Creating a Stronger More Effective Workforce

In these days of necessary cost cutting efforts as part of the daily “must do” activities every business should have in place, I’d like to share some ideas on how you can not only save dollars but create a more proficient workforce at the same time. I call them the “Magic 5” tips.

  1.  Improve and Increase Employee Training: Reduction of training dollars is normally one of the first cuts made when the financial flow gets low. But good leaders understand that every day should be a training effort on their part. There should be constant scrutiny for ways to save time, money, and human energy to get the job done. It’s everyone’s duty to seek ways to make these three cost-cutting activities part of their job. Pair seasoned employees with new hires. Make knowledge sharing a good thing, not something to be protected and never shared. When funds are available, bring in an outside voice. When funds are tight, bring in the voice of others within your department. The bottom line will improve if you always consider training to grow new knowledge an integral part of your workplace. This is not a practice you want to eliminate.
  2.  Create or Improve Teamwork: I often tell audiences the power of many is far greater than the power of one. There is an immense amount of brain power at your disposal—it’s called employees! As a leader, you foster cordial and trusting working relationships, first between you and those you lead and second, between every member of your team. Grow your team power by tapping every ounce of knowledge your employees bring to the table. Open your mind to their ideas. Encourage their contributions and cooperation to the team effectiveness. Teamwork offers opportunities to find ways to save dollars, to improve productivity, and to build a creative and energizing environment.
  3.  Show appreciation: No one likes to be taken for granted. And, that goes double for those who work for you. Let everyone know how much you value their contributions at every opportunity. You can further that appreciation by enhancing or adding employee benefits whenever possible. Certainly the cost of such benefits plays is paramount to being able to offer them. But money need not always play into the equation. Leaders understand employees, when properly appreciated, will not be as demanding. A benefit mentioned earlier is training. Show appreciation by cross-training employees to give them greater job security. Show appreciation by a simple “thank you” when a job is well done. Show appreciation by providing honest employee performance appraisals with growth plans to improve. The list can be endless. Use your creativity and conversations with employees for other ideas.
  4.  Provide Support for employees: As the leader, an important aspect of your responsibilities is to be supportive of those you lead. Employees depend upon you to help them succeed and grow their career. They want your acknowledgment when they do positive things. Being supportive doesn’t mean you cannot reprimand when performance is truly bad. On the contrary, being supportive is offering corrective advice on how to not repeat the performance again. Remember, it’s all about training and educating to your expectations. That in itself is a supportive move on your part.
  5.  Set excellence as the minimum standard of operation. Far too often, both on a personal and professional level, we settle for “less than” as an acceptable end point for our performance. The most successful leaders are those who keep raising the bar and tolerance level of both their performance and the performance of those they lead. Our human tendency is to be satisfied so long as we do our job well. We never should settle in and continue “business as usual.” The reality is we all possess a much higher level of ability then we give ourselves credit for having. Move the bar up a bit at every opportunity. Examine every facet of your life and your work responsibilities. Look for any opening that can enhance performance. Kaizen is the quality term for “continuous improvement”—the mindset of winners. Become “Kaizen” focused!

Closing Thoughts

Take time to reflect on the “Magic 5 tips” discussed in this article to access where you are on the success scale of life. Allocate time each day to reflect on what needs to be done and how to do the necessary tasks. Take a break at mid-day to see where you are on your personal success scale and make adjustments as needed. At the end of the day, review all your actions and what they’ve produced. If the results are less than you wanted to achieve, commit to a level of excellence tomorrow that will step up the results.

Success is nothing more than having a clear focus on what we want to do, taking action on our focus, and making adjustments along the way to stay on course. No one is devoid of opportunities to reach their potential. It takes persistence and an unwavering commitment towards personal excellence, coupled with the necessary self-discipline to grow our success.

Work with those you lead to move improvements up the excellence scale. Work on yourself to do the same. The result of such an effort pays huge dividends and brings a level of satisfaction few reach. Isn’t it time you got your share of this feeling?

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