For my first Olympic-distance triathlon, I trained with a good friend twice a day, six days a week.
We scheduled our training round each other’s personal and work schedules. During our weekly training, we found that our strengths complemented each other very well:
- I was the morning person who would give him a wake-up call to meet for our training before going to work.
- We had about the same pace when swimming in a pool.
- He was a stronger runner than me, so he paced me well.
- I was the stronger on the bicycle, so I would pace him well.
- We enjoyed each other’s company, so it made all the hard training go by quickly. It didn’t even seem like we were training hard.
While a training partner helped me immensely as I prepared for triathlons, for many years I was doing my company’s business planning alone and in a vacuum. Not good!
Eventually, I finally came to understand the importance and value of getting our employees involved in the planning and decision-making process.
That’s why I introduced company-wide ON/IN as our approach to doing business. Simply stated, the ON/IN principle is:
– Bobby Albert
If leaders don’t take time to proactively plan – and include their people in the planning and decision-making process, their employees will become dissatisfied and frustrated.
The Employee Lament
Within many – or perhaps even most – organizations, you can frequently hear the “Employee Lament” …
We the uninformed,
working for the inaccessible,
are doing the impossible
for the ungrateful! – Jim Lundy
A manager who is well-meaning, dedicated, and hard-working, needs to know they have employees who need to feel involved, understood, and appreciated.
Every leader can avoid the “Employee Lament” by answering five questions for their employees.
Every employee wants answers to the following five essential questions from their leaders:
- Where is the company headed?
- What is my role in this effort?
- How is my performance going to be evaluated?
- How have I been doing?
- How could I do better?
Employees want more than just being told, told, told!
They want to be asked to think. They want to be involved in the decision-making process. They want access to their supervisors, input into the setting of objectives, and recognition for their achievements.
Five Questions Leaders Need to Ask Themselves
As the leader, how well do you interact with your employees? How about asking yourself the following five questions:
- How am I doing as a leader?
- Would my employees identify with the “Employees’ Lament”?
- How could I be more effective as a leader?
- How would I like to work for me?
- How would I like to have myself as a supervisor?
What are you doing to work ON, not just IN, your business?
By the way in my first triathlon, I finished next-to-last place. I would have gotten last place, if not for the encouragement I received from my good friend. When I was some distance from the finished line, he started hollering at me to pick-up the pace because a girl was right behind me!
How well do you, as the leader, answer the five employee questions listed above? Do your employees work well as a team? How would you like to work for you? Please share your thoughts <here>.