They’ve done it again…
I was listening to the I Love Marketing podcast (episode link), and they had yet another great guest.
This one, Mike Agugliaro, from CEO Warrior.
Mike is a tattooed bad-ass CEO who came up in the business world by transforming a New Jersey-based home service business called Gold Medal Service from two guys and a broken down truck to a $28 million dollar business with over 180 employees.
Along the way, Mike made a TON of observations about employees, and why they succeed and fail in their roles.
And that’s part of what he helps CEOs with today, in his new business consulting practice.
(And by the way, if you’re reading this now, saying “I’m not a CEO, I don’t have a bunch of employees, what does this have to do with me?” Consider that even if you’re in a solo practice you ARE both CEO and employee, and need to consider how you are succeeding and failing in your roles — and this will help!)
51 minutes and 59 seconds into a really powerful I Love Marketing interview, Mike started riffing on what he called his 9 Pillars to solving issues with any employee. (Though I prefer the name I wrote down for them: The 9 Pillars of Employee Success.)
I was listening this past weekend, doing a project around the house. (I have a new home office under construction — very excited!) And I had to stop what I was doing, grab a note card, and scribble down the 9 Pillars.
I’ll break them down here, but I encourage you to listen to the interview, and if relevant, look further into Mike.
The 9 Pillars of Employee Success…
I like Jay Abraham’s description of pillars versus diving boards in the context of his Power Parthenon Principle, and before I get into the 9 Pillars, I’ll recap that very quick.
A diving board is traditionally supported in one place. And what is a diving board designed to help you do? Shoot upwards fast. Combine the solid support with the springy board, and it shoots you up into the air. BUT, gravity starts working on you as soon as you’re off that board, and within a second or so, you’re falling back down.
Compare that to a building made with pillars, such as the Parthenon in Greece. The Parthenon was completed in 438 BC. If it wasn’t damaged in an explosion in 1687, during the Great Turkish War (when it was being used as a gunpowder magazine by the Ottoman empire), it would still be largely in its original condition. Even after an explosion that killed 300 people, it still stands 330 years later.
Why? Because building something with enough pillars creates a resilient and almost indestructible structure.
The idea of having 9 pillars of employee success is that they’re not all necessary for an employee to be successful in the short term. But if you want long-term success out of any employee, the more of these pillars you can help them build, the better.
So without further ado, here are Mike’s 9 pillars, with my commentary…
Are you or the employee appropriately focused on success, personal responsibility for success in the job, or whatever mental focus is necessary for success? What about things related to worldview, relationship with money (if necessary in the position), reaction to authority, and all the other mindset factors that can impact performance?
What mindset will lead to greatest success in the position? How can this be developed, fostered, supported?
Every job requires skills, and most often, this is the primary thing we analyze when hiring. However, there are countless examples of a highly skilled person not having a fit elsewhere and failing, or someone with all the other things in their favor picking up skills needed for success.
What skills are needed for the position, and how will you ensure they’re in place?
Nothing happens until something moves. Movement beats meditation. There are a million maxims that say that you’ve gotta be doing things to create success.
How can you make sure that the person in the role is consistently taking the actions required to be successful? How can you foster focus on what activities are needed next to create success in the position and support the business in reaching its biggest goals?
An employee must understand the vision for the business, its mission, its purpose, its value contribution to clients and customers, as well as how their role contributes to all of these.
What can be done to make sure the employee has clarity about the business’s direction and goals, and how their work is an integral and critical component of the bigger picture?
Even if they get it, do they personally want it?
You can compel an employee to take action, and use punishment as a way to drive behavior. But that’s a short-term answer if they’re not aligned. A much better long-term solution is to make sure that all employees are aligned with the vision of the business. Because if they have personal alignment and interest in helping the business reach its goals, they’ll be internally compelled and driven to be successful in playing their part.
What gets measured gets improved. How does an employee know they’re being successful? How can they measure their contribution to the business’s goals?
By creating a tracking and accountability system, employees will know when they’re on the right track, and be able to see and show that they’re fulfilling their role. Done with the other pillars, this will only help with the internal motivation, and won’t feel like a Big Brother-style management tool that it could be elsewhere.
What does each employee need to learn and how do they need to develop to grow in and beyond their role? What training can they be given that will multiply the value of their contribution.
Adding capabilities can come from adding people, but it can also come by developing those in place. Call me biased because I’ve sold training off and on for more than a decade, but this is a sure way to get the most out of every employee plus keep the business moving forward.
Even great employees in great circumstances need regular reinvigoration to perform their best in their role. The role of coaching is to drive motivation and focus, and help each person keep their inner fire burning.
This is all about keeping the employee in the best mental space for performance. (I personally consider getting a coach to be one of the best things I’ve done for my business since starting it.)
Here we’re actually referring to the traditional management function. Staying on top of numbers, staying in regular communication, helping employees access resources, directing them in the context of their role, and so on.
What management is necessary for the role? For the person? How can a management process and systems be put in place to help each employee perform their best in the role they fill?
How to use this…
If you’re actually managing people, I imagine this gives you context around why some people do great, why some struggle, and perhaps some ideas for what you can do to hire better as well as support employees in their roles.
If you’re a solo consultant, copywriter, or other entrepreneur, consider how you’re succeeding or failing yourself in the context of the 9 pillars. I often joke that being your own boss is great until you realize you’ve got a really terrible employee. What can you do to help yourself succeed, using these 9 pillars?
And for me personally, I’m thinking about this in the context of bringing in a company to outsource a number of tasks or projects to. What can I do in each area to ensure they have everything they need to succeed?
I’ve worked for much bigger companies. I’ve worked in a hiring and management role. I know the power of getting good employees, and the struggles with getting people who aren’t quite a fit.
I know that when done right, hiring and developing a team can be a HUGE multiplier. In that regard, I believe these 9 Pillars of Employee Success are a big breakthrough…
Yours for bigger breakthroughs,
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