefits. These benefits include the following:

  • Personal accountability for forward planning and thinking per meeting that you attend. You will also experience personal accountability for implementing those plans and ideas. (Battles). Most successful growth can be attributed to personal accountability since you know that someone is waiting for you to follow through or is reliant on your follow through of your plans. With personal accountability, you are pushed to deliver and give more of yourself. The result is greater growth in your career, business, and personal life.
  • Networking grows rapidly and exponentially. You get to access the networks of other members and share your own networks. This puts you in touch with other key experts and opens the door for future collaboration and opportunities. (Burns)
  • Opportunities to learn new skills, solutions, and tactics from group members as you share and interact with each other. (Burns). This can also apply to the opportunities that will arise thanks to your growing network. Growth is inevitable in mastermind groups.
  • Constructive feedback from people in your niche who want to see you grow and succeed (Battles). Both you and other group members are able to benefit from sharing expertise and experience and receiving it from each other. (Burns). Although feedback is hard for most of us to give or receive, you’ll benefit more from the personal accountability and growth feedback will bring to your success and business growth. In addition, you may also find yourself gaining experience in giving and receiving constructive feedback which you can integrate into your work environment.
  • Think bigger with mastermind groups as they stretch your boundaries, break down boxes, and challenge you to think beyond your current situation (Burns). You’ll also be challenged to think from different angles thus enhancing your creative thinking.
  • Opportunities to learn new skills, solutions, and tactics from the group members as you share and interact with each other (Burns). The group most probably will create exercises and opportunities to test out new ideas and skills learned each week. Or you may find yourselves working through a workbook based on a specific topic agreed upon by the group to further understanding and knowledge.
  • Further collaboration opportunities present themselves as you get to know other members. Not only do you work together in group activities, brainstorming, and discussion, you may also find someone who fits your latest project endeavors.
  • Exclusive community and support. A mastermind group provides you with a community of like-minded people who can easily become your tribe, a people who understand you, support you, and think similarly to you. In such an exclusive community, personal accountability rises and for some people may be easier since greater levels of trust are established. Many mastermind groups are strict with who comes into the group because they are looking for like-minded people who can commit to high levels of participation and commitment. This provides that exclusive community and high levels of support and personal accountability.

Mastermind groups are responsible for many business owners, entrepreneurs, and career people’s success in business. Find you mastermind group or create your own and reap these benefits and more. Watch your career and business soar thanks to mastermind groups.

Resources:

Battles, Ryan. What Is a Mastermind Group? Ryan Battles. https://ryanbattles.com/post/what-is-a-mastermind-group

Gimmer, Christopher. 2016. How to Start a Mastermind Group: The Definitive Guide. Snappa Blog. https://blog.snappa.io/how-to-start-a-mastermind-group/

Burns, Stephanie. 2013. 7 Reasons to Join a Mastermind Group. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/chicceo/2013/10/21/7-reasons-to-join-a-mastermind-group/#42d3421a17ab

Greenstreet, Karyn. How to Create and Run a Mastermind Group. Passion for Business. http://www.passionforbusiness.com/articles/mastermind-group.htm

Sieverkropp, Mark. 2013. 3 Types of Mastermind Groups. Sieverkropp. http://www.sieverkropp.com/mastermind-group/

The Power Of Feedback

“The most fundamental thing about leadership is to have the humility to continue to get feedback and to try to get better – because your job is to try to help everybody else get better.”  Jim Yong Kim

Feedback And The Workplace

Feedback is a two-way street – you give it and you receive it. With feedback, you are able to access a plethora of ideas and strategies to take your company from point A to point F in less time while establishing yourselves as an innovative leader and business expert.

Today, both the corporate world and consumer world are fast becoming feedback supporters since you can rate almost anything whether it be an Amazon product, Uber driver and passenger, or the customer service in a department store. Feedback is in most of what we do. This is because companies have realized the power of feedback.

With feedback, companies, businesses, and organizations are able to tweak their product or service to become more trusted, excellent and reliable.

The concept of feedback has been around for many years; the application is dynamic as it adapts to the needs and demands of the era. While feedback may have started in the consumer world, it has begun to monopolize the corporate world as more and more companies make use of surveys, feedback apps, performance appraisals, and the like.

The Role Of Feedback In Your Office Environment

Feedback in the office environment is perhaps among the best ways to keep team performance optimized. With feedback, you will be able to know what is working or not working in your office environment. This insight will help you to make the necessary adjustments towards improving job satisfaction, company loyalty, employee efficiency and effectiveness, trust, and much more.

In his article for Forbes, Josh Bersin explains that according to Deloitte University Press’ article Simply Irresistible, employee engagement is affected by a variety of factors including culture, recognition, career progress, quality of management and jobs, etc.

Bersin continues to say that without feedback, employees become suspicious, less productive and a bit nervous. Thus a correlation lies in feedback and employee security. The more feedback in the office environment, the more secure employees become in the organization and their role in the company. Team performance continues to maintain and grow thanks to feedback.

The Two Ways Of Receiving Feedback

Feedback can be given and received in two ways:

  1. Managers give feedback – This is usually in the form of performance appraisals, surveys, and other feedback apps where employee’s behavior, attitude, and overall satisfaction is measured by their managers. Such feedback helps staff discover their strengths and blind spots.  As employees listen to this feedback, they are given the opportunity to take the information given to them and work towards self-improvement and future growth.
  2. Employees give feedback – Employees are often the ones who are being asked to provide the company with feedback in the form of performance appraisals, 360-Degree feedback tests, surveys, etc. The benefits of employee feedback are more significant than we realize. They span into the very heart and success of a company, bringing about those areas that need improvement or giving solutions to dilemmas.

Regardless of whether you are giving feedback or your employee is, feedback is accompanied with listening. The more skilled you are at listening to feedback, the higher the impact of the feedback will have on both you and the employee. Not only will you gain valuable information but you will also show your employees that they are valued, appreciated and heard.

Both managers and employees need to engage in active listening. This means that you remain fully present with your employee throughout the feedback session or any other time that you engage with them. Listen attentively to what they are saying without preplanning your response. Focus on understanding what they are saying from their perspective. Finally, be open minded (Keyser. 2014)

The Benefits Of Feedback

With feedback being the key to corporate success, being able to give and receive feedback is critical whether you are an employee 

or a manager. Although feedback can be uncomfortable at times, the benefits far outweigh the discomfort and people would rather have feedback than none at all.

One of the benefits that apply to both managers and staff pertains to the more feedback that is given by both parties, the more skilled you both will become at giving and receiving feedback. You will learn with each staff member or manager how to phrase your feedback in a style which will be well received and heard. This, in turn, will enhance the following feedback benefits to team performance.

#1 Managers giving feedback

When managers provide their employees with feedback, the benefits are significant. According to Hoffman, these benefits include:

Performance and future growth

When employees receive the feedback they are given a clear indication of their performance and management expectations. As you provide your staff with the necessary feedback, you are going to be giving them information that will encourage them towards personal growth and team effort. The recognition they get for a job well done will also improve their confidence.

Alongside the improvement in performance, you will see and experience an increase in future growth which will lead to increased responsibilities and promotion.

Increased loyalty

Regular feedback from managers will encourage employees towards loyalty to the company or organization. The more they are recognized, appreciated and given room to grow, the more staff become invested in the company. Their success hinges on the company’s success.

Plus, employees appreciate the heart of managers who dedicate themselves to helping others improve and succeed. These are managers that many people want to work for. It also fosters a genuine level of respect and mentorship within the company teams.

Cost effective and increased profits

As new people are added to a company and other staff members are moved into different roles or departments, further training and development are required. In order to minimize the mishaps that may come with finding your feet within your new role, regular feedback will help keep staff on the course. Bottom line, regular feedback helps reduce the cost and possibility of needing to hire replacement staff.

Because feedback promotes employee loyalty, you (as a manager) can rest assured that your clients will continue to experience great customer service and support with the staff that they have built a relationship with. This allows your company’s sales to remain and grow.

#2 Employees giving feedback

The benefits of receiving feedback from your employees may be greater than initially thought. According to Patrick, these benefits include job satisfaction, compliance issues, relational dynamics, performance, and productivity. In each of these benefits, you will see what makes employee feedback irreplaceable in your office environment

Increase employee performance and productivity

Having a high staff turnover in any company results in increased expenses and a strain on resources as you scour the industry for that ideal candidate who will not only work well with your current employees but also add an important skillset to your current team.

Receiving feedback from your employees will give you insight into some of the reasons why your company is experiencing a high staff turnover and how you can shift your current staff to boost productivity.

Office dynamics

Feedback is a great way for managers to understand the office dynamics such as what situations are causing stress or what staff members are experiencing friction in their relationship with each other. Employee feedback will also reveal how managers are treating their employees and if the company vision is being clearly conveyed.

In addition to this, employees experience validation and ownership when they are given the opportunity to express their opinion regarding their office environment and relationships.

Job satisfaction

Let your employees teach you about their experience working for your company. This feedback will help you tailor your training programs, employee benefits, and company procedures to continue to improve and maintain employee job satisfaction.

 

Resources

Hoffman, Janet. 2016. Key Benefits of Effective Feedback. HR Aligned Design.http://hraligneddesign.com/leadership/key-benefits-of-effective-feedback/

Patrick, Monica. The Advantages of Taking Feedback From Employees. Small Business Chron. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-taking-feedback-employees-18036.html

Keyser, John. 2014. Listening Is a Leader’s Most Important Skill. Association for Talent Development. https://www.td.org/Publications/Blogs/Management-Blog/2014/07/Listening-Is-a-Leaders-Most-Important-Skill

Bersin, Josh. 2015. Feedback is the killer app: a new market and management model emerges. Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbersin/2015/08/26/employee-feedback-is-the-killer-app-a-new-market-emerges/3/#12fc074550f9