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Optimize Transformation: Achieving High Performing Employees

Written by Terri Wallin

In the Transformer cartoon series the autobots achieve victory by transforming from their current state into something capable of defeating their enemy.  Successful businesses do the same thing. So do successful sports teams. Good coaches understand that dusting off last year’s playbook won’t cut it. The team must transform itself every game to win.  Good leaders build winning teams by transforming their business with compelling visions, a business plan to make it happen, committed boards and executive teams, and engaged employees.

People like playing on a winning team. Successful coaches encourage and mentor their players to help them achieve their highest potential knowing that the team will benefit in the end. They review their players’ performance after every game. Successful business leaders do the same. They realize that new hires must be given more than a policy and procedure handbook and abandoned until their annual review. But, sadly, many of us don’t play for winning teams.

High performing team 123rf.com_35569319_ml (2)Leaders consistently fend off all challengers as one of the main reasons an employee leaves an organization. However, leading sources still credit the leader as a top contributor to voluntary resignations. In Forbes Magazine, Mike Myatt, author and Forbes contributor writes “10 Reasons Your Top Talent Will Leave You”. In his article he states that “regardless of tenure, position, title, etc., employees who voluntarily leave, generally do so out of some type of perceived disconnect with leadership”.

Meghan Casserly on staff with Forbes, writes “The Top Five Reasons Employees Will Quit In 2013” January 2, 2013. In her article, lack of respect by the boss is one of the main reasons employees leave an organization.

In the Harvard Business Review, November 19, 2014, Christine Porath wrote an article entitled “Half of Employees Don’t Feel Respected by Their Bosses”. The article chronicles a study of over 20,000 employees around the world. Fifty-four percent of respondents claimed they were disrespected by their bosses. The article states that the role of leadership is critical to high performance and retention of employees. Respect the people you work with and it impacts performance favorably. Disrespect employees and get ready for the resignations.

Leaders with high turnover are quick to blame the employee while their organization gets off scot-free. The executive needs to understand his/her pivotal role in the human resource turnstile. Here are 14 key ways to create high performance employees.

  1. The leader must truly care and respect employees or leave.
  2. The leader must craft a specific and compelling vision– this helps everyone see what the future could be when the vision is achieved.
  3. Effective leadership must be present at every level from front line to the boardroom to ensure a successful transformation to the new vision throughout the company.
  4. The executive team must be aligned around the CEO’s vision, mission and strategic plan—no foot-dragging kicking and screaming through a transformational process. A CEO must be non-tolerant with any leader refusing to align.
  5. Hire for “fit” to the organization’s vision and values.
  6. Pay attention to the culture and determine if it collaborates with the vision. If not, the culture must change.
  7. Communicate often and repeatedly about the company’s vision and the progress being made toward achieving it.
  8. Listen carefully to feedback and adjust the course toward the vision as necessary.
  9. Involve employees – often they come up with solutions that are brilliant – use their ideas and give them credit. This increases their performance.
  10. Provide clear expectations for performance. Don’t expect employees to read your mind or guess what is expected.
  11. Trust employees to do great work, don’t micromanage their performance.
  12. Learn to effectively coach and mentor employees and plan on external coaching for key executives and employees in order to increase the leadership skill level in the organization over time.
  13. Hire with succession in mind – always strive to hire the best and brightest.

Determine ways to reward and acknowledge your team for advancing toward and achieving the vision. Following these 14 steps can transform mediocre lackluster employees into star performers. When customers receive better products and service the business prospers. Treating employees well (compelling vision, consistent training, and respect) yields an excellent return on investment.

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