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Blog

Adam Hutchison's Blog - just a little space in the world were i air my thoughts on anything and everything i am either involved in or enjoy. Many of you may wish to skip by and ignore my meandering thoughts but others may find them informative...

 

Filtering by Category: My Thoughts

(Press Release) RISK V REWARD THE EMPLOYEE-EMPLOYER CONUNDRUM by Adam Hutchison

Adam Hutchison

Like most of us at some point in our careers, Adam Hutchison woke up one Monday morning dreading the week ahead and wondering if it was all worth it. Unlike most of us, Adam decided to take action. This book is the result …  Available Now on Amazon

Adam Hutchison has learned the hard way how to run a company and manage staff, through wide experience in senior positions in the telecoms and private healthcare sectors. Now he has distilled his knowledge and experience into Risk v Reward, a down-to-earth and straightforward account of what really matters when building a business and improving performance, including: 

Choosing, hiring, managing and retaining staff

Motivating and mentoring

Recognising and managing different personality types

Management structure and how to make it work

Creating and maintaining a culture

The author knows, from experience, that it is people that make a business great, and this book shows how to get the best out of those within your teams. 

Written by a senior executive with wide and varied industry experience. 

Will enable any junior or middle manager to get better results from staff. 

Detailed examples throughout to show how to make it work. 

Author Adam Hutchison says, “What makes a business great? The answer every time is people. People are paramount to any business. This book explores the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of successful people-management. I hope it will help managers and team leaders in businesses of all sizes. Whether they employ 5 people or 5000, my message is the same: human beings need rewards to perform well. Positive comments drive attitudes and behaviours. Forget these simple rules at your own risk!” 

About the author: Adam Hutchison, MA, BSc has spent the last 15 years working in both the private and public sectors, operating within corporate and SME environments, working at the operational level on the front line and doing everything from running departments to operating his own businesses. www.adamhutchison.com Twitter: @adamhutchison80

Media opportunities: Extracts/serialisation. The author is available for interviews. 

Local UK interest: The author is currently based in Solihull (near Birmingham, West Midlands). He has also lived and worked in London and Medway (Kent). 

To request a review copy or to be put in touch with the author, please contact

Elly Donovan PR elly@ellydonovan.co.uk tel: 0790 508 7779 / 01273 205 246 www.ellydonovan.co.uk twitter: @EllyDonovanPR facebook.com/Elly Donovan Linked-In: Elly Donovan PR 

Aggression = Negativity

Adam Hutchison

So who has seen Glengarry Glen Ross and Boiler Rom, 2 of my favourite "How Not To Do It" Sales movies. Yes i have used them in Seminars and training sessions over and over but not for the reasons you would expect.

 

This brings us to some observations I have made in my time, and sad to say so of things I have done myself, I have fallen into the erroneous ways and failed on more than one occasion to get things right in the eyes of my team members. Some areas to consider are as follows, you will have your own ideas but give these two simple approaches a thought:

 

A Simple Hello:

 

As touched on, in the previous section perception of how managers deal with their teams is paramount so ensuring there is less aggression in the delivery. I personally experienced as an employed manager what it was like to be on the end of derogatory comments from your seniors, all this did was essentially drive a demotivated behaviour. As I have experienced this feeling of not wanting to deliver for someone it became easy for me when running my own businesses and discussing with others how negative this can be.

 

Sadly if you have not been through this, you can become blinkered to the fact that as an owner you are even doing anything wrong. The phrase delusions of grandeur is often used, put simply I associate this phrase to aggression. Owner / Directors who have either developed a business themselves or worked in very limited environment may not have the experience of dealing with many employees or even colleagues this is lost in the drive to create their initial vision. What ensues is that as the business grows and employees come on board an almost sense of over importance begins to develop. The treatment of your employees becomes so evident that demotivation can creep in, owners do need to be in strong control yes but not to the detriment to their own end goal.

 

Simple things to follow are

 

         Say hello in the morning

         Ask how someone is? Family? Weekend? Etc

    Learn your people’s personal life (just bullets no life stories required)

 

Simple interaction can go a long way to creating sustainable value with your employees. During my time working in the UK Private Healthcare sector, which is largely seen as a high turnover low expectation industry, I constantly tried to find ways to engage with my staff group through initiatives such as Employee of the Month, Employee of the Year, Performance incentives etc. These all failed to be hit with any real enthusiasm, I couldn’t understand why? This has worked in corporate environments, marketing teams and call centres, what I am doing wrong I thought. So I spoke with long standing managers within the business and asked them for their thoughts on this possible engagement.

 

What came back was interesting, they asked me to attend staff meetings from time to time, thank them for their hard work and organise more regular team gatherings. This seemed all to too simple, why was I thinking so big. The reason was expectation, its not complicated, during the feedback sessions I found that people within the business enjoyed chatting with me as the owner, they welcomed a simple hello or hows your day going? This is evident in all industries sometimes just talking with your staff will be all the engagement they need. Never forget the person touch be visible, be approachable.

 

So in the the following months I took a regular quarterly spot in staff meetings and made the effort to engage with staff on each site visit throughout the year, what I began to see was a change in attitude towards the senior management. The workforce began to feel part of the structure, this was not to blur lines of management, the workforce still understood the hierarchy, but the fact there was more engagement even on these simple terms created instant gratification for their contribution which then reflected in the quality of their work following on. Remember being more approachable galvanises your workforce.

 

Giving Direction:

 

Direction is next on the agenda of simple pointers to breed a positive environment removing the aggressive approaches. If you want someone to do something its best to understand what your outcomes are and what the outcomes are for the employee doing the task. Make people become part of the process being done don’t demand of people without justification, if the goal is common then success is more likely. The passion you have as an owner for a project / product / customer / situation should be ingrained into those around you.

 

A flaw would be to bark orders around and expect results; this in many situations brings an initial spiked reaction but the long term risk identified is demotivation which results in loss of employee engagement which results ultimately in the fact you have to re-recruit. This is of course win win for the recruitment consultant although fail fail for you and your business, recruitment should always be seen as a last resort. We will look at recruitment later but the mindset around recruitment should be changed to only recruiting when you have no other alternative or you are actively growing, therefore the need for more people in desired areas to achieve the goals set out. You should set a president that each time you need to go a recruitment consultant or agency - Ask yourself this question “Why am I recruiting?” the answers are very important and this reflection is the answer to whether replace someone who has left -  there is a problem somewhere? Which needs addressing each time. Why did the person leave, ask yourself and the business what can we improve on to ensure that people stay with the business? Did we do everything we could to ensure that person could grow and be successful with us? Rather than go elsewhere.

 

Sometimes more often than not its personally linked to management and delivery of requests made. Aggression will always be seen as something of a must when it comes to managing people, what you need to ask yourself is why? Why am I being aggressive is it related to something within my control rather their control. Employees are duty bound to follow by example when delivering on instructions, if you as an owner are not clearly following the processes you have laid down or worse have no processes in place then your expectation levels need to be lower. The aggression is just frustrations aired, aggression is just loss of control and loss of control = loss of respect. People can only deliver against clear objectives laid down in the first place by their leaders, this helps with the measurement of tasks long term. But being aggressive in delivery will reduce any chance of a sound measured outcome to any task.

 

Creating clear objectives for yourself and those around you will help achieve this, though well thought out processes to clear outcomes, creating the route map to a goal is key to achieving it. Like with sports teams tactics employed are there to deliver the achievement or end result if you like. In business this is the same your employees need clear directions or tactics to compete in their environment.

The Loyal Employee...

Adam Hutchison

Every small business and / our entrepreneur hopes to have loyal employees. Yet loyalty has absolutely nothing to do with length of employment, following on in almost summary from the previous sections there is some real hot points which can help the understanding of what constitutes loyal employe furthermore what to look out for.

Who is more loyal:

         The 10-year employee who does just enough to get by, criticises you and your business at work and at home, and frequently and not-so-subtly undermines your decisions, or

         The six-month employee who genuinely embraces where you want to go and works hard every day to help you and your company succeed?

While experience matters, I'll take the six-month employee every time. Loyal employees are loyal to your company. They work hard for their pay and are committed to your company's success. Loyal employees may someday leave, but while they work for you, they do their best and often even put the company's interests ahead of their own. Phenomenally loyal employees hit the next level. They aren't just loyal to the company. They're also loyal to you even though their loyalty can be displayed in surprising ways.

The most loyal employees:

Tell you what you least want to hear. As a general rule, the more rungs on the ladder that separate you and an employee, the less likely that employee will be to disagree with you. For example, your direct reports may sometimes take a different position or even tell you that you're wrong. Their direct reports are much less likely to state a position other than yours.

And entry-level employees will sing directly from the company songbook, at least when you're the audience.

Truly loyal employees know that you most need to hear what you least want to hear: that your ideas may not work, that your point of view is off, that you made a mistake.

They'll tell you because they know that, though you may not care much for what you hear, you care tremendously about doing what is best for your company and your employees.

Treat you like a person. Remember when you were in grade school and you ran into your teacher at, say, the grocery store? It was weird. She wasn't supposed to exist outside of school. You didn't see your teacher as someone who wore shorts and had friends and wore an AC/DC T-shirt and actually had a life.

Your teacher wasn't a person; she was a teacher.

Lots of employees see you that way, too--they don't see you as someone with dreams and hopes, insecurities and fears.

You're not a person; you're a boss.

Genuinely loyal employees flip the employer-employee relationship: They know you want to help them reach their professional and personal goals and that you want what's best for them--and they also want what's best for you, both at work and in your personal life.

They see you as more than just a boss, and they treat you that way.

Never criticise you in front of others. "Bash the boss" is a game almost every employee plays, at least occasionally. (One of your employees is probably talking about you right now.) Partly they criticize you because it's a way of letting off steam, but mostly they do it because we all think, at least some of the time, that we can do a better job than the person we work for. Criticism, mocking, sniping--when you're in charge, those things come with the territory.

They also chip away at the respect you work so hard to deserve. Loyal employees get that. They don't gossip, they don't snipe, they don't talk behind your back--they give you the respect that they expect to receive, even when you're not around.

Yet they still disagree--only in private. Debate is healthy. Disagreement is healthy. Weighing the pros and cons of a decision, playing devil's advocate, sharing opinions--every leader wants to hear what his or her team thinks. It's not just enlightening; it's stimulating.

Truly loyal employees trust that they can share their opinions as freely as you do. In fact, they trust that you want them to--because you and the company benefit from an honest exchange of differing opinions and points of view. But once a decision is made...

Totally support your decisions--and you--in public.I guarantee you've been in at least one meeting where someone says, "Look, I don't think this is the right thing to do, but I've been told we're going to do it anyway. So let's at least give it our best shot."

After that little speech, does anyone ever give it their best shot? Even when they disagree with a decision, loyal employees don't try to prove you wrong. They do everything they can to prove you right.

Tell you when they need to leave. I've never known an incredibly loyal employee who wasn't also just a plain-old incredible employee. Because of that, you want them to stay. You need them to stay.

Still, sometimes they need to leave--for a better opportunity, a different lifestyle, to enter a new field, or to start their own business. But they also know their departure will create a tremendous hole, so they let you know what they're thinking to give you plenty of time to prepare. Granted, if an employee is willing to tell you well ahead of time she plans to leave, or is just thinking about leaving, it means she trusts you to an exceptional degree. Clearly she knows you won't start to treat her differently or fire her on the spot.

She trusts you because she's been loyal to you. After all, she has put your interests ahead of hers a number of times--and now she knows you'll do the same for her. And if you won't, what kind of boss are you? The kind that doesn't deserve loyal employees. Be the kind of boss that earns loyalty because you are loyal not in return, but first.

The Big C - Communication

Adam Hutchison

So we begin to look at communications, why so late on? Well its because communication between employers and their employees is almost the final string of the bow as many of the initial tasks become a working reality. If you were to ask any employee about a key challenge within their current work environment most often often communication issues will top of the list - or maybe 2nd behind benefits, I hope we have covered this earlier on. There is so much available on the subject out in the ether but not all seemed to be adhered to sadly. So why do businesses still face issues when it comes to communication?

Many believe this is infact because it is always reviewed from the communicators / business owners point of view rather than that of the listeners / employee’s point of view. Any communicator must understand the needs and perspectives of those in which they wish to communicate with. So the information in which is being shared with any individuals must be of interest, useful or simply relevant to their daily activity. We go to that word “engagement’ again - is the communication engaging employees to listen and process effectively, or sadly are they just switching off.

Some points for communication can include these following 4 steps heavily discussed in Dale Carnegie's training on Leadership and management.

  1. Entertain - Make the verbatim interesting to listen to, be humorous or include interesting facts related to the subject matter. I personally have always found video a great way to engage during communication especially in large groups. With multiple clips on any subject matter available on Youtube it is always a good engagement tool to link in a pithy video into your communications. During sales briefings on getting the most out your day - I would always refer to a clip from the Will Smith film “In the pursuit of Happyness” the film has great moment about selling and how to achieve more in less time. It worked overtime to get people on board to next part of the communication.
  2. Inform - Once people are engagement make sure it is then informative in the next steps. The last thing you need is meetings for meetings sake, this gets your and your teams nowhere and essentially wastes time.
  3. Convince - Make sure that the people your are engaging with listen and take on board the specifics of your communication. Compelling people to act on the communication, or indeed encourage the additional input with the current meeting. Remember discussion is good.
  4. Communicate to Action - This is the next steps, the energy behind the communication. Always having an outcome in mind before communicating is essential to allow some measurement on whether the communication was successful and whether it needs changing for the next attempt. A goal must be communicated for the the individuals to achieve.

More often than not what happens is that an action or measurement is never identified by the communication. What will likely happen is a disappointment from the communicator / presenter because the goal they wanted is not achieved. Furthermore frustration from the employees as they are confused by the communication as not demonstrating a benefit to them or their work environment. The next steps must be clear and concise, well planned in advance of the communication. This preparation will bring more valuable outcomes for all concerned.

 

There is risks still with communication with a desire to always avoid telling or what I call one-way contact. I was brought up with this and from the very first paragraph it has been discuss that you can’t order people around and expect the best results. You always have to be concerned about who is listening and what are their perspectives in the communication. Some may think this is a lot to put into a message but you have to look at the risks of not doing it properly, poor delivery of communication will only lead to one definite outcome - no passion for delivery, poor outcomes and a frustrated workforce. So like or not you have to engage with employees on their level getting them to buy into whatever you are selling.

So communication is business critical for a businesses success, as business leaders everyone can continually improve their focus and purpose of communications. Always presenting an ideal of why the communication is important, clear concise points which benefit those who are listening in a way which achieves an outcome. 

In your next meeting follow a couple of simple new steps and see how you get on this time with what return you gain:

First, actually plan the discussion, pinpoint your outcomes and engage them with the listeners. Second, find some interesting content whether it be video or event quotations from well known outlets (these are easy to find on the internet) and finally engage in discussions on the goals for the listeners allowing them to buy in to the message at hand. This will work for every meeting, 1-2-1 or presentation you intend on communicating in.