Performance

NATO Golf

With spring around the corner, I find my mind turning to golf. I love to play golf. I’ve always tried to not take it too seriously and remember that it’s just a game—but I didn’t really love to play until I started to use an approach called NATO golf. In case you haven’t heard of it before, NATO stands for Not Attached To Outcome.

BallWhen you’re attached to outcome, you might be having a good game but then you hit the ball wrong and find yourself focusing on the wrong things—every move you make, every breeze, every bump in the grass. It really tightens you up and you can’t perform as well. You become fearful of your results because you believe that who you are depends on how you score or play that day.

I can’t tell you how much more fun it is to play NATO golf than to grind my teeth over the score. It doesn’t mean I’m not interested in hitting good shots or scoring well—but I know that I am not my score. I am not each shot. As a result, I’m much more relaxed and able to swing freely at the ball without fear. I play so much better when I’m not worried about whether I’m going to be able to hit that hole or make that putt. I just get up there and let it happen. It’s beautiful.

Golf is always interesting to me, because I believe golf is a lot like life. Think about it. Sometimes you’re playing better than you should, so you learn how to deal with success.  Sometimes you’re playing worse than you should, so you learn how to deal with failure.  Sometimes you get good breaks you don’t deserve and sometimes you get good breaks you do deserve.  Sometimes you get bad breaks you don’t deserve and sometimes you get bad breaks you do deserve.  All in four and a half hours!  Ha! And one of the best ways to get to know somebody is to play golf with them and watch how they behave. It says a lot about a person.

In life, as in golf, sometimes we get so focused on outcome that we don’t enjoy the ride.  We’re so uptight about the importance of the outcome that we miss the dance of life, the dance of relationships, the dance of the sales call, or the dance of doing a seminar.

Mark Twain said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” I can’t say that I agree. Golf is a wonderful game as long as you don’t start believing that who you are is dependent on how you score. Don’t get attached to outcome—just be who you are and you will be amazed at how much more you’ll enjoy the game of golf—and the game of life.

Categories: Clarity, Confidence, Expectations, Golf, Happiness, Life, Performance, Positivity, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

What do you do with a high performing employee whose values don’t line up with the organization?

It’s just a fact of human nature – Not everyone has the same set of values. But what should you do if you discover that one of your high performers is a values mismatch with your organization?

There are two aspects to evaluating people: One is performance and the other is citizenship—whether people are operating closely in relation to your values.

If a person is a lousy performer and also not a good values match, that’s an easy decision. The tough decision is what to do if you have a high performer who’s just not a good citizen—this person is not following your values. What do you do?  Well, if your values are important, you have to deal with it.

A few years ago we fired our top salesperson. That really sent a message out. He was a great performer, but our number one value is ethics, our number two value is relationships, number three is success, and number four is learning. He was focusing all his energy on the success value. He was doing stuff that really wasn’t right and he was stepping on other people’s toes. We talked to him and tried to work with him, but finally decided we needed to share him with our  competition.

Remember: If you don’t deal with a values mismatch and you just let it go, pretty soon your people will say, “Those values are on the wall but they don’t mean anything.” Don’t let that happen in your organization.

Categories: Performance, Values, Workplace Culture | 3 Comments

Feedback is Great Motivation

If you went around your office and asked each person, “Are you doing a good job?” what would be the answer?  Would most people respond by saying either “I don’t know” or “I think so”?  And if their answer was, “Yes, I think so,” and your follow-up question was, “How do you know?” would you hear lines such as, “I haven’t been chewed out by my boss lately” or “No news is good news”?

Such answers reveal that most people receive little feedback on their performance until they make a mistake. This is a sad state of affairs. People need feedback on their performance to feel motivated to move toward their goals.  Managers know what they want their people to do but many times don’t bother to tell them because they assume people know. This leads to the most commonly used management style in business, often referred to as seagull management. When someone makes a mistake, seagull managers fly in, make a lot of noise, dump on everyone, and fly out. Since this is the predominant style of management in organizations, it is no wonder that motivating people is a major organizational problem today!

Can you imagine training for the Olympics with no one telling you how fast you ran or how high you jumped?  The idea seems ludicrous, yet many people operate in a vacuum in organizations, not knowing how well they are doing on their jobs. This can lead to what we call decommitment—a change in an employee’s motivation or confidence—which can be one of the biggest challenges managers face.

To avoid this situation as a manager, stop and think about how you would answer the following questions:  Are your department and organizational goals clear?  Do you talk to your people about performance expectations?  Does every person know what a good job looks like? Is anything getting in the way of performance?  Are you giving each person regular feedback on his or her performance and behavior?

I often repeat the words of my former colleague Rick Tate, who said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”  Letting your people know where they stand and how they are doing can help nurture genuine relationships and create job satisfaction all around.

Categories: Expectations, Feedback, Performance | 3 Comments

Lead with LUV

I’m really excited about my brand-new book, Lead with LUV, that I wrote with Colleen Barrett, President Emeritus of Southwest Airlines. The reason I’m excited about it is that if I were asked to leave a legacy of my thinking today, this would be it. The world is in desperate need of this message of love and people first.

If you know anything about Southwest Airlines, you know they’re all about love. (They sometimes spell it L-U-V because LUV is their symbol on the New York Stock Exchange.) They love their people and they love their customers. They love their work and take it seriously—but they don’t take themselves seriously.

For example, a colleague of mine was flying on Southwest recently when the attendant got on the public address system and said:

“You know, this is the last flight of the day and we’re really tired. To be honest with you, we don’t have the energy to pass out the peanuts, so we’re going to put them on the floor in the front the plane and when we take off and gain altitude, they’ll slide down the aisle.  If you want some nuts, just grab them.”

And that’s what happened! The whole airplane was in hysterics—laughing, having fun, grabbing peanuts, passing them to their neighbors—just having a blast!

That’s leading with LUV. How different is that than your typical experience on most airlines, where everyone seems so uptight?

Leading with LUV is about treating your customers right. Southwest really gets this. For example, when you call most airlines to change a reservation, you usually get a recording that says they really value your business, but all of their operators are busy right now; they’ll get to you as soon as possible. Then the music starts.  You could be waiting on hold for fifteen or twenty minutes or more.

But when you call Southwest Airlines, you usually get an operator, and if you don’t, you get a recording that says, “Your business is really important to us.  We’re sorry all of our operators are busy right now, but at the beep, please leave your name and phone number and we’ll get back to you in ten minutes.”

I did this recently, and you know what happened in ten minutes?  My phone rang and somebody said, “Is this Ken Blanchard?”

“Yes, it is,” I said.

“This is Bob from Southwest Airlines,” he said. “How can I help you?”

Now that’s what I call raving fan service! And that’s how you lead with LUV. No wonder Southwest is the only airline that has consistently turned a profit while the others have struggled.

These heart-warming stories don’t happen by accident. When an organization has happy people, happy customers, and happy shareholders, it’s because the leadership has created a culture that supports leading with LUV.  So, how do you do that?

First, you have to create a vision—something to love, something with a higher purpose than just making money. Southwest’s vision was that all people—not just the elite—would be able to afford to fly.

Second, you have to create the rules of the road—the values that will guide people as they work toward that higher purpose. For example, Southwest has three values:

  • A Warrior Spirit
  • A Servant’s Heart
  • A Fun-LUVing Attitude

Third, once you have the vision in place and the values established, the leaders have to get out of the way so they can cheer people on to achieve the vision. This means turning the traditional pyramidal hierarchy upside-down, so that the leaders support their people, rather than vice versa.

What does this look like in the real world? How do you, as a leader, lead with LUV?

First, by acknowledging people. When she was president of Southwest, Colleen Barrett sent out thousands of hand-written notes to her people every year, celebrating their successes, sympathizing with their losses, and thanking them for being extraordinary.

Second, by backing people up. Southwest founder Herb Kelleher once got a letter from a grumpy customer complaining about how much it bothered him that the flight attendants goofed off during the safety announcement. Because a Fun-LUVing Attitude is a Southwest value and this was a customer who tended to complain a lot, Herb didn’t apologize or offer him a coupon. Instead he wrote back, “We’ll miss you.” He stood by the values and the people of Southwest.

The third way to lead with LUV is to make your people your business partners. For example, pilots at Southwest have personally paid for hotel rooms for customers who, because of bad weather, had to spend the night in an unfamiliar city. The pilots could see that the people needed help. Because the pilots knew they were Southwest’s business partners, they didn’t call and ask, “Is it okay? Will I get reimbursed?” They led with LUV and created grateful, satisfied customers.

Leading with LUV is not soft management—it’s smart management. When you put positive relationships ahead of profits, you end up with an abundance of both.

Someone once said to my wife, “Margie, you’ve lived with Ken for almost fifty years. What do you think leadership is?”

Margie nailed it when she said, “Leadership IS love, it’s not about love.  It’s loving your mission, it’s loving your people, it’s loving your customers, and it’s loving yourself enough to let other people be magnificent.”

I couldn’t say it any better. So if you’re looking for satisfying, long-term success, remember: Leading with LUV is not about somebody else in some other organization. Leading with love is about you. So treat your colleagues and your customers like family, and Lead with LUV.

Here are a few other great things we’re doing around the book:

  • We opened a new webpage for people to learn more about how our company uses the Lead with LUV principles at www.leadwithluv.com. You can even watch Southwest’s fantastic corporate video!
  • Do you know someone who leads with LUV? There are two ways you can let the world know about it:
    • Go to our Lead with LUV page on HowWeLead and post your story in the comments section. Do you know of a great video like Southwest’s? You can even embed a YouTube video if you like!
    • Catch someone doing things right via Twitter. Use the hashtag #leadwithluv and post a quick Tweet about a friend or coworker who exhibits these great qualities.
  • Watch a video introduction by Colleen and myself, read the first chapter of the book, and learn more about leading with LUV at our book page.

Have a great day!

Categories: Ethics, Happiness, Honesty, Leadership, Love, Performance, Praise | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

When Communicating, Inspire—Don’t Inform

I was once asked to give a speech at the regional National Speakers Association meeting in San Diego about my approach for effective communicating.  Specifically, they wanted me to tell them how I give a speech.  My approach is simple.

First, I offer up a concept that could help each person in the audience be a better manager, teacher, coach, or parent.  Next, I give an example or tell a story that relates to that concept.  I get people laughing.  I try to zero in on audience members as human beings and make my point in such a way that it triggers an emotional reaction for each person. Ultimately, I want them to walk out of the room with an idea they can put into action in their lives. Here’s an example of my approach:

Introduce a concept that will enrich the life of each member of the audience.  “Of all the concepts that I have taught over the years, the most important is about catching people doing things right. There is little doubt in my mind that the key to developing people is to catch them doing something right and praise them for their performance.”  The minute I begin talking about catching people doing things right, praising them and letting them know you noticed their good performance, the audience perks up. Everyone can relate to this topic in some way, both at home and at work, because everyone loves praise.

Give an example that relates to the concept. After I talk to the audience about praising in a general sense, I warn people not to wait for exactly the right behavior to praise others—because they could be waiting forever!  “In the beginning, when people are learning something and are not top performers yet, you have to praise progress. For example, imagine that you’re trying to teach a child how to say, ‘Give me a glass of water, please.’ If she has never spoken before, and you wait for that full sentence before you give the child a sip of water, what have you got?  A very dehydrated kid, that’s what!  So what do you do?  You have to praise progress. First, zero in on the word water.  Repeat it over and over again.  Finally, the child will respond with something like ‘loller.’ When that happens, hug and kiss the kid.  Call his grandmother and get the child on the phone so she can say, ‘loller, loller, loller.’ While that’s not water, it’s not bad.  After a while, though, you will only accept water.  Why?  Because you don’t want your child going into a restaurant at 21 years of age and asking for a glass of loller.  So praising progress helps people move toward desired performance.”

Tell a story that shows other applications for the concept. “Is praising important in relationships other than with our children?  You’d better believe it.  Have you ever seen a couple in a restaurant in love?  Margie and I were at a French restaurant not long ago, where we spent three hours enjoying a marvelous meal and elegant atmosphere. On one side of us was a couple in love.  When one of them would talk, the other would smile and listen.  I don’t think they cared if the meal ever came. On the other side was a couple that obviously had been married for a while.  In three hours, I don’t think they said four sentences to each other.  He finally said, ‘How’s your meat?’  ‘Okay,’ was the reply, ‘How’s yours?’  I whispered to Margie, ‘That marriage is dead but nobody buried it.’  How do you get from hanging onto someone’s every word to having nothing to say?  It’s the frequency with which you catch each other doing things right.”

Summarize the presentation with tips the audience can put into action. “The key to keeping personal and professional relationships healthy is to constantly catch people doing things right, and praise them by accenting the positive.  When you accent the positive, you have deposits in your human relationship bank account with that person.  Now, if that person does something wrong, you can point it out without devastating the relationship.”

The example I’ve just presented demonstrates how, when giving a speech, I try to present a concept in human terms and involve the audience in a way that it stirs an emotional reaction in each person.  I try to relate the concept to something that is present in the lives of every audience member so they can feel the power of the concept.  Remember that your job as a communicator and speaker is to inspire and change people’s behavior, not just to share information. If you use this approach when giving a presentation, you will keep your audience interested and give them something they will remember—and be able to use—long after they leave the room.

Categories: Communication, Confidence, Performance | 5 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com. Customized Adventure Journal Theme.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,838 other followers

%d bloggers like this: