Are your employees on your wavelength?

3 mins read

It’s one thing to have a personal vision for success but if it doesn’t trickle down to your employees the result can be a workforce that's disengaged and dissatisfied.

That can mean higher staff turnover, lower productivity and a lack of competitive advantage, says Sydney-based executive coach and leadership expert, Revel Gordon.

“For most businesses today, their products are largely undifferentiated,” says Gordon, who has helped develop high-performing cultures within corporate giants such as Google and Rio Tinto, as well as small businesses and digital start-ups.

“The only real source of competitive advantage you've got is the culture you develop and your ability to attract and retain talented people who perform in tune with your organisational goals.”

Here are Gordon's tips for ensuring your vision trickles down.

Focus on the “wildly important”

Outside of day-to-day activities, organisations should never have more than three major initiatives going on at one time, and for smaller businesses, no more than one or two, says Gordon, citing the work of Chris McChesney and Sean Covey.

“All too often I'll ask a business, 'What key things are you focusing on other than business-as-usual work?' And they'll say, 'We've got a dozen major projects',” says Gordon, who is also a Director of the International Coach Federation Australasia.

“That kills motivation, kills engagement and, frankly, you're setting everyone up to fail.”

Instead, focus on no more than three “wildly important” goals within a three- to six-month period and nail them.

“That way you're setting conditions under which people can actually win and feel great about coming to work.”

Motivate people

The second major way to get your employees on your wavelength, says Gordon, is to adopt the Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose (AMP) approach to motivation, which was made famous by Daniel Pink.

Establishing wildly important goals should enable you to tick off the 'purpose' aspect, then when it comes to autonomy, your first job is to resist the urge to micromanage.

“There's nothing as demotivating for talented people than being micromanaged,” says Gordon.

“If you've identified what's wildly important they'll know which direction the ship has to head in so just get out of their way – give them the autonomy.”

Finally, mastery involves allowing your staff to play to their strengths.

“In the words of Jim Collins: 'You want to have the right people on the bus in the right seats',” explains Gordon.

“It's absolutely crucial that you attract people who are fantastic at what they do, and then get them doing work that's aligned with their strengths.”

To give yourself the best chance of working with people who will respond to these approaches, Gordon says it's critical to bring great people into your business in the first place.

“Hiring and attracting talent is a really painful and difficult process,” he says.

“But, in the end, it's not nearly as difficult and painful as bringing the wrong people on board.”

So put a lot of time and energy into making sure recruits have not only the right skills and capabilities, but that they'll be a good cultural fit too.

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Important: This article has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial or taxation situation or needs of any particular individual. Before acting on the information, you should consider its appropriateness to your circumstances and if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. Any information used in this article is for illustrative purposes only. Revel Gordon is an external entity that is not a member of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia Group of Companies (the Group) and the content or any view expressed by Revel Gordon does not represent an endorsement, recommendation, guarantee or advice in regard to any matter. CBA, nor members of the Group accept any liability for losses or damage arising from any reliance on external parties their products, services and material.