Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Seven Year-End Ways to Psych (UP) Your Business

Somewhere between the end of budgeting and the start of the new year, leaders have the opportunity to reflect and invest some use-it-or-lose-it money on improving future success.

The question is, what should you choose to do?

Koliso is here to help. We apply the science of psychology to the practice of business. Seven points across three key areas follow for businesses to invest in. How you can accomplish this list is noted at the end of the article.



1. Be confident; be modest.

Visionary goals expressed with modest confidence motivate. However, many leaders think they need to set audacious goals backed up by statements of supreme confidence. This can actually work against productivity. Instead, express modest confidence and focus on the achievable. For more see our article, “How Confident Should a Leader Be?”

2. Have (self-motivated) fun.

Individuals work better and enjoy it more when they have the right balance of control and challenge. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this being in a state of “flow.” Engaged employees on average create 15 to 20 percent more shareholder value. An end-of-year planning session should encourage staff to set goals that have just the right degree of challenge while leaving them in control and confident.

3. Have your year-end session facilitated by an outsider.

Facilitating an end-of-year session means more than planning the timing and agenda. Keen judgment is required to enable everyone to participate while keeping the session on track. A facilitator can bring an outside perspective, which allows you the opportunity to participate freely.


4. Make sure every employee understands their contribution to success.

Before the new year begins every employee should have his or her goals and contributions to success documented and agreed to. Just the act of writing down goals and having them “signed off” builds commitment. This is a time for questions and uncertainties to be clarified so that everyone’s goals and commitments are aligned to the big picture.

5. Make sure you are using reward and recognition strategically.

Psychologists understand that “the behavior you get is the behavior that gets rewarded.” While self-motivation is powerful, a person’s desire to bring their best efforts to their work will gradually be extinguished if they are not recognized for good work. Find ways to tie good performance to what matters most to employees: social recognition, financial reward and career security.

6. Have plans in place to hold employees accountable.

Accountability is the mirror image of reward and recognition. When people do well they should be rewarded and when they don’t they have to be held accountable. One reason is for the health of the organization: when you’re not getting the right results you have to take corrective correction. Something needs to be done whether it’s focused on training and coaching to manage the employee up or intervention to manage the employee out.

Another reason to hold employees accountable is to benefit the morale of the rest of the employees. There are many examples in social psychology of the “social reference” effect; employees take their cues about what is acceptable from the way others are treated around them. The employees you let off with a lower standard gradually poison the people around them into thinking a lower standard is acceptable.


7. Systematically review the leadership behaviors of your team.

If you really want to start 2013 off properly, consider doing an assessment of your team’s management and leadership.

Looking inward: do you have the right skills, style and standards?
Looking outward: are the goals, roles, processes and relationships of your team appropriate to where you want to end up next year?
Looking forward: do you have plans in place on a daily, weekly, quarterly and annual basis so the work of the team is focused on ongoing success?
Looking beyond: is there a big picture perspective that shows how you are ready to exploit, confront, adapt and avoid according to what your environment is doing over the long term?


Get Koliso involved. Successful organizations choose us to lead them through the points listed above, whichin a bit of a predictable cyclemakes them continue to succeed!

Are you ready for success in 2013? Ask us confidentially to take a look and we’ll let you know.

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