Employee morale: When da numbas r bad, da people respond!

I loved this example of the video of how employees choose to respond to tough challenges, and through creative expression, engage with the difficult subjects of economic downturn, rally the collective energy and focus on targets that have meaning for them.

Make da numba: 39

Got no time for sleep,
Got no time for slumba,
We all got to be a part
And make the numba.

Make the numba,
Do what you can do
A part of it, too

Help us make the numba.
39, six more zeroes
That’s our numba
39, six more zeroes
That’s our numba.

In our own company, my team is running our end-of-year review as an employee film festival. We have had some critique about this from the penny-pinchers seeing its tough times and we should not be spending any money on employee morale or “frivolous” activities while some people are losing their jobs due to the global economic crisis. 

I wonder how the nay-sayers measure the cost of employees who feel powerless, depressed and fearful? Our employees face all those same issues, and to boot, they are working harder than ever with teams dramatically reduced in numbers to deliver critically important IT releases for the business.  AND STILL- they MADE the time to get together, write scripts, hire costumes and film a movie for the end-of-year film festival.  Before work and after work and in lunch hours, the Sydney Harbour foreshore was teeming with geeks dressed in Village People outfits and amateur camera crews.  Its proven to be a great stress-buster and the lesson we need to learn from all this, the creative and expressive urge is as strong as the urge for food.  It’s what keeps us sane and functioning and whole. 

Leaders and managers who don’t value or nurture this miss the whole point of employing human beings as opposed to machines, and will always have trouble motivating people.


Highly productive leaders- 10 common observed principles

Just watched Robert Scoble interview with Matt Rissell, solution-hero of SMEs and founder of TSheets, an online timetracker service.

The most interesting part was Matt’s discovery when he interviewed 100 CEO’s to learn what “tools” they used to be productive and effective, he found no commonality. But then, he had a new insight when he discovered there were common principles in the way they operate. Below I have summarised the salient points out of the interview. ( I note that Matt has started vlogging in instalments on each of these over at his blog too- so go there for more detail)

Modus operandi highly effective CEO’s – 10 observed principles:
1. Passion – you have to “want”.

2. Surround yourself with excellent people and don’t be afraid they will outshine you. That’s the point!

3. Create an environment where great people can succeed. Its not easy to hire the best, and then you need to keep them and charged with a continual re-casting of the vision. The context matters. A story from the Roman Empire was shared about how 2 workers differed in productivity- the most productive was the one who was not building a temple, but working on building the most powerful empire!

4. Simplicity – low tech can be faster. Choose your tools carefully. was very popular.

5. Know your “why” from your “want” – your inner motivation.

6. Recognise what your “secret sauce” is. What differentiates you from the next person/ leader? One guy thanked his “genetics”- he has a lot of fun and finds that attracts people because people want to be where there is fun!

7. Make your decisions be GREAT (which is not the same as make great decisions). A bad decision is better than indecision or a state of analysis paralysis. Move forward all the time.

8. Balance – not much elaborated there but its kind of obvious that too much obsession will kill the fun!

9. EXECUTE! – start every day with one clarity about one thing to achieve for that day and then do it. Just one – don’t be a slave of a to-do list. (If you can do that, that will be 365 achievements in a year- how many people can claim that?)

10. Build your own system. We are all different and not everyone’s systems for efficiency works for all styles.

Story told: Guy from Idaho said: A shotgun has much more energy and high-powered impact than rifle – but hopeless after 50 yards. A rifle with single focus and one bullet can reach much further with precision.

Trends observed

1. Now small biz owners are looking towards internet to solve their business problems
2. CEOs of very large corporations beginning to realise if they are not using the internet smartly, they are just going to be irrelevant.