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Maset News

Volume 50  May 27, 2005

Introduction
Message From Charles Loew
Comments From Our Readers
New On The Maset Web Site
Tips for New Employee Integration
Tips from Our School for Managers
One Liners
Feature Of This Issue
Second Feature Of This Issue
Third Feature Of This Issue
Coming in the Next Few Issues
Housekeeping

INTRODUCTION:

Welcome to MASET News. A monthly publication dedicated to the communication between MASET and our many interested friends, customers and potential customers

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MESSAGE FROM CHARLES LOEW:

  • Our feature article this month is titled "A story of compassion" and is one of those that I received in my e-mail. I am sure you each receive a lot of these stories and jokes in your e-mail and many trash them. Some are pretty good and do provide a moment of joy and a moment to ponder the thoughts. This story really moved me and I kept if for a few months trying to decide if it is worth adding to the MASET NEWS. It is not just a story to ponder it is the opportunity for each of us to look in the mirror and honestly say to our selves "Have I forgotten how to treat my fellow Human Beings? It is just as applicable in our personal lives as it is in our professional activities. Please let me have your thoughts on the article.
  • Our second article this month covers the need and a possible way to Build Lasting Employee Commitment. As a result of the down turn during the last five years the larger organizations have been reducing their work force and demanding more from existing employees. The pendulum has started to swing the other way and the issue now is "why should I have any commitment to my employer because they do not care about the employees at all." The article addresses some options organizations have and some steps they can take to increase employee commitment.
  • Our third article this month is the continuation of understanding the reasons that we are sometimes not as effective in our sales abilities as we would like to be. The "Enlarged Approval Gland" is a manifestation of our desire to please individuals instead of helping them make a decision. Do you have an "Enlarged Approval Gland" and would you like to remove it from your personality? See how it can be done.
  • One of our associates is the HRworkbench and they are conducting a world wide research project on the 360-Degree process. They have asked me to invite anyone who is in the HR community to participate in this survey. The following describes the purpose of the survey and provides instructions on how to take the survey. You might also go to our web page at http://www.masetllc.com/diagnostic/global.shtml

    Be part of creating industry statistics about best practice in 360-Degree Profiling projects.

    In order to gather a useful database of the current trends in the uses and abuses of 360-Degree projects, online Human Resources Company, HRworkbench, has designed two surveys aimed at both Human Resources Consultants and Internal Human Resources Practitioners.

    360-Degree Profiling and Feedback has been the business of "the Bench" folks for over 15 years. They have a great deal of experience in this valuable process.

    Following their "best practice" model of implementing a 360-Degree Profiling project ensures that you are in a position to capitalize on all of the great benefits a well run 360-Degree Profiling project can deliver.

    Why then, have we heard of projects that did not run so well? The best way to gain answers to this question is to gather data from those in the field, running both successful and not so successful 360-Degree Profiling projects.

    The result of the surveys will be used as a catalyst for a major market awareness campaign. As part of this campaign, HRworkbench shares some of their knowledge about how to run a successful 360 project through a new campaign web site dedicated purely to the ins and outs of 360.

    As a HR Professional, you can either take part in the surveys about 360-Degree projects and gain free access to the results, or, if you are unable to participate in the survey, you can choose to purchase the results online once they are available.

    If you are interested in either of these options, visit "the Bench" 360-Degree Profiling campaign web site at http://www.hrworkbench.co.uk/c5h.html and follow the instructions to register as a survey participant or to express your interest in receiving the survey results.

COMMENTS FROM OUR READERS:

  • "MASET NEWS is excellent - all of it." - South Dakota

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NEW ON THE MASET WEB SITE:

There are no significant changes to the web site this month

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Tips for New Employee Integration
Provided by Orientation Passport

TIP 3: Productivity Tools
Prior to starting get the new hire their E-mail address, password, telephone number, ID card, corporate credit card, a department organization chart, and a telephone directory. Have these available on the start date.

TIP 4: How to Anticipate and Answer
Give them access to the company orientation before they start to work so they can learn about the organization and its benefits.

Visit the Products and Services describing the Orientation Passport

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Tips from Our School for Managers
- by Andrew E. Schwartz

LEADERSHIP - JUGGLING DEMANDS:

All leaders constantly juggle a multifarious array of demands from those of their organization, employees, and themselves. Good leaders, never drop one demand at the expense of another equally important requirement. They give each demand its fair share, while balancing the organizational goals with their employees' needs, while still fulfilling their own personal/professional purposes. Successful leaders meet both these business and personal needs through their employees. They learn about their employee's aspirations, their strengths and potential contributions to the organization. From this knowledge, they mesh together a successful working team. Sounds easy, doesn't it? For starters, it becomes much easier if you know your organization.

Copyright A.E. Schwartz & Associates, all rights reserved
For more information: Charles.Loew@masetllc.com

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ONE LINERS - "To make you think and/or smile"

  • Death is hereditary
  • The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlamp of an approaching train.

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FEATURE OF THIS ISSUE:


A story of compassion
Received in my e-mail from a friend

A story of compassion By Unknown

You make the choice don't look for a punch line. There isn't one. Read it anyway. My question to all of you is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended.

After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question.

"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people treat that child."

Then he told the following story: Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball.

Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?"

Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging. Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay could play.

The boy looked around for guidance and, getting none, he took matters into his own hands and said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning."

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the outfield.

Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher took the ball and turned and threw the ball on a high arc to right field, far beyond the reach of the first baseman.

Everyone started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!"

Never in his life had Shay ever made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"

By the time Shay rounded first base, the right fielder had the ball.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions and intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head.

Shay ran toward second base as the runners ahead of him deliriously circled the bases toward home.

Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to him, turned him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third!"

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams were screaming, "Shay, run home!"

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand slam" and won the game for his team.

"That day," said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face," the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world."

AND, NOW A LITTLE FOOTNOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people think twice about sharing.

The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

If you're thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you're probably sorting out the people on your address list that aren't the "appropriate" ones to receive this type of message.

Well, the person who sent you this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the "natural order of things."

So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice:

Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up that opportunity, and leave the world a little bit colder in the process?

You now have two choices:
1. Do nothing.
2. Pass this on to the people you know and those you care about.

You already know the choice I opted for.

Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

SECOND FEATURE OF THIS ISSUE:


Building Lasting Employee Commitment
By Rebecca Westphal

There is an old proverb, "ask and you shall receive". These days, the proverb might be more aptly changed to, "give and you shall receive". In today's working environment, organizations must increase their dedication to staff and levels of leadership if they wish to achieve employee commitment.

Bob Selden, Director of the National Learning Institute says, "When I started my first job way back in the last century, 'commitment' was not an issue - one became 'committed' the moment one signed on the dotted line.

"In those days, joining an organization (particularly a large one) was seen as a career/life move. However, with the deregulation movement (of everything!) of the 80s and now the move to globalization, full time employment is transitory. The result is that employee commitment is not bought with a salary (nor is it expected), but rather earned through the actions of the people who lead the organization."

For employees, commitment is based on a number of factors*:

  • Sufficiency of pay, benefits and rewards
  • Family oriented policies and actions
  • Quality of the supervisory relationship
  • Favorable developmental training and experiences
  • Promotions
  • Clearly stated guidelines defining appropriate work behaviour and job demands
  • Participation in goal setting
  • Receipt of performance feedback
  • Supportive communications with immediate supervisors and upper management
  • Procedural justice in performance-appraisal decisions
  • Evaluative and objective measures of performance

*(Patrick D. Lynch, Rober Eisenberger and Stephen Armeli, Perceived Organizational support: Inferior Versus Superior Performance by Wary Employees, Journal of Applied Psychology 1999 Vo. 54 No. 4 pp 467 - 483)

When these things are in place, employees are willing to work harder, perform duties beyond requirements, remain in their organization for a longer period of time, and even have less absences from work (Patrick D. Lynch, Rober Eisenberger and Stephen Armeli, Perceived Organizational support: Inferior Versus Superior Performance by Wary Employees, Journal of Applied Psychology 1999 Vo. 54 No. 4 pp 467 - 483; Lisa Hope Pelled and Katherine R. Xin, Down and Out: An investigation of the Relationship Between mood and Employee Withdrawal Behavior, Journal of Management, 1999 Vol. 25 No. 6 pp. 875 - 895).

Bob Selden defines employee commitment simply as staff being, "continually motivated to achieve results and satisfied to see their future with the organization over time."

The benefits of such commitment are clear. But how do organizations gain and support the commitment of its people?

In "Built to Last" (Collins & Porras; Harper 1994), Collins et al when tracking successful companies which had survived and thrived for over 100 years (and are still successful today), clearly demonstrated that, "Visionary companies pursue a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one - and not necessarily the primary one. Yes they seek profits, but they are equally guided by a core ideology…. The crucial variable is not the content of a company's ideology, but how deeply it believes its ideology and how consistently it lives, breathes and expresses it in all that it does." This last point is the responsibility of the leader and is the essence of employee commitment.

In order to ensure that company ideology remains the living breath of the organization, it is vital to be able to measure commitment, taking on board feedback and gauging subtle organizational changes. Without measurement, an organization cannot find the gaps in commitment and improve.

With this in mind, Bob Selden developed CHECKpointTM, the organizational climate survey that assesses and tracks employee commitment regularly over time. The team at "the Bench" packaged a simple but effective report and made the questionnaire available online.

The initial development of CHECKpointTM was based on the work of two of the most influential social psychologists of the last 50 years - D.C. McLelland and F Hertzberg - and in particular looked at two factors:

  • Motivating Factors - those things that provide people with real motivation at work
  • Satisfying Factors - those things that keep people happy and satisfied at work

But this is only half the story. How do people get to be "motivated" and "satisfied" and what are the results? So, to these two factors were added:

  • Leadership - how well the people are provided with direction, leadership, and a sense of "team"
  • Customer Focus - how well the people are servicing and reaching customers (both external and internal)

Take a closer look at these four areas, and you'll discover that each of the employee commitment factors mentioned earlier is covered in one of these areas.

The resulting report outlines the responses for each of the questions in these four areas, specifically highlighting "alarm bell" areas that need immediate attention. The team at "the Bench" designed these alarm bells to start ringing where the average agreement rating for a question is low, but the average importance rating is high so that problem areas are easily identifiable and actionable.

HRworkbench VAR, Carlo Calleri, introduced The CHECKpointTM to a mid-sized accounting practice based in Perth, Western Australia, that currently has a turnover $3.5 -$4.0 million per annum. Over the past 6-8 months, the firm had experienced great staff turnover, resulting in significant costs ($15-20K per person in recruitment, induction, and technical training), lost productivity, and client disruption.

"My approach to was to undertake an organizational Health Check," says Carlo. "This Health Check used two separate data gathering techniques:

  • Interviews to be conducted with the leadership team of the practice
  • Survey the staff as to what they felt about working at the practice."

Carlo was able to use an integrated approach, using the CHECKpointTM as a starting point to on-sell his own consulting work in the form of one-on-one interviews with each of the questionnaire participants. He was delighted to find that the results of the questionnaire, quantitative data, were directly mirrored in the results of his interviews, qualitative data; strengthening the validity of his consulting.

Because the report provides responses not only on how the organization scores on each of the 25 factors, but also how important these factors are to respondents, and then provides suggestions for what do next, Consultants are given a helpful guide to transform results into action.

Carlo says, "It was very easy to interpret the results and work with the client to put some plans in place to start addressing issues contained in the report."

He also notes, "The partners of the firm found the survey very easy to read, navigate, and discuss. "

The advantage of this kind of comprehensive reporting is that the Consultant or HR Professional using the CHECKpointTM doesn't have to be an organizational health expert.

"Most consultants do not conduct organizational health surveys. When an existing client wants a survey, they are therefore likely to bypass the regular consultant to go to a specialist (or at best ask for a referral). With CHECKpointTM in their kit bag, every consultant now has the ability to provide their client with an additional service and not miss out on key business," says Bob Selden.

It's a key business that Consultants can't afford not to include in their repertoires, and it's important that they have a survey that differentiates them from the market.

The first major point of difference of the CHECKpointTM is the cost. Most organizational health surveys carried out by specialists have over 100 questions that have to be analysed by the Consultant before they can produce a report - so, they are expensive and time consuming. This means that they are often only carried out every two-three years.

The CHECKpointTM only has 25 questions that can be answered in 10 minutes, producing an instantaneous report. The low cost and ease of completion means that the CHECKpointTM can be carried out regularly; best practice suggests quarterly.

The combination of the regular pulse, the prioritization of factors, and action points means that the CHECKpointTM allows organizations to actually do something with their results.

Carlo Calleri, and his accounting practice client, were able to use the CHECKpointTM to identify:

  • What factors were important to the Organization's staff that would keep them motivated whilst working at the Organization
  • Assess whether the direction being taken by the firm was going to address those items that were of concern to the staff
  • How many staff were neither satisfied or dissatisfied with the working environment at the Organization. This proved to be one of the most important items highlighted by the survey because it showed that much of the staff were sitting on the fence. Carlo could then use his expertise to help build strategies to bring those "swinging voters" to the positive side of the fence!

But the story doesn't stop there. Bob Selden and "the Bench" recognize the importance of the human factor in any kind of health survey, so the reports often suggest implementing group facilitating processes, allowing Consultants to on-sell their specific services.

Carlo Calleri tells us that he, "recently conducted a workshop with the partners where the Survey results were used as the basis of 2005 business planning."

This is the kind of dedication organizations need to show to their staff if they wish to build employee commitment that will last. And when they do, they surely will receive.

Rebecca Westphal, Curriculum and Communications Manager, HRworkbench Ptd Ltd.

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RxSales: An Expert Performance SystemTM

Hey Mikey, He Likes It!
By Linda Stimac, Author, RxSales: An Expert Performance System

Before the advent of remotes or TIVO, when people dutifully watched advertisements on television, the makers of Life Cereal spent a lot of money to acquaint viewers in the USA with three little boys having breakfast. Two older boys carefully watched their little brother toy with a bowl of a new breakfast cereal. It was obvious that the boy had a reputation for being a very discerning eater. Would he try it? What would he do? They leaned closer, they stared, and one said to the other, in near disbelief, "Hey Mikey, He Likes It!"

Sales professionals who are troubled with an Enlarged Approval Gland say something similar when they return to the office after a sales call. It sounds like this: "Hey, Bill, they loved it!" or, "Nancy, she said that my presentation was the best she's ever heard. I just know we will get this sale."

If salespeople become too focused on whether their prospects and clients like them (or, by extension, their presentations), then healthy approval seeking behavior moves into a troublesome realm called Need for Approval. An Enlarged Approval Gland is too much of a good thing. Everyone, including a sales professional, likes approval and appreciation. Applause is good for the soul. But when "I enjoy it" becomes "I must have it," an addictive-type behavior takes center stage.

The condition makes it difficult for the sales professional to see the reality of many sales situations. A film-like screen separates the professional from the prospective client. If the prospect is not going to make a decision, the salesperson doesn't realize it. If the sale is going nowhere fast, the salesperson is oblivious. Why? Because, in the salesperson's mind, it is most important to make a friend.

Unhealthy approval-seeking behavior is deep rooted. Dr. Wayne Dyer, author of Your Erroneous Zones, devotes an entire chapter, called "You Don't Need Their Approval," to this topic. According to Dr. Dyer, several factors can foster a heightened need for approval:


1. Our culture reinforces a mindset that advises people to "check it out" with other people before acting. Independent, decisive people are often painted as uncaring and inconsiderate. Song lyrics are filled with approval seeking. Remember "As Long As He Needs Me," " People Who Need People," and "I Can't Live If Living Is Without You"?
2. Parents who withhold approval as a condition of discipline or, conversely, dole it out sparingly, only when a child's behavior exceeds expectations, can be the source of this condition. At the age of thirty-nine, a well established sales professional can still be trying to get mom or dad's approval, but now, living vicariously through prospective clients.
3. Institutions (such as higher education) encourage dependent behavior. Want to plan your university curriculum? Make sure your high school guidance counselor approves of your choice because if s(he) does, you might get a scholarship.

When families and culture foster approval seeking, it is not surprising that many people in the sales profession place too much emphasis on what other people think - to the detriment of their own sales performance.

What to do? In our program (RxSales: An Expert Performance System™), the first step is acknowledgement - that the approval gland has indeed become enlarged. This happens when salespeople receive their lab results (The CheckUp™) and discover this early warning sign. As a prescriptive learning program, the salesperson identifies possible sources in order to better understand the severity of the condition. Finally, self-awareness becomes the best tonic, enabling the sales professional to become more vigilant and shorten their own reaction time. This happens because of an effective web-based learning program and personal coaching.

I was reminded of Mikey the other day when a financial advisor, who completed the RxSales learning program in 1994, wrote me. Today, she is a partner in one of the most successful and profitable investment companies in the western part of the United States. More than ten years ago, when she discovered that she had an Enlarged Approval Gland, she tackled it with a vengeance, along with a short list of other hidden conditions that were inhibiting her performance.

I called her to find out more about her cure a decade later.

I asked: "How did you improve yourself? How did you operate on that enlarged approval gland?"

She replied: "I think the awareness alone was a big part of it. To learn about this problem was a shock to me. And I had to accept the knowledge. Going forward, when prospective clients would tell me that 'they appreciated the information, thank you,' I knew that I couldn't let it deter me from doing what I had to do next. Before that, when I got an Atta Girl, it was enough. Now it wasn't. I knew I needed to go farther. I needed to help them make decisions."

I asked: "Your CheckUp™ experience was several years ago. Fast forward to today. How did your diagnosis and your self-treatment make a difference?"

She replied: "Today I am more focused on helping clients make decisions as opposed to educating them. My experience paid off in production and in the confidence that I can close."

And then she added: "By the way, Linda, I'm still working on my Approval Factor. It takes a long time to fix that one."

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COMING IN THE NEXT FEW ISSUES:

  • Many more "Tips for New Employee Integration".
  • Future tips from Our School for Managers will include topics in Coaching, Goal Setting, Time Management, Communication, Delegation and others.
  • Many new ideas and concepts from "RxSales: An Expert Performance System"
  • A new course offering on Finance
  • Online method of conducting an employee satisfaction survey

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Comments about MASET NEWS:

We welcome comments from our readers regarding MASET NEWS, our web site, or inquiries for help to: Charles.Loew@masetllc.com.

Articles, comments and other valuable information from you, our readers will appear in the Readers Comments section.

We reserve the right to determine what will be published, but will endeavor to publish everything that is sent to us.

 

MASET NEWS
Copyright © 2000-2005 by MASET, LLC
Six Sigma™ is a Registered Trademark and Service Mark of Motorola, Inc.

can be reproduced by you providing the Copyright information remains on the copy. It may be used by you for limited distribution within your organization and among your friends and associates. It may not be sold or published without prior written authorization and approval by MASET, LLC.

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