Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Results or Relationships: What's the Balance in Your Office?

What is the balance in your office between profit and people? Getting results and building good relationships?

We all get hired to get something done. We have projects and tasks that we are responsible for. Shouldn’t just getting them done effectively and in a timely manner be enough?

Actually, no. How we get them done should be as important as getting them done on time and well.

Unfortunately, often the how is not measured or rewarded. As a manager, you probably are responsible for quantifiable results. Your pay and bonuses are dependent on getting those results. The bottom line is in dollars, after all.

Because the how has not traditionally been measured or rewarded, we have polluted our environment with toxic by-products of manufacturing. We have alienated employees and customers by not taking into account how our actions impact them. We have damaged entire communities by not anticipating how shortcuts may affect them in the long term. Think oil spills, home foreclosures, and poisoned foods. Those are examples of global results of emphasizing the what over the how, the results over the relationships.

Now let’s take it back down to your office and the local level. What can you do to create more of a balance between results and relationships? Are you linking tangible rewards to these intangibles? Let’s look at the people first.

  • Are you rewarding managers for developing their direct reports?

Managers’ performance reviews should have a section for developing others that measures promotions, employee development, team satisfaction, and team building.

  • Are you rewarding your employees for developing trust and respect among their team members?

The performance review form should have a section for communications and teamwork.

Now let’s take a look at your organization’s relationship with the community and the planet.

  • Are you rewarding employees for resource efficiencies?
  • Do you tie bonuses or other rewards to reducing waste?
Alerting employees to keep an eye out for processes that are potentially damaging to the community and the environment should be tied directly to some type of reward. In the long term, minimizing harm results in positive customer and community relations, and increased morale as employees understand that what they are doing is tied to a greater cause. These “intangibles” are easier to quantify. The bottom line will be affected, and employees should be rewarded.
  • Does your organization have an ongoing dialogue and supportive relationship with it's community?
  • How does your organization improve the community?
A once a year charitable drive does little to reinforce the long term benefits to an organization if they don’t visibly commit to ongoing practices that encourage good stewardship and good relationships. A balanced commitment to results and relationships becomes a part of the corporate culture - even your brand - and makes your office a more desirable place to work.

Where does the weight lie in your office? With people and relationships? Or with tasks and processes? A good balance between the two is an excellent indication of long term success. Performance reviews are often conducted in the first two months of the year. As you prepare for those, think about what you want to reward in your organization. It’s a great time to set the stage for total success – for you, your organization, your employees, your community and even your planet – by starting with what you emphasize in your own office.

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