Old school tangibles versus new school intangibles for motivating and connecting employees.

 

 

FOr tangible

by
Mike Phibbs

I recently read an old school book on leadership. To paraphrase a few lines, the organizations benefit packages are a key driver of motivation. The supervisor can’t influence those benefits but he or she can find out the costs of those benefits and tell the employee how much the organization is paying to keep them healthy and on the job. Because the employee received a high dollar benefit package they will be motivated. Well, welcome back to 1950’s thinking!

Let me illustrate how outdated this view is in comparison to today’s workers who value their “fit” within an organization. A potential employee interviews with the HR Director of an organization. The candidate asks about the organizations culture and how much it does for the community. The director responds that the organization has a great benefit package, which includes medical, life insurance and a 401K plan. The candidate tells the director that he saw that on the website, but wants to know how the employees are valued, and their interests to help out in the community are supported. The director responds back that they spend a lot of money per person on the benefit package. Again, the candidate responds back again that it is not about the co-pay, but rather the feel of the company he is interested in hearing. The director again, explains they give a great benefit package and people are motivated to work there to get those benefits. Community efforts are lauded, but the business of this organization is to make money. Here people are motivated by the money and great working conditions rather than touchy-feely outreach programs. At this point, the conversation is over and the candidate knows that he will not fit in with this type of thinking.

If you have to bribe people to work at your organization with expensive benefits then you have a problem. What happens if the benefit packages have to be reduced because of a downturn in the economy? That’s why you never rely on tangible benefits to motivate people. Rather, you highlight the intangibles. If the overall “feel” is right then the candidate will be more interested in the job and be more motivated as an employee. The emotional connections to tie people to the organization are the true drives of engagement and motivation.

It is the intangibles of the work and organization that attract, engage, retain, and motivate employees. From the outset, they want to know what it will feel like to work in a company. How are the employees treated? Even in assembly line style work employees can be extremely motivated and loyal to the organization. From the outset, you have to answer the question, “Are the employees treated as valued employees who every effort benefits the entire organization?” In turn, they will feel motivated if the intrinsic benefits exist for belonging to a high performance culture; where, excellence it not only expected from all employees, but freely given.

It all starts on how well the organization brands its self as a work destination for people who want to set down roots and are willing to work. When they are “welcomed” to the organization each new employee understands that they are a valued part of the team. Team leaders understand when someone is new to an organization they are nervous and need reassurance. During training, they meet everyone and are paired with a person of likeminded personality to help conduct the training and answer questions. Once trained and on the floor, the supervisors continue to build the team and integrate the person into the overall success of the organization. It is the intangibles of working for a leader, and being a part of a team, that motivates people. Benefit packages are important, but no one has ever been motivated to do anything more than what is required because they were told how much a company spend on their benefits. Employees who are intrinsically motivated be the organization, what it does, the internal community, and the right “feel” will fight to ensure the company is strong and profitable. The old school thinking that tangible motivate should be in a text book on bad management. Reading how to use intangibles of the organization to motivate employees is the future, and should be read by every leader trying to make a difference in their organization.

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Setting correct priorities makes the difference between mere survival and success.

by

Mike Phibbs

Imagine being dropped off in the woods with only a knife and some rope for your survival. The hours are counting down and you are on the clock to darkness. What are you going to do? Most people will sit down and cry, thinking they are going to die, and they may be right. What are your priorities? What must you do to survive? These same scenarios play out in the business world every day. Let’s see how lessons from survival experts Les Stroud, Dave Canterbury and Cody Lundin can save your life in the deep woods or the concrete forest of your town.

Let’s face it, people watch the survival shows because we admire people who can go out into the woods, desert, or ocean and survive on the bare basics that nature has to offer. Even “preppers” go out and buy supplies and store them up. After many months or living off their bought products they too will be at the mercy of nature. Truth be told, we can all survive like Les, Cody, and Dave. It is in our genetic code and in Asia, Africa, and South America many people still live a primitive life style. We, in our modern age, simply don’t have to live that way and most don’t choose too, until fate forces us to relinquish living like a spoiled 5 year old and get back to basics. Even in the modern day world, many independent entrepreneurs and companies fail because they choose to skip the primitive business basics and never create the foundation of success and move forward and instead focus on the end product and work their way backwards.

Let’s observe the success of the “Wild Man of the Woods” Les Stroud and his three keys to survival. On his show, Les works alone, like the lone entrepreneur responsible only for his own safety and survival. When he is paired up with someone else he is an exacting task master that requires absolute perfection from his partner(s). In reality, he also participates in Eco-Challenges and other adventure racing events where team work is required; however, his teams operate at a higher level than most. When Les is dropped off in the uninhabited backlands he has clear priorities: Shelter, fire and then water. First, protect yourself from the outside elements. If the environment disables you then you are dead. Likewise in business, the lone entrepreneur only has himself to seek guidance and find shelter from his or her competitors. For many in business, the basic shelter is a well thought out idea that sets you apart from your competition. Why are you better than anyone else?
Next, Les builds fire to warm himself up and create the first foundation for success that helps create the motivation and drive to survive. For thousands of years the quest for fire went unanswered. Most people today can’t build a fire out of a stick, spool of yarn, and scrapings from a tree. Yet, Les in a poof and wave of his hand seemingly at the wave of a hand creates in fire. He must live, and pay attention to, the moment. Daydreaming and focusing on the future diverts attention from what he is trying to accomplish right now; your shelter may collapse or fire go out. Likewise, the single entrepreneur must also experience the first success that builds the foundation for success. A well thought out business plan that doesn’t simply state the strategy is to succeed, but spells out what success actually looks like and the steps vividly showing every action steps needed from conceptualization to the fulfillment of the endeavor.

Third, Les then works on finding water. It’s crucial to his survival but is third on the list. Why? Because, he can survive a few days without water, while death comes quickly without shelter and fire. He is willing to drink water, or purified urine, that most people gag at the thought of consuming. The question becomes, what are you willing to do to survive? For the single entrepreneur, are you placing the priorities for your survival as a company in the right order? What you are doing may be crucial but not critically important for you to get through the day. Do not go down the path of thinking of your success, and forgetting to live in the moment, before you have ensured your foundation has been set?

Now, think about two highly successful people, such as Dave Canterbury and Dave Lundin, coming together and being forced to resolve differences in order to not only succeed but survive. Like seasoned business partners they have the talent and drive to succeed. The difference between Les and them is they have to work together and resolve their difference in order to be successful. Both come from different backgrounds and possessed their own unique stories before they collaborated on Dual Survival. They use confrontation not as a means to overwhelm the other, but as a vehicle to communicate differing perspectives on the situation at hand. Through confrontation comes collaboration of effort and focused energy. Together, they can rationalize the situation, and develop a better method of attack, to ensure the highest probability of survival and success. Likewise, when you have a business, or a significant other, effective communication of observations, perspective, and ideas is crucial for your success together. You may be extremely passionate and experienced as individuals, but when you come together with a set goal, like survival, your reliance on each other becomes compounded. By actively listening to the other person’s point of view you can gain insight into your own ideas and maybe determine a better way to handle the situation. Build upon your past individual successes to create the pathways to future success. By having an active partner, you are not alone and don’t have to make all of the decisions. Share the burden and create synergy which leads to your survival and success.

Paying attention to what you are doing in this very moment is crucial to your own survival. Success is a byproduct of your conceptualization and implementation of priorities. Even the best plans and intentions do not succeed. To increase the mere chance of survival, while not even guaranteeing success, solid foundations and tactics must be built and created. Then the environment determines if you will survive. Whether you are out alone in the wilderness, or in a forest made of concrete and skyscrapers, for survival you have to ensure that priorities are sound and in the correct order to provide the greatest probability of success. Do not go blindly into an endeavor and hope for the best. Create the conditions that favor not only your survival but your success. After you get the basics down and a solid foundation for your business, or personal life set, you can begin to be creative and reach the success you imagined.

Sage advice from a true American success story.

American Dream

by

Mike Phibbs

 

“In America, you can have anything you want if you are intelligent and have courage.”  ~ Reza

 

I want to be a millionaire and so do many of you. Three sage questions arise when we admit that we want to be millionaires. First, how do we get the money? Second, what will we have to give up getting the money? Third, will money truly make us successful and happy?

I met Reza many years ago while visiting Miami with my wife. We met through a chance encounter and have been friends ever since. He is the model of the self-made American success story. As a group, driving through Miami, Reza’s phone wrong, it was a business deal in the final stages of negotiations. Reza told the guy on the other end of the line that 20 was the final offer. He continued by telling the other party if he kept trying to push the number lower then Reza was going to start climbing again. I thought they were talking about thousands of dollars. I was wrong, very wrong. I was shocked when Reza told the caller that he was going to ask my opinion. Not knowing the game I aloud, “make it 25 or nothing.” I could hear the guy on the other end choke a little and then agree to the 20. When I learned it was millions and not thousands of dollars I instantly knew I was not in Kansas anymore.

The story of the deal was interesting, but the man behind the deal is far more interesting than can be posted in a blog. We have all met those people, larger than life and with the personality to bring any room to life. Reza came to America in 1979, a week before the Iranian hostage situation began. Reza was born in Iran and left to come to American and make a better life. He brought just enough money to get to New York and buy a bus ticket to somewhere else. He could only say “Florida” in English, so he bought a ticket to Florida. Before he left the station the American Embassy fell. People were outraged and someone had to pay for the American humiliation. It was Reza. He was constantly being assaulted by people on his trip to Miami. Only one person helped him out, the bus driver. The driver tried to protect him and ensure he got to his destination alive.  Even the police turned a blind eye to the assaults. People seem to find this behavior acceptable when their country has been humiliated, the President is ineffective, and the citizens are scared. We are shocked when we see such behavior in other countries and ignore it in our own.

Reza has a charming personality, but he has something else:  A drive to succeed. He worked odd jobs and ended up working at a gas station. Unknowingly, fortune was about to show its face. One day a friend who owned a limousine business mentioned to Reza that he had too many jobs that night and not enough chauffer’s. Reza took the chance and asked if he could take one of the shifts. History is made during these types of serendipitous encounters and this was the case. Thus the rise of Reza began. He continued to work the gas station during the day and drove at night. He eventually bought his own limousine company and made customer loyalty and service the hallmarks of the company’s success.  He could have sat back running a lucrative business and been regarded as successful. But no, he continued to branch out into different areas and continued to make the South Florida financial empire he has today.

One night, while eating dinner at a restaurant overlooking the water with the Miami skyline in the background, Reza put his fork down and pointed out into the bay. He looked back and said, “Look at the billions of dollars out there. Why don’t you have any of it?” I replied that I didn’t have anyone rich enough to knock off. He then spoke the sage words that I use in seminars today, “In America anyone can be as successful as they want if they are intelligent and have courage.” He is completely right. Many people don’t have the intellectual acumen to develop a product idea which people will want to spend money on. More likely, in America has lost the will or courage that brought our forefathers here in boats that would be illegal by today’s Coast Guard standards. We have lost the desire to do what it takes to make a better life. Most Americans are not willing to risk what they have to fulfill the possibilities that America presents.

Does this mean you have to be a millionaire to be successful? If you want to be on the Discovery, TLC or Bravo Channels then yes, yes you do. But in the world of reality, success is something that is enjoyable, fulfilling and builds self-worth. For Reza the money is a by-product of enjoying the running of successful companies. He enjoys providing services and money is just a score card to gauge his own success. The companies he owns are centered on making both his clients and employees equally happy. He knows when you are happy at what you do then it is not a job or a profession, it is something deeper with more meaning.

If you are miserable at your job and have a desire to do something else then ask yourself three questions:

  • Am I an intelligent person who can research my own idea?
  • Do I have the courage to take the actions necessary to fulfill my life’s calling?
  • How happy will I be when I am in charge of my own destiny?

Only you can answer these questions. The answers are scary for most people. But when in doubt remember Reza. He came to a strange land with nothing, not even knowing the language. He became a proud American citizen and through intelligence and courage he became an American success. Put down the fork and look out the window. What is stopping you from living the American dream? Reza lives it and so can you.

Create success through Evidence Based Leadership techniques.

EBL

By

Mike Phibbs

Everyone has read a book with “Leadership” somewhere in the title. Why, we all want to become leaders that inspire and sought after for our sage advice. So, we go to the local book store and find a book that explains how Company A transformed itself from an average company to an extraordinary icon in its industry. Once you begin to read the plethora of books you realize two critical ideas. First, most books are more about management then leadership. Second, the ideas may be great for that specific organization but will not work for yours. However, there are two easy solutions for wading through the sea of books and learning how to truly transform you into a highly effective leader. To begin, you must understand the true nature of leadership and then look for Evidence Based Leadership training that provides a high-octane boost and will accelerate your leadership potential well past the next level.

First, understand that leadership and management are systematically opposed. People like to disguise management training as leadership training since it is cool to be a leader and a drag to be a manager. The overall concept is as simple as leaders lead and managers manage. True understanding of leadership requires a deeper understanding than that simple statement. Leadership is about transformation through the creation of a greater vision for the future and in-depth understanding of people to guide and motivate people. Leaders possess the ability to create the end goal vision for their organizations. They readily read the tea leaves and anticipate where the road blocks are, and how to navigate around them. They understand how to overcome organizational inertia that resists change and can prevent average leaders from creating an impact. Effective leaders have the capability to transform their organizations and take them to the next level. Extraordinary leaders transcend these bounds and create legendary organizations.

Management is about putting parameters on organizations. They develop and follow rules and regulations and keep score. They are the traffic cops that keep the organization moving along at a specified pace. Managers put the brakes on organizational change until ideas are clearly vetted. I am not saying managers are bad people. Managers are the yin to the leadership yang. They develop the strategies that keep organizations going day-to-day. Without managers a high-octane leadership driven organization will wander from one vision to the next, but it will make great time. Management trims the sails and ensures check points are developed and targets are met. Another analogy says leaders want to expand the balloon. Managers want to have rules limiting how fast it expands and requires constant pressure testing to ensure the balloon does not pop.
Now, are people born with innate leadership capacity? Have you ever read in the newspaper, “A great leader was born today at General Hospital” or hear in the hospital hallway, “That baby has great management potential.” Some people do seem to inherit innate leadership skills, but they are still limited. Some possess exceptional leadership skills that work in one industry, but they may flop in another. There is light at the end of the tunnel for struggling leaders: Evidence Based Leadership.

Evidence Based Leadership is a compilation of proven techniques that work in any organization, or profession. At first, I too was reluctant to believe there is a one size fits all solution to leadership problems. However, after I read the key principles and concepts I found they are right on point. I read the concepts and was reminded how it worked in another organization. The Evidence Based Leadership skills are based on facts of which leadership interventions works and which ones don’t. Your next book on leadership should be on Evidence Based Leadership. Then you can read other books on successful leadership and suddenly realized they took the long road to success. By understanding the differences between leadership and management and the principles of Evidence Based Leadership you are on the express route to being an exceptional leader.

Lessons learned through snowball fights to take out your competition.

Snowball fight

by

Mike Phibbs

With the onset of winter snow storms throughout the country it seems like a good time to relate throwing snow balls to beating your competition. Any senior business executive should reminisce to their youth and remember the life lessons learned while pounding their competition with snowballs.

Clearly knowing and understanding the capabilities of your product and services is as important as knowing what type of snow is on the ground.  If you take a wide open look at the scene you miss the opportunities and threats therein. Your product has to be right just as the snow must be right in order to make a snowball. Too little humidity when the snow was formed and the flakes don’t stick together. They simply fall apart. It is the right balance of temperature, water vapor, and humidity that create the right conditions for the perfect snowball to nail your enemy. Likewise, your product must be in the right market, price point, and fill a need that your completion can’t that sets you apart.

Now, you pack your snow together and form a nice snowball. Do you want to focus on quantity or quality? How much time do you have to strike?  What are your competitors vulnerabilities? Where do you need to hit them to take them out? Can a surgical snowball strike to the job or a mass attack be required? If you have many targets and want to dominate your competition you may want to go for quantity and overwhelm them with shock-and-awe. However, if you have a specific target, a niche, then you want to go for a quality snowball. You want them to be rocked by the impact of the snowball. Also, if you have a niche market, you want to beat your competition with a quality product that they cannot compete with. If you have time to assemble a vast array of snowballs you can go for quantity and quality, but most do not have that luxury. Make up your mind early and build your business, and snow balls, around most effective projectile you can afford at the right place and time and quality that meets your needs.

Don’t throw your snow balls directly at your competition. If you through your snow ball straight at them, plan to run away fast because you will have failed miserably. Your competition is not standing still and you have to anticipate where they will be when your snow ball product strikes. You must learn how to lead the target. Understand the weather, also known as market conditions, to see which way the wind is blowing. Will the wind move your snow ball faster, slower or side-to-side of your target?  Adjust your aim and determine if a nice lob or high pitch shot to the body will be best. If you took the quantity route then you have extra snowballs that can miss and still amass maximum destruction on your competition. If you went the quality route you must use precision. You only have a limited number of shots, but when they hit target they are sure to have a knockout blow. If you fail then prepare to pull the snow out from the back of your jacket and hoodie.

Today every organization is trying to make the knockout blow to their competition. By remembering the basic survival skills we all learned throwing snow balls at our neighborhood competition we relearn the basic skills to take out our competition of today. For more in-depth ideas go through snow balls at your neighbors kids and the instinct to survive will instantly re-appear.

Linking your present, past and future through the symbol 8

Past Present Future. revised jpg
by

Mike Phibbs

I have never met anyone who didn’t want to make a difference with their lives. No impact at all, just coast through to the end. But what is stopping 2 billion people from having an amazing life and impacting everyone else to greater good? Many make excuses. Others simply say, “Life is too hard”. A small group will explain that they didn’t have the power to make changes; other people have all the power. So, are you also powerless? Did I mention excuses? To tap into your power and ability to change your life, your business, or anything else lets introduce you to the number 8 where your past and future merge into your present.

The number 8 represents the unfolding of your life in the present, past and future. Everything is congruent through two never ending circles with the only connection being the present. The bottom circle is your past from which you cannot hide. The top circle is your future which you have the power to influence every second of the day through thought, feeling, perspective values, and the processes used to bundle it all together to become: You.

When you understand the power and reality of the figure 8 you begin to understand how much control you do have over you own life and destiny. No more excuses; success and abundance or the continuation of your present life is in your own hands to shape and enjoy. Excuses begin when common wisdom that you have no control over the future is exacerbated by the ignorance that the past is always longer than the future. Through quantum physics we know that the past and future are different perspectives of the same thing. The figure 8 represents the unfurling of the eternal universe onto itself.

When you were a child the past loop appeared small and the future loop enormous. As you grew the past loop grew bigger and the future loop smaller. Truth is, the top and bottom loop are always exactly the same. They grow in proportion to each other as you grow and experience the universe. The future never exceeds the past. Well, let’s take a deeper look at the idea and change your perspectives for the better. You are linked to your past. Even your first seconds of life are still apart of the loop. As you move along the loop is every second you lived and what you did with it, lessons learned, passions, excuses, all coming together to converge at your present. You future starts with your present and moves forward. As you read this line you have added to your past, and anything you learn in the article adds to the potential of your future. You future is bases on your past and where you intended to go. It loops back around to your present. You decide how fast the 8 will expand. If you sit idle the 8 expands slowly. If you take control of you future, by adding new experiences to your present, and as they are experienced they go to your past, and then you are setting new experiences up for your future. Your 8 expands every quicker because you continually stoking the fuel of the universe. So how do you tap into the power of 8?

Start looking at the number 8 as equal halves. One side is not larger than the other. When one side expands the other will equally. If you are stuck in a rut your 8 is probably not expanding very much. When you see people flamboyantly enjoying their lives their 8 is rapidly expanding to accommodate their past and potential formations of their future. Let the universe expand by changing your thinking and trying new things out. Eat something different next time you are out. When you go to the book store get a different book than you normally wood. Whenever you try something new you build upon your past and your future equally. If you didn’t like something then the future will respond and he experience will not be offered again. When you look at your past, if you found taking on new experiences and challenges was exciting, fulfilling, or important to you development you will try to have similar experiences then your future. With this in mind, other similar experiences will come along as well. If you want a variety of experiences in your future then you must make an equal number of experiences to be a part of your past. Clearly, you can see how trying new ideas, thoughts, and activities, provides the blue print for your future. The key is present in the now to take advantage of the potential that the future provides to you.

If you want to take the concept even future simply fold the 8 in half. Then you see how the past and present are one through your perspective of the present. In order to make an impact on your own life and those around you simply tap into the power of the 8. Remember, if you want to make and impact you must first expand your future through expanding your past by actively living in the present.

“He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is wise”
-Lao Tsu

Build your public safety organization’s brand through social media.

How can social media help build your agencies brand?   Organizational branding is a new concept for public safety.  Every organization had a brand which encompasses more than its reputation. The organizations brand represents everything it values and how it operates.  In your mind, picture the Texas Rangers, Virginia State Police, FBI and images automatically come to mind. The image may, or may not, be an accurate representation of the organization.  Your organizations brand brings words to describe how your citizens see and feel about your officers and organization.  Therefore, it is an accurate statement to say: You control your organizations’ brand, or you are relinquishing control to someone else.  Social media can help you take ownership of your organization’s brand and increase your overall effectiveness and employee engagement.

To have an effective social media branding campaign your organization must be completely transparent. If your organization is misleading on how it operates or what it values, the negative impact can be insurmountable damaging.  By being honest, a “This is who we are, warts and all” attitude, you can make the connections that develop an effective brand. The conversation started during your organization’s social media branding campaign can help shed light on areas that you need to strengthen or change.  If your past had been difficult, but you made major changes, social media is a great platform to get your message out.

Now, let’s examine how social media can impact your brand in just two areas. As just mentioned, the first area is getting your message out.  Before you can build your brand and share it through social media, you must truly know what your organization values.  Does your agency focus on highway law enforcement, strict enforcement of laws over solving problems, community policing, zone policing, sector policing, or another traditional  style?  There are many more styles; however, each one of those listed has their own unique attributes.  What works well in one community may not work well in another.  When the style of policing fits the needs of the community, agency, and officers, a synergistic connection is created that improves the lives of all.

Congratulations.  You created synergy, but does anyone outside of your region of the world know about your success?  An active social media campaign can take you to the second level of organizational branding.  Your website is your brochure to the world.  Facebook, Twitter, and the others Social Media sites are your connectors that get your message out to your customers, also known as citizens, and the rest of the world.  As your message goes out, you receive information from others back through the same Social Media pipeline. You may receive questions on the success of a particular program, or suggestions to make improvements.   New South Wales Eye Watch Facebook program has been a great success and help build the organizations brand for outside the box thinking.

The second way an active social media branding campaign impacts your organization is who you attract, retain, and repel for employment.  A study completed in 2010 revealed that 30% of public safety officers did not know a significant amount of the host organizations culture before being hired.  Imagine the impact on engagement of a person who up-roots their family and moves several hundred miles to join your organization, only to find that the organization’s culture does not match their expectations or desires.  The new employee’s engagement levels will drop immediately.  Social media can prevent this by creating a realistic job preview of your organization.  This will help ensure prospective employees have as much information about your organization as possible before applying.  The statement has been made, “If we put the information on the web then no one will apply.” This is more of statement about the host organization than the impact of social media.  Your organization may not be socially connected however, the officers are and they talk around the world.  Not telling applicants up front about the culture has a significant impact on employee engagement, as well as fiscal impact on the community when officers give up and only perform the necessary requirements to keep their job.  By not being honest, your organization builds an international brand as a place to avoid.  Proactive organizations build a brand by being introspective and transparent creating a positive international image and become employer of choice.

It is imperative for an organization attempting to get its organizational brand out to strategically use Social Media to connect to its customers, employees, and prospective employees around the world.  The brand is more than the reputation; it is a summation of what the organization values and foundation it rests upon.  Social media makes the connections and creates the synergy that will allow your organization to continue to build on its success.