Engagement, Fulfillment, Performance, Perfection and Excellence

I was reading an article by Shep Hyken on his thinking around 5 steps to achieve employee fulfillment. He speaks on customer service improvement and I thought the ideas were okay, but that they were not going to have any immediate impact on results. And it is a reality that taking the long-term view is good, but maybe not optimal for a variety of reasons.

He started with this Aristotle quote, “Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

He then suggested 5  simple steps that ultimately lead to happy, fulfilled, and engaged employees:

  1. Hire the right person for the right job.
  2.  Create fulfilled employees – Part One.  While you may make the right hire, the employee has to love what they do.
  3.  Create fulfilled employees – Part Two.  Create a positive environment of leadership and support to build satisfaction.
  4.  The pursuit of perfection.  He frames this up around meeting attainable goals.
  5.  Employee Engagement.  While Shep talks about the impacts, he does not share much data around this concept. There are plenty of articles supporting the reality that engagement links to productivity and performance in my blogs.

His basic concept is a basic one: People who are fulfilled and find pleasure in their work will strive for perfection.  They will strive to meet and exceed their goals.  You can read his article at this link.

My reaction to this was good, and I did service quality management things for 25 years, so the issues and anchors are solid. My posted response was a pretty simple and straightforward reframing.

Here is what I posted up as my comment:

These days, most companies are pretty staffed up, so hiring new people is not the solution for today. AND, the research shows that new employees are pretty much like the old employees after 6 months (Sirota) and that if you do not start things up differently with new hires, they will not give you what you want down the road.

Perfection is a lot like Excellence, if I read you right. I liked that old concept a LOT and there used to be dozens of good programs using that anchor point. Six Sigma seems to be today’s buzzword for it, but it really only occurs in manufacturing and production and not so much in areas where people have to respond differently so much, like customer service or other kinds of personalized work.

For me, I reframe what you said around two basic ideas:

1 – “Nobody ever washes a rental car” — It’s my quote on the importance of ownership to performance. If people feel a sense of active ownership and involvement, they will treat things differently. Ownership is a key issue in excellence and striving to improve.

2 – Dis-Un-Engagement — in any workplace, stats show that more than half the people are un-engaged and un-involved. Somewhat related to ownership, what managers can choose to do is to identify the things that are un-engaging – list them in a brainstorming session – and then look for ways to address each and every one of them, one at a time. (You can read more about Dis-Un-Engagement here.)

You can form teams, share best practices, escalate issues to other departments (yeah, I do know that “interdepartmental collaboration” tends to be an oxymoron for most organizations (or silos) but they can be addressed (The Search for The Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine is one exercise that focuses neatly on this issue and rewards those who collaborate).

It is always the case that, “The Round Wheels are already in the wagon” and that there is little excuse for continuing to operate on the Square Wheels.

SWs One green color thin

The best performers are already doing things differently than the worst performers, so sharing those best practices is a no-brainer way to improve things. When you can build that around your roadblock management, you are improving teamwork, improving skills and performance, and enabling more intrinsic motivation.

Ya think?

Scott Simmerman

Dr. Scott Simmerman is a designer of team building games and organization improvement tools. Managing Partner of Performance Management Company since 1984, he is an experienced presenter and consultant. 
Connect with Scott on Google+ – you can reach Scott at scott@squarewheels.com

Follow Scott’s posts on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/scottsimmerman/

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