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The Power of the Little Things

Jan 18, 2022 by Don Harkey 0 Comments
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The POWER of Little Things

A company owner asks employees what he can do to make their work easier.  The employees come up with the idea of providing mobile hotspots for employees who spend a lot of their time traveling.  The owner, who is grateful to the team and what they do for the company, does the research and gets a cost for the hotspots and mentions it during their weekly huddle.  The employees speak up and decline the hotspots saying it cost the company too much money and wasn’t worth the investment, but they thank the owner for being willing to support them.

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Another company is projecting a small profit loss for the month. Over the next week, one employee offers to do extra work preventing them from having to outsource a job.  Another employee calls the company’s printer vendor and renegotiates their contract without losing any services. Still another employee digs into a software subscription and determines that they have two extra licenses they don’t use anymore. The three employees all act without direction from management and save the company a few thousand dollars. The company finishes the month with a profit.

A manufacturing company conducts a survey of employees and discovers that one of the biggest complaints of the workers is rework (work that must be redone for quality reasons). The employees create a team that works with management to measure the financial impact of the rework and discover that it is costing their company $50K per year. The employee-led team meets regularly to discover the top causes of rework and implements a series of improvements designed to reduce the rework. They track the amount of rework as they go and post the rework on a large scoreboard for everyone to see with the goal of reducing it by 50%. After 3 months, the team has managed to reduce rework by 95% saving the company $48K per year. Management purchases the team nice jackets to celebrate and in accepting the jacket, the team leader breaks down crying as he talks about what the team accomplished together.

When I tell stories like this, business owners sometimes ask me, “where do I find employees like that?”. My answer is always the same.

“They probably already work for you.”

The best way to earn employee engagement is to engage your employees and one of the most effective ways of doing this is what all 3 of these companies did; they implemented The Great Game of Business. We work with companies to employ systems that build a high-performance culture where employees can be empowered and aligned and the Game has been a powerful system for our clients and for our own company. The first story above comes from People Centric. 

You probably have the right people working for you, but if you feel like you don’t, it might be because you are lacking systems to engage your people to help them to help themselves (and you) to be successful. Teach your people the language of business: your financials. Then give them opportunities to make an impact. It may not give you one big idea, but it will reward you with a bunch of little ideas that make a big impact and bring your team the opportunity to feel more pride in what they do.


Looking for more on how to increase employee engagement? Join us for our next workshop focusing on Implementation + Strategic Planning.

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Topics: Employee Engagement, Financial Literacy, Leadership, Scoreboarding, engagement

Don Harkey
Written by Don Harkey

Don Harkey is the Owner and Chief Executive Officer of People Centric Consulting Group based in Springfield, Missouri. People Centric partners with organizations to implement strategic and tactical processes that increases employee engagement and performance. They provide strategic planning, consulting, professional development, business analysis, succession planning, among many other services. Don holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and spent 10 years working for Fortune 500 companies (Archer Daniels Midland and 3M) where he developed his skills helping people to improve processes before jumping into the world of business consulting in 2005. He is a highly sought-after professional speaker based on his practical advice delivered with high energy and humor. Each year, he speaks to thousands of people at national conferences in a variety of industries. Don has been honored as one of Springfield’s “2017 Men of the Year” and “40 Under 40” by the Springfield Business Journal and by 417 Magazine’s “The List”. People Centric has been honored as a Community Partner by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks and as a finalist for Springfield Small Business of the Year in 2014 and 2015 by the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

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About The Great Game of Business

Our approach to running a company was developed to help close one of the biggest gaps in business: the gap between managers and employees. We call our open-book approach The Great Game of Business. What lies at the heart of The Game is a very simple proposition: The best, most efficient, most profitable way to operate a business is to give everybody in the company a voice in saying how the company is run and a stake in the outcome. Let us teach you how to develop a culture of ownership, where employees think, act and feel like owners.