Making the Right Small Changes Can Inspire Passionate
By Jay Forte
more closely an employee is connected to his role (he likes what he
does) and the more personally the employee is connected to his
manager (has a strong relationship) the better he performs. These
“connections” are the power behind all millennial performance.
service is king; service events are passionate or connective events.
The more passionate a customer is about a brand, product or company,
the more he buys. The more passionate an employee is about his work
and his manager, the better he performs. Feeling connected is the
key to igniting passion; by looking at connections we see how to
make the right management changes to drive performance and results.
industrial age ended as much of manufacturing moving offshore. We
now have a very different “service” economy. Managing in today’s
economy is not effective with industrial age command-and-control
methods; today, managers must inspire and engage to create powerful
connections with their employees. All performance is based on these
are many things in current management methods that need to change to
ignite passionate performance and connections in today’s workplace.
However, no workplace likes significant change, even if the change
is for the better. The process to bring about significant
performance changes through a modification of management methods
must be approached gradually. Too much change too quickly will send
employees running and inhibit their performance instead of encourage
Therefore, remember the mantra of change: implement incremental
changes that yield exponential results. Assess the magnitude of the
change, the degree of connection and its performance impact. Most
great connection ideas involve very gradual or small changes yet
have significant effects on performance. Consider these five
incremental changes that yield exponential results:
Spend time with each employee. This is critical to building
personal connections. Here is a great phase worth remembering:
“people quit people before they quit companies.” That means when a
personal connection does not exist between the manager and employee,
the employee is less loyal, performs less and is less committed.
Take an employee to lunch. Spend five minutes before the day starts
or after the day ends just catching up. Ask questions that indicate
your employee’s values, interests and talents. The more you know
about the employee, the stronger you can make his connection to his
role. Spending time to get to know your employees is a small, simple
change that yields significant results.
Match the employee’s talents to his role. In today’s
intellectual workplace, employees contribute “thinking and ideas.”
The closer the employee’s natural thinking (called talents) matches
the thinking required in his role, the more capable the employee
feels and the greater his contribution, effort and performance will
be. To assess employee talents, access a questionnaire like
Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, and have each employee complete the
questions. This helps introduce the language of “talents” and helps
all employees learn and articulate what they are intrinsically good
at. The more an employee uses these talents in his role, the more
passionate he becomes about performance because talents also
represent areas that we enjoy. If an employee is not suited to or
dislikes his role, his performance will suffer. Once known, start to
realign employees to roles that are a better fit for their talents.
A review of talents is a small step that yields exponential results.
Give the employee a problem or project to handle on his own. Now
that you are aware of the employee’s talents, show that you trust
him or her by giving the employee a problem or project to manage,
solve or complete. This encourages ownership, engagement and
passionate performance, so long as the project or problem is in the
employee’s talent area. Besides getting the problem or project off
your desk, it activates employees to step up and contribute in a
more significant way. In their talent areas, employees are capable
of significantly more performance than they currently offer.
Talk about the future. Here is a question for you: how
willing are you to perform in a great way if you do not know where
your job or career is going? How willing are you to commit to a
company or manager if you never talk about your future? Employees
watch everything; they are very connected through today’s many
social networks. Word gets around quickly and favorably about
organizations that actively involve employees in recurring
discussions about their futures. Career conversations keep employees
connected to their work and to their management. Employees are given
a voice in the development process. They have input in determining a
meaningful future with the company that accommodates their talents
and interests. Managers, who take this time, connect significantly
with employees. Career development that matches the talents of the
employees significantly connects employees to their work. Hosting a
career conversation is an incremental change that has an exponential
impact on loyalty and performance.
Commit to having fun. Work, for most employees, is truly
a four-letter word. It doesn’t have to be that way and if you want
exponential performance, it can’t be that way. Employees want to
have fun in the workplace. Employees want to be part of high energy
and dynamic environments that celebrate, build rapport…in short,
connect. It takes very little resources to emotionally connect
employees to their workplace by hosting lunches, theme days, fun
programs, community events and other things to keep employees
interested, excited and performing. A small change to having more
fun at work can yield exponential results.
small changes – nobody likes too much change at once. But assess
each of your changes and their impact on results. Today, we are in
the age of “connection.” Be sure to make small improvements that
help connect employees to their work (brain connections) and
manager/workplace (people connections). Being human (passionate) at
work, is the key to performance. To be passionate, humans need
connections – intellectual and emotional, mind and heart. The
stronger the connections, the more employees perform. Make these
incremental “connection” changes for exponential results.
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