I used to love shopping however it’s not always a pleasure. Lately I have to brace myself to go face to face with the inevitable “clerk” who will summon me to the register with a loud, “NEXT” as a greeting. They will be ringing up my purchase acting as invisible as possible with a nonverbal message that screams “Don’t ask me anything because I probably don’t know.” I believe I know why our work ethic has changed. I know I am not alone wishing we could somehow turn back the clock to the time when we were happy to have a job, honored to wear the company logo and step into our role and enjoyed making our customers happy!
I used to think everyone had common sense.
When I was little I thought it was practically a Federal Law that every family have dinner together. When it got dark outside (or at 6:00, whichever came first) every kid in our neighborhood stopped what they were doing and headed for the dinner table. And if we were late, panic set in. Why? Because we knew if we got in “trouble” there would be punishment.
What were the RULES? Television off, no phone, wash your hands, set the table, napkin in your lap, elbows off of the table. This dinner ritual was rarely less than an hour. Conversation consisted of “reporting in.” Everyone took a turn while the rest listened. We practiced “being polite,” which meant we were not supposed to interrupt. When a family member was having a problem it could be intense and uncomfortable, however we knew that the next night we would receive an update on how the situation was progressing. Together we created “family history” as we learned from each other’s challenges.
When I reflect on what I learned at our dinner table I am in awe at the powerful life skills and values that were developed. By participating in this custom one hour a day, week after week, month after month, year after year, we developed a tremendous set of basic skills that was called “common sense.”
Some of these skills are:
- Manners and social standards
- Discipline and order
- Respect for authority and respect for elders
- How to initiate conversation
- How to listen
- How to resolve conflicts and problems
- How to take responsibility
- How to be part of a team
- Cause and effect (rewards and consequences)
- Relating, relationships and connection
- A sense of belonging and contribution
- Interdependence and cooperation
Good News! You Can Create These Skills Within Your Team!
First, recognize that there are five generations in our work force and all generations have completely different experiences, values, skills and orientations to life. No one on the planet has your 3 trillion neural pathways where all of your life experiences and memories are stored. So, learn to celebrate the fact that there is much diversity and less commonality than ever before. However, having a set of core values is the basis of creating a culture based on trust. There are hundreds of ways to create a commonality within your team and I will suggest the top three as a great place to start.
1. Create daily rituals to encourage connection and alignment.
Have daily 5 minute “huddles” to keep everyone aware of the priorities. Use the time to brainstorm to create new possibilities. Create an Action Plan to get the team aligned and moving toward the same goals. Take time to celebrate results. “Face time” and listening are powerful and appreciated.
2. Demonstrate “respect” by giving total attention and listening.
How do you demonstrate respect?
- When a person is talking to you face them and give eye contact.
- Avoid all interruptions and give 100% attention.
- When the speaker is done, pause for a few seconds before responding. Take time to get their perspective.
- Listen for comprehension rather than agreement or disagreement.
- Reflect back their picture before adding yours.
- Nothing builds trust faster than listening. People value being heard.
3. Encourage open and honest communication.
Employees of all ages dislike asking questions because it implies they don’t know something. So, make it safe and encourage individuals to ask questions if they are unsure of the priorities or how to do a specific task, etc. Provide frequent coaching, praise and feedback so they know how they are doing. Let them know when they need to correct their course or learn from a situation. The team needs access to the resources, strategies and support needed to accomplish its mission.
Food For Thought
Getting your employees to care about your business, engage with your customers and innovate in your business can be done. It requires coaching, communication, respect, training and positive rewards. Make sure you have the “right” employees on your team and invest face time, training and coaching to keep them aligned and moving toward the common goals. Contact us for more ways to align the team!