Ken tells of the time when he was a college professor, he was always in trouble because he gave the final exam out the first day of class. When the faculty questioned him about that, he told them that not only would he share the final exam at the beginning of the semester, but he would also teach them the answers, so that when his students got to the final exam, they'd get As.
I love this philosophy. As part of my mission to help create great leaders and empowering workplaces, in addition to short courses on emotional intelligence, customer service excellence and organisational culture change, I deliver and assess certification programs on project and frontline management. In these programs, my goal is always to help my students complete with flying colours.
It's not about giving them the answers, but I always ensure they first start with a clear end in mind. We then work hard together to ensure that they understood the material and had the confidence and motivation to apply what they'd learned for an even better outcome in their jobs and in their lives.
I also believe that if all managers were to adopt this philosophy with their staff at work, not only would their staff and business stand to be more successful, but they would also create an environment high on staff engagement.
When Ken shared his story with Garry Ridge, President/CEO of WD-40 Company, Garry was moved to change the culture at WD-40 Company by implementing a business philosophy he called "Don't Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A." As a result of this program, in 2010 WD-40 Company had the greatest financial year in the history of the company. At the same time, they handed out an internal employee satisfaction survey, which 98 percent of their people (over 60 nations) filled out. The results were overwhelmingly positive. One survey statement said: "At WD-40 Company, I am treated with respect and dignity." Over 98.7 percent said "true" to that statement.
I hope this inspires you as much as it does me!
Here are few reflections for you today:
- How clear is your staff or project team member about your expectations of the results you expect them to deliver and the behaviours you expect them to exhibit that give them an "A" grading at the end of year or project performance appraisal?
- Are you both clearly aligned on these expectations?
- How well is your staff member tracking relative to such expectations?
- How effective are you in giving them feedback on what's working well and what's not to ensure that they stay on the road to success?
So today, decide to either make or reaffirm a commitment to helping make your staff member a resounding success by aligning on expectations and proactively providing them with effective feedback and coaching to keep them on track!