Why is Energy Important in the workplace?
By Shari Bench
By Shari Bench
May 20, 2010 – Everything is energy. Energy is powerful enough to
create your success or promote your demise. Everything you involve
yourself in is a result of the energy you contribute.
May 20, 2010 – Everything is energy. Energy is powerful enough to create your success or promote your demise. Everything you involve yourself in is a result of the energy you contribute. How you contribute to your professional environment is as important as what you contribute. You may have the experience, knowledge, skill, and a long history of success; however, if you approach a new project, a meeting, a new job, an employee, your boss, or a customer with infected/negative energy, you should also be prepared to take responsibility for the consequences.
Some experts will claim energy is neither positive nor negative, rather all energy was neutral and only has the ability to take on the form in which you give it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is you do have the power to choose how you exert your own energy, but you do not always have the ability to prevent encountering others’ negative energy. Sometimes it is easy to see how others affect you, but many times you may not even realize the effect others are having on you. Creating an awareness of how situations or people make you feel can help correct or deflect this negative energy.
As a leader, your energy can determine the success of a meeting, a workday or even your overall company. If you have an employee or co-worker who is struggling, have you considered how much responsibility you have in their performance?
If you have chosen the privilege and responsibility to supervise others, how are you dealing with your negative employees? Negativity is contagious. It may seem as if dealing with negative people is easier to simply ignore them. However, it’s important to remember that many people are not aware of how negative energy is affecting them. Therefore, your negative employees may be consciously or sub-consciously expanding their negativity and influencing the behavior of others.
Wake up Leaders! Look in the mirror. What are you contributing to your personal and professional life? How do you protect those you are responsible for, as well as your overall company, to ensure they have the positive, working environment they deserve?
Begin with yourself!
There are very common questions to help evaluate the energy you may be contributing. Are you generally a positive or negative person? Do you have a high or low energy level? How do others respond to you; relaxed or tense? Do you find yourself being judgmental of others or open and accepting of diversity and new ideas? Do you harbor anger rather than letting these feeling go? Do you feel mostly happy or sad and frustrated? Are you a nice person?
Awareness is a great advocate for improvement. As leader, you should care about creating a positive environment. As an employee concerned with your current work environment, consider you are as responsible for creating a positive environment as your boss and your co-workers. Therefore, by simply taking time over the next week to observe others, you may create a new awareness of the type of energy that is most common in your department or company.
Dealing with negativity
How a leader deals with energy can directly determine how well an employee performs. The majority of employees spend most of their waking day at work. Most employees want to feel good about their workplace. Identifying a negative person does not have to result in turnover. The reality is if you begin with yourself, many others will naturally follow your lead and contribute toward a positive environment. However, if you identify a negative employee who is not supporting the environment you are expecting to create, it is critical to deal with this behavior. If after giving the employee an opportunity to improve, they do not respond favorably, as a leader you cannot ignore this behavior. Allowing this employee to continue contributing negative energy will quickly infect the energy of other employees and yourself.
Evaluate your management style and look for ways to create a positive, supportive, and rewarding process. Reward the positive improvements and mentor the employees who are not exceeding expectations. Positive reinforcement can quickly shift energy and build momentum toward your desired results.
Energize your team
A typical workday can drain the energy out of your employees. Look for ways to create energy boosts throughout the day, in meetings, and throughout projects. This can be as simple as frequent short breaks, laughter, creating a very open environment where fresh ideas and creativity is rewarded.
The relationships you align in life reflect who you are. You are defined by your relationships in your personal life and most certainly within your professional career. If you find the majority of your employees are tired or your team is having difficulty with exceeding expectations and creating momentum, seriously consider evaluating the energy flowing within your company. Do not wait for others to create the positive, rewarding, motivating environment that you have had the power to create all along. A positive environment is a healthy environment.
Shari Bench is a certified trainer and author of the forthcoming book, “Five Essentials of Transformation; Change your life one thought at a time.” Her many programs on leadership, career enhancement, relationships, and health and wealth break down the barriers to create incredible results. For more information, please visit www.effectivetransformation.com.
"Hope" Is Not a Strategy
Trigger Points Provide the Key to Changing Your Company's Performance Levels
By Lee Froschheiser
There's nothing wrong with having "hope," but clearly "hope" is not a business strategy, a fact that's become very evident in recent history, given these tough economic times. Nationwide, company owners who've casually relied upon "hope" as a viable way to manage or turn around business have suffered serious professional consequences. Some have faced cutbacks in terms of services, products and staff; others have closed their doors for good.
Fortunately, there is still "hope" for countless other leaders who are looking for a simple but powerful way to measure the health of their business.
The strategy is based around setting "trigger points," which are measurements specifically created to signal important changes in critical performance levels. Trigger points are established to align with a company's Vital Factors, the specific, key indicators of a business' health. By monitoring trigger points, leaders can take immediate corrective action and avoid the serious consequences of not acting quickly enough.
So what do trigger points look like, and how do they work? There's a perfect example in the story of what happened to a prominent Big Ten football coach a few years back. After a miserable losing streak, the university had some decisions to make about whether or not to keep the head coach on board, so they brought in an interim athletic director to help. At this point, there were four games left in the season, so the interim athletic director set performance triggers in place. If the coach won all four games, they would move forward, keeping him in charge. If he lost one game, corrective action would be necessary. If he lost two out of four, he could expect serious consequences in terms of his job security, and if he lost all four, the head coach would need to get his resume together immediately.
Under the leadership of this Big Ten coach, the football team lost the final four games of the season. When the coach was fired, the interim athletic director held a press conference, at which a reporter asked him if the coach had been surprised about being let go. The answer was "No." The process of setting these performance triggers in place had removed the subjectivity out of the issue, established expectations, and made it very clear what consequences there would be for either success or failure.
When a company follows this lead, it's the management's responsibility to develop effective corrective actions attached to the trigger points. Doing so eliminates the emotion that can come when goals are not met. Companies should set five to seven performance triggers that are focused on the most vital areas of their business. Examples of company triggers include revenue, profit, cash flow, customer satisfaction and employee retention.
For instance, a manufacturing company wanted to set up trigger points, and one of those trigger points was related to revenue. So the CEO decided that if revenue fell below $2.5 million two months in a row, the trigger would "turn on," alerting everyone in the company that immediate corrective action was necessary. In the case of this particular financial shortfall, the options for corrective action included increasing sales goals, cutting overhead or a combination of the two. After two months, the benchmark was not achieved, so corrective action was taken to increase sales goals. Then revenue suffered a third month, so the CEO eliminated overhead by cutting back on staff. As a leader, this CEO had to look for solutions that would protect profits and maintain business viability. Of note, he could have opted to take no action – a decision that's an action in and of itself – however, this can be the riskiest decision that a leader makes.
While many companies may set expectations around their Vital Factors, where they fall short is putting in place these important trigger points, which put the leadership on alert and force a decision point. Yet without trigger points, it's impossible to know when to be proactive and how your company is truly performing. Running a business without trigger points in place is also highly stressful because when the "hope" fails, which it will at some point, the floor drops from under you. That's scary to say the least, and everyone knows that the biggest mistakes are often made when you're fearful, under intense pressure, or facing major time constraints.
While the economic downturn has exposed the fact that countless companies have used "hope" as a strategy for operating business, it's also been a major game changer. Savvy business leaders are modifying company systems and management behaviors, putting tools in place that really work. As mentioned, performance triggers should correlate to major Vital Factors, but they should also be designed to work on the micro level, such as with specific projects and programs.
Like the alarm system you "wished you had installed," performance triggers may have been something you've overlooked in the past. And you're not alone if that's the case – many other company heads haven't recognized the need. But now you know why they're crucial to a company's livelihood. Putting trigger points in place today could be the best small action you might ever take to save your business from crisis and drive it into a permanent position of success.
Six Steps to Establishing Trigger Points
- Establish trigger points that relate directly to your company's Vital Factors, specific measurements of your business' health.
- Set no less than five, no more than seven, trigger points for entire company, aligned to your Vital Factors.
- Have your trigger points reflect "stop gaps," the minimum thresholds.
- Base trigger points on a two-month trend (three months, if possible), for example:
- "Cash flow is negative two months in a row."
- "Revenue misses goal by five percent two months in a row."
- Backlog drops below $__ amount of dollars two months in a row."
- Have triggers that are both lagging and leading. For example, revenues over the past two months would be a lagging indicator of your company's health while backlogged work would be a leading indicator of your company's health.
- Set the target for taking corrective action passed on the number of triggers being pulled.
Two or three triggers are "pulled" two months in a row; or
Four triggers are "pulled" within a month.
Note: Your company can also define a "trigger" as a single event – e.g., it could be the loss of a major client.
Lee Froschheiser, president and CEO of Management Actions Programs (MAP), works with premiere business leaders and companies nationwide. Lee is also co-author of the best-selling book, "Vital Factors, The Secret to Transforming Your Business – And Your Life." For over 50 years MAP has helped 160,000 leaders and 13,000 organizations create sustainable results using the powerful combination of the unique MAP Programä, business coaching and consulting services. For more information, visit http://www.mapconsulting.com or call 888.834.3040.