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Christopher Reeve, 1952-2004, was an extraordinary man. An actor, film director, producer, screenwriter, author and activist. He successfully managed each career track despite his many on and off-screen roles and the life-changing injury that led to quadriplegia. He developed and funded the Reeve-Irvine Research Center to help people with spinal-cord injuries benefit from stem cell research – work which  has led to breakthroughs for 1 in 50 patients  through the use of epidural stimulation.

I love this quote from him, on how to get things every day. “I think we all have a little voice inside us that will guide us… If we shut out all the noise and clutter from our lives and listen to that voice, it will tell us the right thing to do.”

But listening to that voice is only half the battle…

Committing To Consistent Habitual Change To Drive Performance Is Where The Hard Work Starts

The business of running a business is no small feat. There are multiple stakeholders: customers, suppliers, regulatory bodies, investors and shareholders – if you’re lucky. All of these groups want something from you and your business. And you need performance from your people, your suppliers and partners in order to satisfy and delight your current and would-be customers. But how can you drive it further?.

Routine Is Your Friend For Day-To-Day Success

In Alan Brache’s book “How Organizations Work” he shows how the key to achieving performance every day is to routinise the critical tasks that make your business successful.

Here are his five steps to ensuring performance is talked and walked every day:

Step 1. Creating strategic alignment allows you and the team focus on what IS the most important priorities.

Step 2. Refining business processes ensures that the important things get done in the way they are intended to work.

Step 3. Setting goals and measuring performance helps the whole team understand the speed and quality that work needs to be done. This allows each performer to give (and receive) accurate feedback on performance to every person in a meaningful way.

Step 4. Reframing culture will equip every person to see and model what happens when mistakes occur, the financial impact of what their actions leads to (or not?) in pursuit of the strategy, and how innovation gets embedded into every day activities.

Step 5. Managing the capabilities – your team, your partners and your own. This is where Christopher Reeve’s advice comes to bear. If you clearly understand the knowledge, skills and values/beliefs of each person as well as you know your own then it becomes possible to plan for and develop any gaps that the team possesses.

So if every person knows what to do, how they can make a positive difference in the business, then good performance will follow, right? Well, yes and no. Securing lasting commitment to any new routine needs something more to oil the wheels…..

Engagement Galvanises the Team Behind New Initiatives And Is The Key To Long Term Performance Improvement

The 10 drivers of engagement are:

  1. Management interested in employee wellbeing
  2. Skills and capabilities improved over the last year
  3. Reputation of organisation as a good employer
  4. Input into decision making in my team/department
  5. Compensation and benefit programmes generally met my needs
  6. Organisation focus on customer satisfaction
  7. My manager inspires enthusiasm for work
  8. Salary criteria are fair and consistent
  9. Opportunities to learn and develop new skills
  10. Employees understand how to satisfy customers

According to David Macleod and Chris Brady in “The Extra Mile: How to Engage Your People to Win” approximately 23% of the UK workforce is disengaged. If this a fair reflection of your business then your first port of call is to ensure all of these drivers are in place before you can expect the team to make any significant improvements to performance.

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Photo Credit: hard-ly at work by FrogStarB