People 101- The Art of Management

Lou Holtz, a notable Notre Dame Football coach, said people want to know 3 things:

1.    Can I trust you?

2.    Are you committed to excellence?

3.    Do you care about me?

When we think about our businesses, we often share the products, sales levels, new programs, etc. But when was the last time you asked someone about their business and they responded with “…things couldn’t be better Jane really stepped up and won a big program for us! I couldn’t be prouder of her!”

You see very few if any businesses can survive, let alone thrive without people. We spend a lot of time though working on things within our business but not the people. When you consider Lou’s quote only one item is sort of addressed; the commitment to excellence.

Let’s consider the areas where your people can have the greatest impact. Reception area ( how your customers are greeted), sales team (how responsive to the customer), supervision (staffing and quality oversight), accounting; WAIT, I think you get the point. This is why developing a comprehensive approach to maintain focus and intentional development activities on your people is critical.

Companies that are winning with their people are not just going through the motions but they are focusing on these three items.

1.    Can I trust you? These companies are openly sharing the performance of their company and admitting when things don’t go quite so well. THEY OWN IT, in other words.

2.    Are you committed to excellence? Striving to achieve superb customer service, high quality product(s) and customer experience that is revered and not compromised. That is the behavior you will see when visiting the leading companies. A good question to ask yourself is, “Would we do this in the presence of our customers?”

3.    Do you care about me? Human resource articles have been written in volumes regarding performance reviews and these are important. But they only touch on half the person, their work performance of tasks. What about the individual? Companies really struggle here because this is truly the art of management. A test to see if your team is really on the right track here is to ask them to try this little exercise. Write down 2-3 personal things about each one of their direct reports; like how many kids and what are their names, are they a soccer mom or a baseball dad or caring for a sick parent. Then ask them when was the last time they engaged these people about them. Connecting on this level takes real work. But the payback is unmeasurable.

When your employees know that you care, trust and are driving to achieve excellence they will work harder than ever and even reach outside their scope of responsibility to help. They will bring creativity and passion to the office, factory, restaurant or store each day. Imagine what that is worth?

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