From ‘Have to’ to ‘Want to’

Ever wonder how you could get your employees to go from “having” to do their job to “wanting” to do their job? Chuck Swindoll captures this idea perfectly in his quote, “You can buy a person’s hands and feet (tell them where to be and what to do) but you cannot buy the two things you MUST have for success, their head and heart. These things are earned.” A person’s head and heart represent their desire to work, passions, creativity, grit, and more. We call this Discretionary Effort.

I’ve had jobs where being and bringing my best was natural, easy, and fun. It usually included a good working relationship with leadership, a good skill match for the role, and a team that accomplished things. Easy to bring feet, hands, head, and heart to a gig like that!

Unfortunately, many of my jobs were not like that. Often there was misalignment that caused friction and ruined the potential. Can you relate? Have you had a job like that before? Do you know people on your current team that are in either camp?

Over time one would expect an employee’s performance to increase. They understand the goals, they know their team, and have acquired vital skills to perform in the role. But this is not often the case. Somewhere in the journey many employees move from “wanting” to do their job to “having” to do their job. They stop giving Discretionary Effort.

Discretionary means: voluntary, optional. It is given by an employee to a team, project, and company. Since it is given, it must be earned. It is earning a person’s feet, hands, head, and heart.

You start to see some interesting behaviors when you think about what Discretionary Effort looks like:

  • It means that someone’s not just working for the paycheck. They’re willing to put in extra hours without complaining.
  • They go the extra mile.
  • They care what customers think and take the customer experience very personally. They want to help the customer rather than just get them something and get them off the phone.
  • They know that time is money and think of the money of your organization as if it’s their money.
  • They tend to work more efficiently.
  • They get better results.

The pressure on leadership teams is to keep their people engaged while producing amazing results for their clients. The challenge is to keep their people’s head and heart in the game…to capture the Discretionary Effort of their people.

So, how do we earn this?

  1. Hire the right person.
  2. Manage them brilliantly.
  3. Put them on teams that get results.

That’s what engagement is really about. It’s getting to the state of mind that can be really successful for employees and ultimately, your company.

CLG can help you with all these things. We are a fit-to-role team that helps our clients get results through clarity and alignment. Clarity: who are my people? what do they need? what can they become? what are they capable of? Alignment: do we have the right people in the right seats? Is our team aligned with our values, vision, and strategy? Contact us today to learn how we solve problems like this.

-Kevin Waters

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