Focus on Winners or Losers

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

"Focus on your High Achievers, they're going to last. Don't focus on your losers, statistically they're going to be gone sooner rather than later."

Well... That's pretty black and white. Some of those losers are just not motivated correctly. You're going to have several types of employees. Some are extremely motivated to be the best at what they do and they'll be vocal about it. Some are more introverted, but are still the best at what they do. Some aren't the best at what they do and they're ok just floating about until retirement. They get the job done. Some are what we call "Disengaged". These are the people that you need to motivate or motivate toward the exit.

Disengaged employees do their work, they may seem introverted, and seem content, but they certainly aren't going above and beyond for you or anyone else. In a lot of opinion, they're not "hurting" the business, but lets look deeper. If you've got a disengaged worker doing an expected 80% job, and you've got another employee that is engaged doing 100% maybe 110%, giving it her all. Are you getting the expected 80% out of the disengaged worker or are you missing a potential 20%. I'm exaggerating the effort here but that person isn't doing you any favors.

What's the resolution here? Normally "fire them!" is the answer I get. But what if I told you, with the right motivation, most of your workforce could be engaged and enjoying what they do?

The Gallup survey Q12 has surveyed thousands of employees and asked hundreds of questions. They've narrowed great leadership down to 12 important and salient questions.

  • Do you know what is expected of you at work?
  • Do you have the materials and equipment to do your work right?
  • At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?
  • In the last seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  • Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person?
  • Is there someone at work who encourages your development?
  • At work, do your opinions seem to count?
  • Does the mission/purpose of your company make you feel your job is important?
  • Are your associates (fellow employees) committed to doing quality work?
  • Do you have a best friend at work?
  • In the last six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress?
  • In the last year, have you had opportunities to learn and grow?

What would your employees answer for these questions if you gave them this survey today? I've run this survey while consulting and it shows room for improvement every time I do it. Whether you think you've got a great company or not, there's always a trend on at least one of the questions.

Engagement starts with understanding leadership and the role of your management. Most managers are tasked with "managing the ship and making sure it doesn't sink". While that manager is steering avoiding external factors such as rocks in the water, some employee is disengaged or actively disengaged and drilling holes in the boat somewhere in a dark part of the ship that the captain hasn't visited.

I personally think there's a few top questions such as "Does the mission make me feel as if my job is important?", "Are your fellow employees committed to doing quality work?", and "Do you know what is expected of you at work?". For those who come to work and dread it, it's probably because they don't think their job is vital. Those workers don't understand how important they are because they haven't received praise for good work and/or haven't' been told how important they really are. During an initial consultation with a company president he said "everyone's replaceable". Although this may be ultimately true, are they? Is this part of your culture? The thought that "I'm not vital, the cogs would still turn if I wasn't here" is a feeling of hopelessness and creates disengaged workers. "It doesn't matter if I give 100% or 80%, I'm not important".

When someone feels that those around them are lazy or not committed to quality work, why should they give quality work? The person next to them makes the same paycheck but sits on his phone in the back room hiding all day. This provides a nice caveat into what is expected?

Has the leadership determined what is expected and communicated those expectations to the workforce? Recently on the phone with a manager at a large corporation in America, I came to understand that expectations, rules, and regulations were often communicated at the time the rule was broken. "Oh, we're not doing that anymore" was often met with "when did that happen? I wasn't aware of that new rule". How can you expect anyone to take initiative and go for the goal if they don't know where the boundaries are or even the rules of the sport they play. What if your favorite baseball player hit a double, but the bases had been moved mid ball-strike, and hidden no less. People are creatures of habit, create productive habits for them to fall into. Just as the rules in sports need to be established before the game, your policies need to be in place and established. Change is good, but communicate the change effectively. Foster that change with effective training and education.


Do you know how your company would score on the Gallup Q12 survey? Let me consult with you about the effective changes you can make in your firm to achieve a higher level of engagement. Contact me today to set up an initial consultation.

Cory Myres - Lubbock Consulting

Cory Myres is a serial entrepreneur and wine connoisseur. A Lubbock Texas Native, he enlisted in the US Army shortly after graduating from Coronado High School. After a tour in Afghanistan, with the famed 101st Airborne Division he returned to Lubbock Texas to attend Texas Tech University. As a Red Raider he studied Architecture, Civil Engineering, Statistics, Economics and Graduated from the Rawls College of Business Administration with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Management with a focus on Entrepreneurship. From then he went on to become certified in Six Sigma as a Black Belt, and Project Management Professional in order to found his business consulting firm, Lubbock Consulting.