You can’t have Clarity without Standards. You can’t have Culture without Clarity. You cannot improve the buy-in and engagement without a Culture to which employees identify.
“That means I need Standards to create a bought-in and high engaged staff?” Yep.
What are you afraid of? Oh, that’s right, that Millennial thing. They want to be wooed and petted and loved. Nope. They want to be heard, taught, included, and know what is expected. This is the most intentional generation! The cool thing is that, with Standards (aka Clarity), you will have a team that is in the trenches with you intentionally.
When I speak to leaders, I ask about their Standards. At first, there is the “well of course we have Standards!”. Yet when I dig for specifics, I get a lot of fluff…”customer first” “high quality” “totally engaged”. Huh? How does that tell me what is really expected of me? When I dig deeper, leaders sheepishly say they are afraid of alienating their staff. They hope that their employees will organically grow into the expectations.
I am blessed to have 4 kids between the ages of 21 – 26 years old. Each one of them is behaves differently and has different motivators. Yet, they all want Clarity in their work. When we talk about their frustrations, it typically boils down to some area of Uncertainty due to a lack of an expectation (yet another word for Standard). They simply want to know what is expected of them and what is right/wrong, good/bad, acceptable/unacceptable.
Back to the conversation with leaders from above….How do I get them past the fluff to something tangible? I press them and dig for specifics. We define these terms and come up with behaviors that are observable and measurable (yes, you can measure behaviors). When they take these back to their teams, they get high praise and thanks! Their staff is appreciative of the Clarity that the Standards create. It provides them a direction as well as a sense of Certainty. Moreover, they see a much higher performance and stronger Culture as a benefit. “Wow, my staff is on fire! The energy is high and the quality of work is amazing!”
Get over your Fear of Standards. Improve your Culture. Now it’s your turn to crank up the energy on your team!