I have historically struggled to be effective with small gaps in my day and have recently made some determinations in deciding how to handle this opportunity. A good friend of mine used the “singles and doubles” analogy one day and something clicked. What if…I could take these handful of time slots (I now call them “opportunities”) and deploy something that fits well and is most effective? I believe it can be done effectively and with just a little effort.
The premise I recommend deploying is to leverage any particular open, 15-minute time slot into an opportunity to focus on others. Try to reject the urge to check Yahoo Finance or your favorite team’s ranking! If it is about others, the discipline is easier to adopt into a standard behavior versus an unnatural act.
What is it about a small interaction that makes others feel good, motivated to go beyond expectations and search for growth? Perhaps it is good human nature. What if we assumed this about our employees, coworkers and clients:
- People want to add value and perform meaningful work.
- People need human interaction and crave recognition.
- Often times, recognition and positive feedback are just as important (perhaps more so) and impactful than monetary pay
Clearly our goal is to help our Team to live up to their highest potential. Some of that comes from within and some of it comes from outside in the form of appropriate tools and resources. So, what questions can we position in our 15 minutes with an individual to investigate the environment that this person occupies? How about:
- How are the systems treating you?
- Do you have what you need to be successful?
- Is there anything I can do to help you?
If I have learned one thing, it is that when a human being gets recognized for doing something right, he or she will never go back to an old behavior. This is true for dogs also, by the way. It must be a universal thing! Anyway, what can we do in our 15 minutes to recognize someone and thus seal the deal on reinforcing this behavior? How about:
- “I am interested in what you think about…”
- “Nobody has ever thought about “X” before. I am so thankful for your idea.”
- “You always seem to have good ideas. What would you do differently that would help us to X or Y better?”
Also, don’t forget to deploy Dale Carnegie’s advice on using any human being’s favorite word – their name. Put a “Susan”, “Robert” or “Luetta” in front of all these questions and statements and see what happens to the eyes of your fellow Team member. It is amazing to see.
At McHenry Consulting, we strive to utilize all the assets available to help our clients and employees optimize performance.