STOP Top Performers from Bailing Ship!

Employee retention is critical to an organization's success. Leaders must ensure the right people are in the right positions throughout the organization using best practices that aligns the vision with the Future Picture. When this is done well, employees will see the successes of their actions (small wins that permeate throughout an entire system to improve business process) and how their behaviors lend to the overall success of the organization in its chosen industry. They will see how their voice actually matters in the long-run.

For this to occur, leaders must be fully aware about how their actions are used to create better habits for their team and the organization as a whole. This means that a leader must be able to understand:   

  • Their FEET; making sure they are on stable ground, pointing North Star, and in the right direction.
  • Their TIME; ensuring it is used as a strategic tool to achieve results with different options.
  • Their WiN; focusing efforts to ensure the right energy is moving in the right direction and at the right time.
  • In order to CREATE; so that you can develop a culture that eliminate opportunities for top performers to seek a new wind for their sails while at sea – retention. 

No matter how you look at change, rough waves are sure to come and for some organizations, a tsunami is lurking without the leaders of the organization having any knowledge of its future timing. Hiring peak performers is only a start to creating a strong workplace culture. The hard part is keeping them.

This article focuses on one of the four strategies outlined in the opening article to ensure your top performers stay onboard while the ship remains out to sea. It all comes down to making better choices to ensure leaders have everything they need to grow in order to keep their FEET on solid ground, pointing North Star and in the right direction! This is not only the case for the organization, but also for the employee as well. FEET offer an acronym that every leader must learn to be successful in their organization, regardless of the industry or type of business. It means that you must be prepared to take on a proven strategy that will produce the effective and far-reaching (breakthrough) results you've been seeking – and being prepared to be wrong, but responding in the correct manner when you are. FEET are defined as Focus Effective Execution that is Targeted/Timely.  

This methodology, the DNA of Leadership for Strategic Execution, ensures that people are leading with sensible and practical decisions for a given situation to achieve an objective. Essentially, it lays the foundation to become the strategic blue print for transforming a vision into action, using flawless execution tactics to keep accountability at the forefront that leads to a higher level of satisfaction. It focuses a decision on narrowing the options specifically on the task that relates to getting the real work done in a timely and orderly fashion. You could say that it's all about attention-to-detail, but that would limit its depth.

Instead, FEET lends itself to a leader's ability to understand the crucial role that leadership plays in achieving better organizational performance and behaviors, and how best to use that role to achieve improved results. A leader must first widen their options by allowing the voice of the team to be a part of the decision-making process. In today's fast changing climate, this collaborative action makes the best sense when translating strategy, assessing risk, managing change and applying a credible framework to increase the team's strategic leadership and effectiveness.

In most cases, business owners and leaders have maxed out their ability to increase payrolls and benefits due to tough economics. Now more than ever, they have to seek out innovative ways to gain or to create a competitive advantage through better hiring, reduced turnover and greater stability across their workforce.

When other voices are involved in making decisions, more than one assumption can be tested against existing conditions to allow effective change to occur in phases. This form of decision-making also identifies where the best people are hiding, while ensuring their talents are being used correctly to maximize their abilities for the entire organization – and for their career growth. It helps leaders to understand what's important in the world around them. ?In its widest focus, FEET involves disciplined discovery of what gives “meaning” to an entire organization when it is most alive and most effective. It works to help people Better their Best, allowing the team leader to prepare to be wrong with their own decisions, helping the organization to remain vibrant and exciting. 

Focus Effective Execution that is Targeted/Timely, or FEET for short, allows a leader to consider their actions against the future by uniting others around their cause versus the all too familiar behavior of telling people what they must do. In other words, FEET is all about voice and moving in the right direction – North Star – to ensure good growth is underway and real work is getting done. Four questions must be asked to ensure FEET methodology is in place:
  1. Are our actions leading us to be aligned with the Future Picture?
  2. Will the results of our actions help us to Better our Best?
  3. Are our actions targeted to respond directly to the challenge using effective options?
  4. What are we profiting and does it really make a significant difference to our pace of change?

These four FEET questions are essential to the success of any mission a leader or team will engage. As they relate to people, specifically ensuring top performers stay put, or helping other leaders to become top performers themselves, these questions must be asked early on in the decision-making process. They allow the FEET methodology to be used in STEALTH-like form throughout an organization. Leaders will not only develop a winning culture, but they will also ensure their best people remain in place over time.

STEALTH-like form stemming from the four FEET questions simply means that improved behaviors are always underway to create new proficiencies and better habits. STEALTH-like form is translated to mean that leaders are:

  • Strategic in their decisions;
  • … to Target the right objectives (good growth);
  • … that calls for the right tactics to be Employed;
  • … in order to affect (influence) mission critical Actions/activities;
  • … to Leverage or Translate them into new Habits to impact the Future Picture.

Developing your culture using these practices (FEET and STEALTH) is one way to stop top performers from bailing ship. This is also a way to recruit top performers onto your team or into your organization. The best follows the best to become better, and this is what FEET methodology is about; to Better your Best – and keep valuable employees within your organization. In the whole scheme of things, if you are not doing FEET; making sure they are on stable ground, pointing North Star, and in the right direction, you most likely will not be successful in doing TIME to WiN and CREATE the future you are seeking.

Your people are the future and your success depends on them, so get your FEET right… or, become the Titanic where bailing ship is the most sensible thing to do for your employees. WHAT IF you get your FEET right? ... Asking the WHAT IF question will help leaders everywhere get their FEET right by aligning their vision with the Future Picture. Using FEET methodology, leaders are able to turn their WHAT IF scenario into practical tools, smart ideas and practices, enabling them to make better choices.

Focused Effective Execution that is Targeted/Timely flawlessly swings a WHAT IF scenario to the right decision, at the right moment, to make all the difference using TIME to strategically achieve extraordinary results with uncommon options.

I'll look forward to seeing you in part three of the series titled "Employee Engagement is your Casino Royale."
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