Nov 28, 2012

What is the Best Way to Get Results from People?

I want you to remember a time when your boss told you what to do.  They gave you a command, a directive.  This person told you what they wanted, when they wanted it by, and how to do it in detail.  AND, this person told you that if you didn’t accomplish the order by the time they wanted it and in the way they wanted it, that there were severe consequences to be paid.  If you did do it as proscribed, then you would keep your job.  See what you saw.  Hear what you heard. Feel what you felt.  If there were smells and tastes involved, recall what those were.  Dwell on that event for just a moment and hold onto it.

Now, imagine a time when you worked with someone that you shared a vision of something greater with.  This could be in business, at home, in a volunteer organization.  This person you worked with has asked you to do something to further the vision.  You were given a time frame that it needed to be done within and given the outcome or result desired and you were allowed the autonomy to decide HOW you would get the outcome or results.  You were also told that the successful accomplishment of this project would result in getting this much closer to reaching the vision.  Hear what you heard.  Feel what you felt.  See what you saw.  If smells and tastes were involved, recall those, too.  Dwell there for a moment and fully consider it.

Think about the difference in the feelings and thoughts between the two experiences.

I remember back in the 80’s and even into the 90’s that “Management” was a big deal.  You heard names, like Drucker, Peters, and Senge.  You still see them or their materials around and they are very process-focused.  Then, you started to see and hear of people, like Covey, Robbins, and Branson.  These individuals began the movement toward seeing people as capable, resourceful, and creative and are people-focused.

And, with the change that has taken place in the American workforce, the Covey’s, the Robbins, the Branson’s style is the most effective.  It is Leadership vs. Management.  Here’s why the change has taken place; the jobs in the past were algorithmic – straight-line do this, then this, then this, and the job is complete.  With the advent of more technology, more jobs are Heuristic, meaning there is no precise end-to-end process, but require creativity and the ability to navigate through a maze of discussion or events to get to the desired end result or outcome.

But, think about this, has society caught up to the change in the style of management needed for this type of job?  Just the fact that we still use the terms “management”, “manager”, and “director” tells us that we haven’t.  Yes, we do use the term “leaders” and “leadership” today and we put “managers” through “leadership training”.  But, can a “manager”, one that manages systems and processes so that they are followed and done correctly, really change their mindset when working with people and become a “leader”, a person that sets the vision, goals, and then inspires people to action?  It happens only on rare occasions.

Today, people want to be self-directed.  Fully consider, if I ask you if you want to be “managed” or “led”, how would you answer?

People have the need to contribute to something bigger than themselves and have found an outlet in the power of Social Media.  It has been used to let people’s voices be heard that would normally have been silenced.  It has been used to elect a President in the U.S. (twice) and topple governments in the Middle East.

People want stability and, right alongside it, they want variety.  They want to feel connected to others, either at home or at work, or both.  They want to feel that they mean something, that they are significant.  And, they want to grow, or, at least they want the opportunity to grow set before them.

Let’s take a look at some of the differences between Management and Leadership and how they can impact a business.  Maybe your business.




Follow the processes that are in placeDon’t fix what isn’t broken Discover new ways to get a better outcomeBe creative to succeed even more


People are a spoke in the wheelIf you want a new idea, I’ll give it to you People are the life-blood of the businessIdeas are sought after and valued

Responsibility and Accountability

Own the processKeep watch over   activityMake employees clock in and outExcuses and reasonsFailure is punished Own the resultsKeep watch over   resultsAllow employees to come/go without questionTake responsibility/ownership of success/failureFeedback is seen as a step to a better way


If you fail, then you’re firedWork hard for as little money as you’ll work for If you fail, then we find a better wayA wage that takes the person out of needs(Maslow’s Hierarchy   of Needs)




Find your own ways to create variety

Build variety into the work day

Motivation   vs. Inspiration

Need constant motivation

Need bonuses, commission, frequent spifs

Reward individually

Inspiration of their people

Motivated by contribution to a higher good

Reward as team,   department, company

Revisit Responsibility and Accountability

The employee(s) failed

What have I done that allowed them to fail

Resources, authority, technology, etc.

Lead with the “Why?”

Have you given them   the “Why?”

This last point is a huge step for many executives or business owners to accept and then act upon.  It means letting go of control and fully accepting the responsibility to lead with the power of the vision, lead with the “Why?”  Why should the employees give their all to the company?  It also means surrounding themselves with the right people, sharing and instilling the vision of the company and the contribution they make to it, and then trusting them to act on the vision.  The companies that have true leadership outperform those that retain the Industrial Age management philosophy, as seen in many companies in the high-tech industry.

I want to ask this question:  If you had the choice, and you do, of the following three types of employees working for you, which one would you choose?

The contributors – the people that show up for work, do what they’re supposed to do, and collect a paycheck

The valuables – These are the people that do the extra things, the things that make you glad they work for you

The invaluables – these are the people that go out of their way to “build a better mouse trap”, to find problems that no one has seen or they haven’t looked for an answer for.  These are the people that see the company has a 90% customer satisfaction rating and think that’s terrible and come to you with a solution to make it better.  These are the people that see that you have a 40% closing ratio and come to you with a way to make it 60%.  These are the people that, when you have them, you know you cannot ever let them leave!

The way you develop and cultivate this type of employee is by “going first”, setting the example in responsibility and accountability, trust, being inspirational instead of motivational, letting them know that they’re significant and that their contributions are important and that you will provide variety and stability for them.  By being this type of leader, you and your company will be wildly successful!

I will leave you with the words of Dr. Stephen Covey:

Always treat your employees like you want them to treat your best customers.

You can buy a person’s hand, but you can’t buy his heart. His heart is where his enthusiasm and loyalty are.

You can buy his back, but you can’t buy his brain. That’s where his creativity is, his ingenuity, his


To get the production, treat employees as volunteers, for that is what they are.

They volunteer their best parts,

Their hearts and their minds.

Creating life in forward motion,

Dr. Edward Lewellen

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