GREG’S BUSINESS GROWTH NEWSLETTER #316
Quick notes to help you grow your business in less time with less effort. . . sometime next week.
In this issue:
– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff
Techniques for FIT
- Remote work is hard to manage. It helps when expectation standards are clear. Have your managers check theirs on these dimensions: Quantity, Quality, Time, Investment. Are we being clear enough for remote work?
- It’s tempting for your managers to solve all problems that come their way. Remind them you can live with some problems as long as objectives are met.
- While we need to keep objectives in mind, be more interested in the behaviors that get us there than immediate results. Whatever heights you reach will probably need to be exceeded. This is easier to do if behaviors are repeatable.
- At a high level, good managers clearly communicate and regularly monitor. Simple but not easy.
Being Human – Employee feedback
Communication is the key to business. It’s the foundation. Knowing this, increasing employee feedback is the best way to grow faster. The reason it works is that it helps you get the behaviors you want from your people, not just results. A good month or a bad month are less important than how we get there. This focus on behaviors builds momentum, which leads to consistent results over time.
In a growing company, there’s also a good chance your managers are managing too many people. I see this all the time, and it’s a challenge for effective communication. This is especially true of employee feedback. Good feedback takes time and when you have too many people to talk to, it’s easy to skip it and press for results. Most problems I consult on can be traced back to this push for results with unchecked behaviors. Results may be good, but if how we get there isn’t “how we do things around here,” future growth stalls. I call it behavior drift.
Behavior drift is culture drift.
Your future growth will depend on the behaviors your people put in place today. Regular feedback is how your managers affect behaviors. Feedback is a very specific kind of communication. When managers hear they should be communicating they say, I talk to my people all the time. Digging into the specifics I find they’ve been knocking crises down, answering questions, dealing with personnel concerns, and checking in. This isn’t the employee feedback you want them to focus on.
You want feedback aligned with the strategy of the company.
The core inside employee feedback is it’s the culture of your company. It relies on repetition. The same questions being asked over and over again. Listening to an interview with author Michael Lewis (“Moneyball”, “The Blind Side” etc) he was asked about how he gets to know his book subject so well. He told the story of one book character who said, “you [Lewis] don’t seem to have a process. You just show up and take occasional notes and ask the same questions over and over.” Lewis said he needs to ask the same questions because each time he does he gets a slightly different answer. This is where his detailed profiles come from.
Your managers have to get comfortable with the repetition inherent to feedback. They need to get used to asking the same questions over and over again until an understanding is reached. Not a verbal understanding, a behavioral understanding. They’ll know they’re getting through when they see the behavior line up with expectations.
Teach your managers how to give great feedback. It’s a secret to future growth.
“Maybe he’s born with it.”
As long time readers may recall, I spent a few weeks in China. It has to be at least five, maybe six years ago. I have a lot of memories from that quick tour, including the use of selfie-sticks. By the time I was there, selfie-sticks were passé in the US, but a big thing among those billion people.
In addition to selfie-sticks, I noticed something else selfie related. I saw young ladies checking their makeup in their phones. I don’t know why this struck me, but it did. The days of the compact are numbered, I thought. I tsk-tsked and shook my head like a good elder and moved on.
This is going through my head because my bout with Covid kept me from my regular haircut appointment. I am now working on almost eight weeks without a clip, and I’m getting shaggy. Getting ready for a shower I check myself in the mirror and, as the Boss says, want to change my clothes, my hair, my face. I have had the same haircut forever. Is it time for a new look? I am thinning a bit and the boundary line is receding, is it time to go longer? Add some volume and such?
These thoughts remind me of the young ladies and their phones acting as mirrors. I have no idea what my hair looks like from the sides, from the top, or from the back for that matter. It’s a mystery. When the hairdresser finishes my cuts she says, “How does it look?” and I say, “You tell me!”
The answer has been here in my hand the whole time. Let’s take some photos using the mirror. I can see myself from the top, the side, the back and any other angle. I grab my phone and start shooting. I shave, shower, and shine, then pull the pics up.
There’s an art to taking selfies. I see it in my kids social media, the nephews, and nieces. They have all the angles down. A jut of the hip, angling of the forehead, side look, and bam. Great pic. I don’t have the knack of it, but I do have some advice.
Consider the whole frame when taking a selfie. Look past the subject you’re concentrating on. Because while you may be trying to get the back of your head in perfect focus, the camera may be training itself on areas further south. Oh, and don’t experiment with photos right before you jump in the shower. Those southern areas may not only be in focus, they may not be covered.
Don’t worry, I deleted them immediately and permanently.
(Although it makes me giggle thinking of what an archeologist would make of my photos 100 years hence)
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