As a leader, you have established coherence and are doing well in interpreting the company to your staff. You have created a climate that is safe and incubates innovation and growth. You have allowed staff to set challenges to meet team and company goals. At this point, your team truly has been transformed. They are clear about what is expected of them, they are collaborating and looking for new ways to improve performance, and people are really pumped about the work. So what is left?
Acknowledge and Celebrate!
The last step to creating permanence for your Hu centered culture is to create an expectation that this work is going to be acknowledged and that each victory is an opportunity for celebration. Sounds easy enough, but the majority of change initiatives that fail will often fail around this principle. How many times have you seen processes or methods implemented only to note months later that things have gone back to the way they were before?
Like breathing, a celebration should be organic and not contrived. I suspect that this is where most of us tend to overthink things, and in making celebration too onerous, we eventually fall out of the practice of it.
Look for the Daily Wins
In applying this approach, you will have created an environment that is rich with things to celebrate. Every team member is tracking metrics, and you have a clear idea of the behaviors you want to see happening on the team. Make it a daily practice to look for those things and celebrate them with your people.
This does not have to be complicated. In one company, I worked with a supervisor to create a schedule to review the team metrics being posted. He would walk out to the metrics board once a day and read the results and just leave his initials on the sheet. No big deal, right? One day after I saw him do this, I did an informal check with the team and asked them if they knew whether he had seen their results? To a person, they said he had. I know each of them had not gone up to the board to check, but it was so crucial to the team that when one person saw it, they would tell the rest! It may not seem like folks are noticing, but they are, and for them, that kind of acknowledgment is a celebration!
Spend Time with Your Team
If that seemed simple, let's take it a step further. When you get out from behind your desk and take the time to simply go and see what your team is doing, it's a celebration. This truth has been borne out by countless observations, and if you have risen through the ranks, you know this to be true - every person on a team can tell you which leaders spend time with the team and which don't. Sadly too often, the perception is that the higher you go, the less time you need to invest in the people who report to you.
Aim for the 90 percent - it's a bigger target!
The goal with this process is to reverse for leadership what I call the 90/10 principle. Most leaders will tell you that they spend 90% of their time dealing with 10% of their staff who are underperforming. There are lots of reasons for that, but most of them fall under the false belief that we must be doing something right if we are spending time working to fix these things. But stop and think about that for a moment. What is happening with the other 90% who are doing their job? Typically nothing. Hu centered leadership shifts your focus as a leader from diving into the weeds with the 10% group to celebrating and driving performance with the 90% group. Where do you think you will see the most improvement?
The Human Element (Hu) science behind this is interesting. We get hits of dopamine when we succeed. From checking something off of our to-do list to finishing that project, all of these types of activities give us a dopamine hit. Here is what is really interesting; it doesn't just happen when we do it. When we see others succeed or when we see others do a good job, we get a hit of that dopamine as well. But here is the neat thing, we also get a dose of oxytocin. This is a bonding hormone. When someone on our team achieves something, and we celebrate, the whole team gets closer. You have heard that everyone wants to be on a winning team, well this is the physiological reason for that!
Most importantly, a celebration is crucial to sustaining your team's performance because nothing kills performance quicker than lack of recognition. We think that because someone is doing a good job, we can let that slide, but nothing could be further from the truth. Don't wait to make the celebration something big and cumbersome. Doing something as simple as a pat on the back, a word of thanks, or even just asking how someone is doing, can be a celebration. Don't wait, celebrate! Hu Centered Leadership - Think About It!