Posted tagged ‘engaged employees’

7 Signs Of A High Performance Local Government

February 21, 2012

All organizations have their own unique culture. The culture in great organizations  is visible from how positive and engaged employees are between themselves and when interacting with customers. In a previous post I highlighted 7 signs of a dysfunctional organization.

Steve Tobak of CBS wrote an article titled 7 Signs of a High-Performance Companywhich I believe  applies to local governments as well as it does to private sector companies. Tobak’s 7 signs are below:

Employees take ownership. When employees discover problems or issues, they take the initiative to ensure that they’re resolved. They don’t leave it for the next guy because it’s not their job, not their fault, or not their responsibility.

People are happy. People look and act as if they’re genuinely happy to be at work. No, they shouldn’t be running around laughing like children in a playground, but you can tell that they like what they’re doing and are having a good time doing it.

Managers are comfortable with their level of authority. They’re clear on what their authority is and they’re not resentful of what it isn’t. That means decision-making occurs at the right level, no higher or lower than it should be. Managers aren’t afraid to be overruled or second-guessed.

People are accountable. Folks say what they mean and mean what they say. They don’t promise what they can’t deliver or sandbag to get big kudos when they over-deliver. They tell you what they think they can do and are willing to be held accountable for the results.

There’s a “How can I help you?” attitude. We used to call that a customer service attitude, but it’s so much more than that. People never act put off, defensive, or interrupted by requests from anyone inside or outside the company.

Employees have a positive outlook. Whining and complaining is an epidemic in the modern business world. But there are companies where negative behavior is an outlier, meaning it stands out and is eventually flushed out, one way or another.

Things get done. Perhaps the most evident sign of a highly effective organization is that things just seem to get done. That’s because people get things done. The company operates like a well-oiled machine. Yes, I know it’s an old metaphor, but I don’t know a better one.

What do you think are the biggest obstacles that cause local governments to fall short on these 7 items?

“How did I hire so many employees who have no ideas?”

November 3, 2011

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

The above Dilbert strip (for some reason it is not displaying in full) unfortunately is true of so many places that I have worked for. Time and time again I would see expensive consultants hired to improve operations, when employees themselves had many great ideas that were ignored.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal  research by Alan G. Robinson, a professor at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, the average U.S. employee’s ideas, big or small, are implemented only once every six years!

Employees who are engaged and encouraged to contribute ideas can be a tremendous asset to any organization. IdeasAmerica, an association for “suggestion administrators,” who manage suggestion submissions, surveyed 31 of its 125 members last year. The study found that submitted ideas saved respondents more than $110 million dollars in time, materials, labor or energy, an average of $1,256 per suggestion.

Toyota’s success as a company is in part due to its ability to engage employees who contribute ideas on how to improve operations. According to the book All You Gotta Do Is Ask by Chuck Yorke and Norman Bodek, Toyota implements an average of nine ideas per employee per year.

Any organization whether in government, non-profit or the private sector needs to create a culture where employee ideas are encouraged. Culture typically starts at the top, sadly from my experience many elected officials and CEOs are too insecure to empower employee contributions. Dilbert makes the point all too well.

What do you think?