Rules of Engagement: Nine Minutes On Monday

Since ruHRelevant? was started in July 2012, we have stressed how critical relationships are when it comes to employee performance. I’m not a proponent of managers trying to be buddies with employees, but a certain level of trust and rapport must be established to have a truly productive and engaged workforce.

Leaders cannot manage unless they know what makes their people tick, what motivates them in that specific environment, and what their career goals are. But one step further, they must know how those goals tie into the mission of the organization.

20140124-204413.jpgIn Nine Minutes On Monday, James Robbins draws the perfect road map on how to build these relationships by taking 9 minutes a week for planning and execution to help foster this very trust.

The charge from Robbins is to take a few moments on Mondays to plan out the development of your employees. Not just a blanket “I’m gonna develop folks this week!” but pinpointing who and what kind of attention each individual needs to be successful.

On Monday, most managers (smart managers) are planning out their week;

  • what goals need to be met
  • which deadlines are most critical
  • which review they must deliver

But equally as important is taking time to map out which employees need your attention that week not just based on production or an issue, but determined by

  • Who haven’t I had a chance to speak to?
  • Who do I need to know a little better?
  • Have I asked that employee what they might need specifically from me to make their job easier or more meaningful?
  • Have I uncovered this employee’s workplace or developmental needs based on conversations that we’ve had?

The book begins by helping leaders to understand their role; whether they are meant for management or are they merely someone that was good at doing the job. Once it’s established that you’re meant to lead, the book, that has nine chapters representing the nine drivers of employment engagement, helps you create small actionable goals that will help you to inspire and motivate your staff.

My favorite excerpt of the book sums in up wonderfully…

“While sending your employees off to seminars and and courses will be an integral part of their development, nothing beats the day-in and day-out coaching and mentoring by you, the boss. Most employees do not enjoy the experience of ongoing development because their manager is not sure how to do it or because the manager is just too busy and has not established it as a part of a routine.

Coaching your employees does not have to be complicated as some would have you to believe, nor does it take hours of your time in face-to-face sessions. Great coaching is quick, on the fly and practical.”

It Has To Become A Part Of Who You Are
Aristotle once told me that “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Managers want excellence and they want it consistently. But managers must come to grips with the fact that just expecting great performance is not enough. It must be shown, taught and then shown some more. And in order to achieve the desired results, managers must carve out the time to individually and collectively show their employees what this looks like, repeatedly!

Because I want you to purchase copies of the book, I won’t share all of the techniques but I’ll give a sample of some of the questions to ask during your weekly planning for engaging your employees without sacrificing all of your time:

Question #4 – Whom will I give a 2nd paycheck to this week? (Connecting purpose to pay)
Question #6 – How can I help someone grow this week?
Question #9 – What model do my people need from me this week?

20140124-204619.jpgTaking these Nine Minutes requires true self-reflection from a management standpoint before going in to engage employees. They cause one to ask, “What can I do to positively impact and affect my people?” Well thought-out action, without committing too much time…resulting in true engagement. Not engagement that tries to trick employees to climb, but engagement that helps them find the motivation within themselves to keep climbing and to stay the course! And helping them to find this motivation is going to take a consistent investment into each individual.

It only takes Nine Minutes On Monday to invest in your people. Make all Nine of them count!

Special thanks to James Robbins and his team for reaching out to me and providing me with this opportunity!

Delegating EmPowers EmPloyees

Today I’m posting at Performance I Create, focusing on using delegation as a tool of empowerment.

EmpowerIt’s been said that the ability to delegate determines one’s success. Equally as important to the overall and long-term success of a company are employees that are being delegated to. While this sounds like a simple concept, if we took the time to delve into what most consider delegation, we would find that….

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Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight at Performance I Create!


Mentorship is so important in business, as one can always gain a wealth of knowledge from those that have been there and done that. From networking, to advice, to encouragement, these relationships can be mutually beneficial and educational for mentee and mentor alike.

Like any other business decision, these relationships must be kept in professional perspective and well thought out on the front end to help in avoiding disappointments from unrealistic expectations that we may have set.

Mentor Brain-Trust: Strength in Numbers
Being really successful in an area alone does not qualify someone to be YOUR mentor. To have a successful mentoring relationship, one must decide what it is about that person’s success that touches a cord with you?

Is it their business acumen that you admire? How they are able to quickly dive in and understand any given professional situation and help bring about a positive outcome.

Is it their ability to create and foster relationships? Do you admire the fact that they know no strangers and everyone seems to connect with them, love them and respect them.

Does their passion inspire you to be better and to do better? So much so that you want to study what they study, experience what they experience and go where they go.

Like every member of a team has their own unique strength, can we not have multiple mentors that fill our different professional needs based on their individual strengths?

20131102-164051.jpgIs it even possible to get everything you need from one person, or is it better to draw from the positive attributes of several that we consider influential or successful and learn for them all, creating a “Frankenmentor”:

  • One piece from the scholar
  • One from the business person
  • One from the teacher
  • One from the networker
  • One from the entrepreneur, etc.

…until we are mentee-illy complete. Not only learning different skills from each individual, but also learning how to manage multiple relationships in the process.

Pitfalls of Having Only One Mentor
Because we sometimes hold our experts and our mentors to such a high standard, we feel as if in order to be a mentor that they must be all of these things to us before we commit to learning from them. For this reason, many of us don’t have any one person that we consider to be a mentor.

When we believe in someone, it is easy to forget that the person we’re looking up to is a human being just like us. When our professional faith is wrapped up in only one person, we subject ourselves to disappointment when (not if) this person missteps, misspeaks or makes a decision that we may not necessarily agree with. Not because they are no longer any expert in their given field but because we put our trust in a gap that we weren’t originally looking for them to fill. And if one relationship fails, we are not left mentor-less.

“Being on a pedestal doesn’t exempt one from gravity.” – Justin Harris 2013

20131102-164141.jpgSo to maximize our mentee experience, it’s my opinion that we diversify, just like with any other investment and have several mentors. By spreading the educational risk around, we learn and observe each mentor in moderation, getting the best from each and forming a quality whole, ultimately learning several styles, techniques and philosophies to help us become even more successful in our given area.

Knowing exactly what we need from each mentor forces us to be specific in what we ourselves are willing to give to each mentor, so that realistic expectations can be had by everyone involved and the collaborative learning is directed, intentional and ultimately meaningful.

Job Security Is A Choice

One thing I’ve notice concerning organizations that have long tenured employees is that all of the knowledge is bottled up, not to be shared with new comers. When succession planning is not a concern…and when the information “Haves” are not willing to share with the “Have Nots”, chances are that the knowledge and foundation of the company will die or retire with the exiting employee.

job-securitySad really, because one would tend to think that the longer an employee has been with a company, the more they would love it! When I love something, I want it to last. To carry on and prosper when I’m gone. Am I questioning the love some tenured employees have for their organization? Yep. I question it because when information is not shared and passed down, what the “love” actually amounts to is insecurity and a selfish desire for the organization to fail without you. The misguided love fuels the misconception that keeping knowledge under lock-and-key increases one’s job security.

The worst thing that this employee experiences after they leave is that they don’t get that phone call begging for info or for assistance. At that point, they start to think, “Was I really as valuable as I thought?” The answer is yes, but what we have to realize is that to be successful, we have to put our trust in systems, processes, not individual egos. The people in the systems are critical to the execution, but the system has to be strong and sound enough to work for the employees that are remaining.

A perfect example of this is the New England Patriots football team. One philosophy that they preach and practice is that no one person on the TEAM is more important than the TEAM. The moment a player shows that they are more concerned with self, they’re cut. The “Patriot Way” outweighs how great and wonderful any individual thinks they are.

brady to teamWhen star quarterback Tom Brady went down with a season-ending injury early in 2008, the #2 quarterback, Matt Cassel, stepped up and helped lead the team to an 11-5 record, hardly missing a beat. Could they have done even better with the star? I’m almost certain they would have. But because a strong system and philosophy was in place, the mentee was trained, knowledgeable and ready to go when his number was called. It was missing a major contributor, their star, but the show had to go on without him because games still had to be played.

To be a real star, it’s not just about how you are performing during the game or while you’re wowing your clients or solving problems like only you can. What makes you a star is how you are sharing that knowledge with those around you. How you are working to help your department or division to solve those same issues in your absence. It’s about how much better you make your teammates. True stars don’t have to worry about whether or not their job will be taken. Job security is not about how much you know, but about how much value you are adding to the team. Hoarding doesn’t add value, so you’re more expendable than you think.

Tom Brady, once healed, was right back at the helm to lead his team. Because his presence off the field was just as valuable to the organization as his game-day performance. He made and continues to turn unknown players into valuable commodities by tutoring and developing…adding value. The actions of true stars prove their worth daily without the need to hoard information and organizational secrets. Let those that are coming behind you have that piece of info or that particular responsibility, as that should free you up to be a star in another needed area, thus truly showing your worth to the organization.

Stop being stingy and start sharing. You might last longer.


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Line Dancing To Success

I’m posting over at Performance I Create today about a correlation I found between business and a crowd favorite at parties and gatherings, The Wobble. It began when my colleagues and I were discussing how excited we are about the upcoming TN SHRM Conference (Nashville, TN, September 15th – 18th) and it gave me a different perspective on organizational roles.

Here’s a sample!

WobbleI’ve been in many a Wobble. And a successful Wobble can decide the fate of the party. It attracts and retains. It motivates and it teaches. It gets everyone to the otherwise empty dance floor and keeps them there when done right. It encourages those that have no idea what they’re doing to stay the course, resulting in mastery and fun.

Isn’t that what we want in our workplaces?

Please view the rest of my post HERE and please share.

Check out my post and those of my fellow contributors for relevant, in-your-face, performance altering insight!