I was listening to the January 3, 2021 sermon from Good Shepard NY. We were given the homework of intentionally remembering what brought you light in dark times of 2020. One of my points of light was my work with The Great Game of Business (GGOB). There is no better work than to have the opportunity to build businesses from the Frontline to the back office, enabling all in an organization to learn, develop and grow.
I have known since 2013 that there was something unique about our community. Things became abundantly clear starting in March of 2020. When the COVID-19 pandemic began to take shape, certain organizations began to shine bright. I would like to take a leap and say that many of the companies that were able to weather the storm, had something in common. As Steve Baker and Rich Armstrong highlighted in their book, Get in the Game, successful GGOB business leaders are guided by similar core beliefs that are consistently evident in their organizations. For a moment, will you walk through some of them with me?
Belief One - “If I don’t inform my people, someone else will.”
In the absence of information, people will fill the space with opinion and assumptions. I have worked with hundreds of companies and when asked about what some of their pain points are, communication is ALWAYS on the list.
In 2021, let’s make it a point to discover how to communicate to our best ability, to make sure that our people are seen, heard and understood. GGOB Coach Dave Scholten preaches about incorporating 3 C’s into your GGOB practice: Communicate, don’t complicate and celebrate. Intentional and deliberate communication, along with making sure that we do not complicate our learning and that information is available to all builds a successful and meaningful GGOB practice. (I will hit celebrate later.)
Belief Two - “Given the opportunity, people want to learn the business.”
Coach Jack O’Reily makes a point to explain that it may appear that people don’t care and don’t want to learn the business. In reality, they just don’t know how to begin.
My best days are spent in interactions with people who learn something new to apply to their work and their home. Giving employees the ability to think outside their roles builds a foundation of innovation and a legacy organization. Are you giving your people opportunities to learn something new?
This year, try something different. Ask your people what they want to learn, then make it happen. It could be anything from financial literacy to juggling!
Belief Three - “Provided the education, people can learn the business.”
The numbers on financial documents are merely placeholders, or markers that deliver us to a bigger, more dynamic story. Teach people to understand your organization, how they impact the organization as an individual, where they touch the numbers on the scoreboard and how they contribute to the financial success of the organization.
This year, make sure that every person understands where they fit and how they make a difference.
Belief Four - “Given the trust, people will make the right decisions for the business.”
If you have listened to any of our Change the Game Podcasts, you have heard instance after instance of companies that would have been devastated by the COVID-19 restrictions had it not been for their GGOB practice. When you create a business of business-thinkers, you will be blessed with many talents focused on keeping the company thriving. I heard story after story of employees sacrificing hours in order for more people to stay on the payroll, giving up the nonessentials in order to hold on to the essentials. Because the leadership established the foundation of trust, all members of the team were able to focus on what would help the organization, not just what impacted them.
For 2021, make a conscious effort to build trust by giving trust to your employees.
Belief Five - “Given the respect, people will contribute to the success of the business.”
How do you show respect? Know your people, really know them. When is their birthday? What are their hobbies? What are their personal and professional goals? Coach Kevin Walter has taught me to take interactions three-levels deep. With recognition, do not stop at, “Good Job.” In fact, start with a full sentence, like, “Great Job on ________! I didn’t know __________. Your performance today made a big impact on _______ and will show benefits for the whole company.”
In 2021, make time to learn something new about each employee.
Belief Six - “People should share in the rewards they help create.”
For a moment, step back. Remember, Jack Stack stated that numbers are really stories about people. For every number on the financials, there are people and actions and behaviors that create the wins.
I have an ask for 2021. We are part of a special and unique movement. Every soul in our organizations is needed and valued. For 2021, I ask that you develop a practice of recognition where people see their importance in each step to the goal. I ask that you sprinkle rewards throughout the year for big and small wins, and I ask that you celebrate even the small moments. Now more than ever, let’s remember, together, we are unstoppable.
My Final Ask
Share with us how you have taken on communications challenges, developed recognition practices and celebrated. (If someone is in a costume, I want pictures!!)